First, the good people at St. Martin's/Minotaur Books sent Inspector Ghote's First Case, a prequel to H.R.F. Keating's long-running series. Then a discussion here turned to the odd happenings when speakers of one language appropriate speech patterns from another. Finally a piece of Scottish slang reminded me of a treasured word from my un-Scottish youth.
As I did when I first read Keating, I noticed in the opening chapters of Inspector Ghote's First Case a speech pattern in which characters use only at the end of a sentence where North American or European speakers would use it in the middle. It transpired that at least one Indian critic had been ambivalent about Keating and unhappy with Ghote's "broken-English patois." You can follow the ensuing discussion here and here.
In the meantime, some questions for readers with knowledge of English as spoken in India: Is only in the end position ("I have been longing to see it since I was at college only.") particular to certain regions of India? And could that speech pattern be a carryover from any of India's own languages?
Finally, pish. The word was part of my youth growing up, a holdover, I assumed, from Yiddish. But it must be part of the Scottish lexicon, too. Christopher Brookmyre has used it in his books, and Allan Guthrie uses it several times in Two-Way Split, most pungently thus:
"Kennedy chucked the paper in the bin, since the journalist was obviously from the west coast and therefore everything he said was unadulterated pish."OK, lovers of Scottish English. What's with the pish? How did it get into your language?
© Peter Rozovsky 2009