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Dear Amit,

I know your Hindi is better than mine. I do think I can read, write and speak Hindi as good as you do, but I understand if you want to believe that your Hindi is superior. It probably is. All I ask is this. Do NOT bring your understanding of Hindi and its nuances to the table when you are using a language other than Hindi for communication.Even if it’s only the script that is differing here. Or especially so. Let me explain.

One of you on Twitter, oh well, am I being judgmental? Well, clearly someone who understands your sensibilities(or the lack of it) claimed, with a showy air of addressing his “South Indian friend” that a particular Hindi word should be spelled with “t” and not “th”. Bull crap? Precisely my point. Now what is it that steers you away from understanding some basics of phonetic sounds? Is the whole pronunciation challenge of Hindi as a language making you adopt those practices in every other language you use?

I don’t know what conventional wisdom tells you, but here is what I believe in. I believe the phonetics are determined by the script more so than the language itself. The area deals with how a sound is conveyed physically when written. Now I totally get it when you use the correct letter when you are writing in the Devanagiri script. But when you use English, the sound is represented in English. Just because I write आदित्य it doesn’t mean that you must use “t” and not “th”. The sound is not with a hard “t” like in a “nut” and “bolt”. It is like “pathos” or “thorium”. So it’s Adi”th”ya. When you write it in English, use the damn phonetic sounds of the English language.

Now you may point out that the About Me page of this blog uses Aditya. You may point out that my Facebook profile reads Aditya. And so does my Twitter. But hey, it’s all thanks to you mate! Eight years of life in Bombay, the spelling of my name used and abused, I have been forced to adopt Aditya for your sake. Annual Day invitations*, attendance registers, mark sheets, the name would be Aditya, and not Adithya. And I let it be because it comfortably separated my personal from the professional as my professional life, documents, and all red tape still reads Adithya. Most Amits and Nehas (Yes gentlemen, I think we need a female form- Amit needs a heroine to live happily ever after with) wouldn’t be open to reason. They’ll sneer at you saying something like, “Eh, how is that?” But that is just how it is and you better live with it. And learn to use the phonetics sounds of different languages. Thanks,

Yours truly,

Adithya

* There is a joke about that which deserves a separate post.

30 thoughts on “The Amit’s Obsession with T

  1. I agree with you on principle…the hard ‘t’ and the soft ‘th’ but I am so used to that error that I prefer my name to end in t and not th! It is a cop-out I agree, and I too attribute to living in Mumbai for all those years. I do think that a person has the right to correct other with the spelling of their own name, as that is the right of the name-holder himself, but correcting others on other things is really unnecessary and a little holier than thou.

    Adi: True, I agree and that is exactly what that tweet was trying to do.

  2. I get a lot of that for my younger son’s name being spelled “Gautham” instead of “Gautam”. Also, the amits insist that the ‘au’ sound in that is pronounced like the short ‘o’ in ‘born’ and not ‘au’ which reeks of pronunciation nazism to me.

    Enjoyed this post!

    Adi: LOL @ pronunciation nazism! And don’t mind collapsedlight below. He likes to be the troll on other blogs, but he is perfectly normal otherwise!

    • Sir, surely you must rejoice. I have always wanted to one-day name my son after a city beset with corruption and crime which a masked-superhero-denizen of the night struggles to protect. Since you have dibs now, I have to resort to a less impressive Plan B. Metropolis.

      I mean Methropolis.

  3. By your own logic, shouldn’t it be ‘Adhithya’?

    Adi: Good point but I think it is used interchangeably more or less and accepted.

  4. lol! I agree. Imagine my plight, I have a name that is spelt as “Nivethitha” !

    Adi: Haha I remember looking at your spelling once and wondering how difficult must that be!

  5. Hahaha! Same blood Adi, sameeee blood. I’m preeTi and so many Amits (and Nehas) have told me they thought i was one of their clan cuz i dint have the H…

    Isn’t that such an irrelevant way to judge somebody???

    Adi: ROFL @ one of their clan! Now that’s an interesting issue!

  6. welcome to my world, having married a north indian, i hear these comments from him quiet often. think of the horror he had to face when someone wrote my baby’s name as “adithya”

    Adi: Lol, I can imagine. How have you been?

  7. I always thought Aditya was right. And that Adithya is stressing on the ‘th’. May be its like that in Telugu, then!
    Btw, I also have similar ‘t’ and ‘th’ problems, and I hate it when my name is misspelt!

    Adi: I can see why your name would be a problem ;)

  8. Somehow im getting to pity amits nowadays for all the negative attention they’re getting but then when i go to delhi for work and they pronounce my name which is “Dilip” as “Dhileeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep” i realize they deserve such pains in life for their practices :-P

    Adi: ROFL @ dileeeeeep!

  9. So typically north Indian, so typically snobbish!

    But just for your info: there was a Tamil/Malayalam actor whose name was Rahman. In Tamil, it was/is written as Raghuman. Then the actor came to be known as Raghu!
    But during our A.R. Rahman days, the Tamil script carefully cultivated the habit of writing Rehman, and Jai ho, that stayed.
    Great piece!

    Adi: Thanks, and for a long time, I knew him as Raghuman. I thought that was his name!

  10. Dear brodher, when you are taking our names you should be taking our spelling also, no ?

    When we attempt to name a child ‘Ramanatan’ , you can question us in the Punyojan only.

    Adi: Ramanatan!? Paavam!

  11. Caustic and well written but I differ with you on this one.I have immense respect for devanagiri script and strongly believe that most words in any language can be translated into hindi script.I still do not understand the need of “h” after “t” as it is not pronounced “th” as in “thermal” in Adithya .In fact even english is not equipped enough to handle your name.I am sure most english speaking public would call you “Adithya” where “d” sounds like drum and “th” sounding like thermal because that is what it is supposed to be phonetically speaking !It is also because hindi alphabet has “t”,”Th”,B,Bh”,d”,Dh “and so on .Tamil alphabet also does not distinguish a “t” from a ” D” and many such letters..With no offense to any language or script i did not mean to parse your name !

    Adi: Yeah, I agree but the problem is when other languages are written in English. Maybe saying English is not equipped to handle it makes sense but I am not so sure.

  12. Ah, I’m sorry you had to interact with an Amit. I come across them all the time and they aren’t fun to deal with. Boo.

    Adi: :P

  13. Such spite! But I agree with you since I face the ‘H’ problem with my name too. I had this Madu friend who would write my name without the ‘h’ and I would insist on including the ‘h’. With conspicuous contempt playing on his face, he would remark ‘You South Indians!!’

  14. thats it? no name calling? no damage to gradwolf’s ancestors/family name? where are the trolls or the bloggers pretending as trolls and posting anonymous comments? what is with bloggers these days…endha sandai yum perusa aaka maatreengalay….

  15. If the word is not native english – do we even bother about the spelling? On the other hand, your point from phonetics of the language is right.

    Even english has Cut and Put with the U confusing. ‘a’ and the the Tamil [or thamizh] ‘a’.

    We agree with some damn spelling like you did when you gre up in Bombay, but some [read Devanagiri fellows] dont agree.

  16. well,
    I think you are confused. English language uses the T like in “tamarind ,trumpet” and Th like in “thumb , throw.. & there, the.. ” . I dont see Th being used for the soft T (as in tera, tumhara) sound.
    French language which uses the same script does use T and not Th for the soft T sound ( like in.. tu, toi.. )
    Its your name and therefore your choice to spell it anyway you want… Adithya, Adhithya, Athithya, Aadithya and their variations. That does not mean Aditya is an incorrect spelling….

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