Monday, November 19, 2007


Sometime ago i was reading an article in a gujarati newspaper, which expressed great concern over increasing influence of English over Indian languages and how English words are making several Indian counterparts of theirs extinct.

Now I came across this youtube video titled “Heynabonics”. It talks about English spoken in northeastern Pennsylvania, where people put at the end of an affirmative sentence something like “Hai na” to convert it into a question.

e.g. “Did you go to the party last night?” is a normal sentence. With Hai na, it would be, “You went to the party last night, Hai na?”

Similarly, “You like tom’s sister, don’t you?” would become, “You like Tom’s sister, Hai na?”

Some bloggers have come up with various possible explanations for the origin of "Hai na". Looking at the context and usage of the term, I can't think of any other origin but Hindi. In Hindi, Hai is a conjugation for third person, for the verb Hona (To be). So, “Hai na?”, would literally mean, “It is. No?”

Listen to this song, from the movie “Jis desh me Ganga Behti hai” (The country, where The Ganges flows). You will definitely enjoy the “Hai na” after every stanza. (Don’t get impatient to listen to Hai na from the word go, wait at least till 00:43 minute).

It feels so good, Hindi influencing English, even changing their vocabulary. I am waiting for that day when even Gujarati expressions like, “Na hoy” (Equivalent of an exclamation, like Really?, or Is that so?), will also invade English theasures.

“You know, George Bush finally cleared an IQ test. Na Hoy!”

At Languagelog, you can see various other explanations of Hai Na.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I miss Lisbon

I went to Lisbon in March. I fell in love with the city. The city makes you feel some unique calmness. Walking through the streets of Alfama (which is a huge neighbourhood of fishermen), on a sedate afternoon, is like seeing face to face, profound and pensive solitude.

I went to Portugal again last month. This time, to a five-star hotel, Penha longa, in the outskirts of the beautiful city of Sintra. I was worried that, staying at such a posh place would deprive me of the raw beauty of Lisbon, which I so much relished last time.

But no. this place was beautiful. Extremely beautiful! It was an old palace and monastery now, converted into the hotel. Be it the old neighbourhood or a luxurious hotel; in Portugal, everything is beautiful.

Well, this was the feeling for the first two days. But then, a hotel is after all a hotel. Everything is just too organized! Inside the hotel, on TV monitors, MTV and CNN were shown. To match tastes of "international" visitors. Everyone could speak English. I missed my struggles with Portugese. Last time in Lisbon, we all tried to speak Spanish, superimposing portugese pronunciations and felt that we were speaking Portugese. People inside the hotel were polite. But then it was paid for. It wouldn't match the sweet smiles that you receive from middle-aged portugese housewives, whom you ask for directions when you are lost, and who, out of sheer enthusiasm for helping you, would give you so many options to reach your destination that you would still be lost. Yet, you would say "Obrigado" to the lady and proceed happily.

When I was going to the airport, we saw some Lisbon. I could literally feel the pain, of being so close to that beautiful city, the river Tajo, the Atlantic ocean, their beautiful union and still was not being able to see any of it.
Anyways......I know, I will visit Portugal, Lisbon, Tajo and the atlantic again...and again....and again...and again

Lisboa........"Eu sei que vou te amar.............."