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     Volume 11 |Issue 42| October 26, 2012 |


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Maintaining Bangladeshi Time

Aasha Mehreen Amin

When foreigners come to visit Bangladesh they are pleasantly surprised to find many locals speaking English especially if they have just visited from Inner Mongolia or Nagoya city. Of course the fluency is nowhere near India where people have managed to English out the English, thanks to their colonial legacy and determination to excel in the international language. In Bangladesh, as we all know, English has suffered onslaughts of misguided nationalistic policies as well as a general apathy to see it flourish by all and sundry. But we have managed to retain smatterings of English in our everyday lives, sometimes without even realising it – 'chair', 'table', 'glass' being prime examples. But like all other former colonies and even those nations who were never colonized, we have our own version and pronunciation of English words that many foreigners do not know of. Here is a taste of this refreshing new look at the language some of us so love while others love to hate.

Freeze – This is not used as a verb which means to turn something really cold. It means 'fridge'. Usage: Freeze er khabare kono test nai (Refrigerated food loses its taste)

Marriage Day- Marriage Anniversary

Public. Usage: 'Akta public' An ordinary citizen, too unimportant for his name to be known.

Character-less: Debauched and promiscuous.

Gift (verb) - To gift means to give a gift: 'I gifted a freeze to them for their marriage day''.

Heroinchi – A heroin addict.

Sand oos – Sandwhich (Can come with chicken, cheese or beef or bhezitebel)

Saltis -savoury biscuits - very popular among Dhakaites and often an essential item during tea time.

Nudus – Nothing to to do with nudity just plain old noodles – deshi style, usually with onions, chillies and green beans.

France Fries – French Fries

Sineese – Chinese –generally to describe Banglisized Chinese cuisine. Very popular among Bangladeshis of all ages: 'Sol Sineese e jai' (Let's go for some Chinese food' has been a popular refrain for decades).

Pija – Pizza.

Fooding – food arrangements, say at a hotel or during a workshop/seminar/film shoot.

Psychic – someone with a few loose marbles NOT a person with clairvoyant powers.

Crack Usage: 'He ij crack'. A mentally imbalanced person or simply crejy (crazy).

Proudy Usage: 'He ij a proudy'. An insufferable snob.

Poshy Usage: 'She ij too poshy poshy for me'. An elite from an elitist circle who is effortlessly stylish and hence appears to be from a posh neighbourhood.

Hathetic and Heculier An expression used by people from a certain district (we don't want to be racist) that means 'pathetic and peculiar'.

'My dear' type Usage : 'He ij a my dear type man' . Gentle, polite and a little timid.

Fired up Someone, usually a person of authority who is hopping mad.

Make up Get up Usage: 'His makeup getup is smart'. Appearance, attire, general look.

Intimacy Usage: 'Onar shathe amar intimacy achhe'; literal translation- I am intimate with him which may imply something you usually don't admit in public. In Bangladeshi context it just means having a close friendship with someone - very innocent and not gossip-worthy at all.

Sobar Colour Colours that are subtle, tasteful, sometimes a little dull.

Rudder Radar.

Mynoots of the Meeting Minutes of the Meeting.

Pest colour Pistachio coloured or the colour of Binaca toothpaste - a product from British India period.

The Eew cluster for words beginning with y:

eg. Eew –you; Eyore –your.

The Hu cluster for words starting with 'wh'

eg. Hu eye – why; Hu hot – what; Hu huen – when.

Ood Would/wood. Here the 'w' is silent. Well if the French can do it why can't we?

The Bh cluster for words beginning with V although it's a little confusing as sometimes people say 'valobasha' for bhalobasha (love), 'vai' for bhai (brother) and 'voot' (ghost) for bhoot.

eg. Bhery- very; Nobhel- novel; Lubhly- lovely; bhenilla -vanilla.

Cluster of words with the letter 'j' pronounced with a 'z' and vice versa such as trazedy, dizital, zaarny (journey), zusht (just) zury, zustice and egjactly (exactly), jealot and jebra crossing.


We wish all our wonderfully supportive readers and advertisers Eid Mubarak. We hope you have enjoyed this issue which was meant to get a few laughs out of you during the holidays! Special thanks to our contributors and amazing cartoonists.

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