Mixed Language Type

Literacy has been growing in India quite fast in the last decade. And literacy or awareness of english has come to be associated with rapid progress.  Spoken english courses have sprung up at every corner. What is more interesting is the decline of some aspects of hindi literacy. For example the number scripts in hindi:

० १ २ ३ ४ ५ ६ ७ ८ ९

These are numbers 0 to 9 written in Devanagari (or hindi) script. Be it the vegetable vendor or the cycle rickshaw guy, most of them have stopped using these letters and switched to the english letters (0123456789). This is at least true for urban india. You would have a hard time locating these number scripts in bigger cities. One reason for this could be that even the hindi medium schools have switched the number scripts to the english ones.

Another thing which has started appearing is mixed language signages. These are names of shops or services which are written using the letters from both a local language and english. I found these samples near CR park area in South Delhi. The curries and gravies shop has closed and I found the pic of its signboard on google

पेंटर – painter in devanagari script

करीस एंड ग्रैवीस – curries and gravies in devanagari script

In both these examples the first letter of the word has been replaced by the Devanagari equivalent. One usability problem these cause is the most obvious one. Anyone who wants to read this needs to know both the english script and the devanagari script.

Recycled – for comfort

Saw this charpayee, in a dhaba on the Delhi Jaipur highway. The thing which makes it different is that traditionally ropes are used, while in this case stripped pieces of a conveyor belt has been used. The guy there told me that this comes at Rs. 30 per kg which is almost half of the ropes. And this also has a springy quality which makes it preferable to rope. And it is much more durable.

I see such innovations happening not in big companies but at the roadside tea stall, or the local mechanic. Makes me glad :).

Tunga Balla Torava

“but inside ….we are all tigers.

That is how the MTv ad for the Xbox 360 ends. Totally out of this world, this ad is weird. When i first saw it, and did not see any product coming, i wondered if it was a MTv promo or something. But then it came in the end. Did some googling and found that the creative director was Cyrus Oshidar of MTv. Also found a lot of postings by firangs who couldn’t make head and tail of it.

So here are some facts:
a) there is no game called Porok. It is purely a fictional game.
b) the language used is just a mixture of 3-4 languages. I could make out mallu and tamil words in it. I am sure the other words are from kannada and telugu.
c) it was shot in the middle of mumbai and not in a village.

Advertisements have to target a focus group. What works in cities, may not work in villages. What works for teenagers, may not work for middle ageds. And so on. So let me ask you who could be the focus of this ad? Who might the people who might buy the xbox?

Games in india are still played on PCs. The personal computer has become ubiquitous in cities. You could play for a hour in a cyber cafe for Rs.10. Highly affordable. My guess is 99% of serious gamers in india use a PC. To me they look like a good market. Very computer savvy. Having high paying jobs in IT. And they would already be aware of the XBox, even before seeing the ad. The ad is not informing them about anything. It’s just selling them the attitude. Every ad doesn’t have to “sell” the product. The point that it needs “selling” may make a bad impression.
And here this ad outclasses many others.