I find it amusing  when I think of the days I used to   conduct classes in Conversational English for  ladies. The students  ranged from various backgrounds  and age groups, the youngest being newly married ladies in the twenties and the oldest  in their  forties and fifties  who were mostly   mothers-in law  wanting to visit  their  American daughters-in-law  living in the U.S.

The  first lesson would   commence with  self  introductions and the basic courtesies. For instance ‘How do you do ‘is not a question, I would tell the class  and  all that they  have to say is ‘How do you do ‘and I would be met with  astonished glances. Again  when  some one  asks How are you? ,   they don’t expect you to reel out all your ailments but just ‘I am fine’ would do as an answer. Also please refrain from asking   personal questions because it is not good manners, I would emphasize.

MAAM,  do we have to introduce ourselves  just by our name or with the suffix of our husband’s name? they would invariably ask and my answer  would invariably be, ‘  you can  use the suffix  if you please’ and  they   were happy  to do so.

Now after a lapse of a decade or so, I realized ‘ how do you do’ has become hackneyed, so has the response to how are you which is being replaced with ‘I am good or very well, thank you.’ Also that  attaching the spouse’s name  is pass , because the current fashion is using  your  name with no suffixes , or  the suffix of your father’s name   which makes you wonder about the marital status  of the person. Does it matter? I wonder.

n.meera raghavendra rao


One thought on “OLD FASHIONED AND HACKNEYED 14/10/2014

  1. V.N.K.Kumar

    The Times they are A Changin’ said Bob Dylan. Living language has to be self-correcting & keeping up with the usage or it becomes a dead one like Aramaic, Latin or Sanskrit. Perhaps that is why the dictionary compilers keep bringing out newer editions after adding & thus dignifying some colloquial usages.

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