Thursday, May 22

A Letter A Week2014 - Tamil English Slang

I'm starting on the second set A Letter A Week 2014. This set of the alphabet can be interpreted by each one personally. I've chosen to represent English words which have become a part of the Tamil language. That's the one sentence explanation,now let me elaborate.

Tamil is a Dravidian language and one of the oldest surviving classical languages. Tamil is the official language of the state of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and the Andamans and Nicobar islands in India besides being an official language in Sri Lanka and Singapore. Tamil is alive and spoken in Malaysia, Mauritius and I was surprised to discover on the island of Reunion! The Tamil diaspora has in turn taken it to all corners of the globe, as we discovered when we went to Paris and much to my husband's delight he could buy Tamil movie DVD's. 

The Tamil I am familiar with and conversant in, is peppered with words from the English language.      
Language is greatly influenced by the booming Tamil movie industry and vice versa. Like in the movies, everything is over the top - bright contrasting colours, incongruous mix of modern and ancient or western and eastern,larger than life superstars who have a cult following, its a unique form of pop culture a bit like this bus. 
You might recognise the English words but they don't always have the same meaning that they have in English.It's slang which is unique.   
 I photographed this bus in Coimbatore.Bus art is another one of my projects.

The first four alphabets.
I've cut out 5cm x 5cm pieces of paper from Tamil magazines and stuck them on cartridge's the visual representation of the mix of Tamil and English.
I've then stitched sequins onto the paper squares in the shape of the lower case of the alphabet and used a marker to give the alphabet a bit more 'presence'.

a - is for assaulta.  \ah-saal-ta\
definition - casually ... without a care. Nothing to do with actually assaulting or bashing someone.

b - is for blade.\blay -aid\
definition - used widely to refer to anything that causes a combination of boredom and pain.

c - is for colour.
definition - soft drinks, Fanta, Pepsi etc.

d - is for dress
definiton - "outfit" including men's apparel!

These definitions are from Samosapedia.

Related posts

To see all the interpretations of the alphabet in ALAW 2014 click here

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