Saturday, May 31, 2014

Spelling Bee 2014 co-winners and 'real' Americans

Congratulations to the co-winners Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe of Spelling Bee contest.

And of course the racial remarks of frustration as to why 'Americans' are not winning it. Check this as well.

Indian-Americans have won 11 out of 15 times since 1999. That is indeed a trend and feat. Shows Indians have an affinity to languages. Now if some kids will focus on Sanskrit as well :) Or is it just their 'tiger' parents behind them!

In all this, a few thoughts came to mind:

No Spelling Bee for Sanskrit
Sanskrit and related Indian languages won't have such a thrilling spelling bee contest because once you learn the alphabet (the sound to letter mapping) there is no more mystery to it. You could have a sandhi (सन्धि) and samAsa (समास) contest though! Where long words are shortened and short words combined to make really long words! The longest word is also a Sanskrit word. (निरन्तरान्धकारिता-दिगन्तर-कन्दलदमन्द-सुधारस-बिन्दु-सान्द्रतर-घनाघन-वृन्द-सन्देहकर-स्यन्दमान-मकरन्द-बिन्दु-बन्धुरतर-माकन्द-तरु-कुल-तल्प-कल्प-मृदुल-सिकता-जाल-जटिल-मूल-तल-मरुवक-मिलदलघु-लघु-लय-कलित-रमणीय-पानीय-शालिका-बालिका-करार-विन्द-गलन्तिका-गलदेला-लवङ्ग-पाटल-घनसार-कस्तूरिकातिसौरभ-मेदुर-लघुतर-मधुर-शीतलतर-सलिलधारा-निराकरिष्णु-तदीय-विमल-विलोचन-मयूख-रेखापसारित-पिपासायास-पथिक-लोकान्)

Useless words merely for contests?Kids should stop wasting their brains on learning spellings of words that are merely used in contests, when they don't even follow phonetics. Might as well learn the 3000+ characters of Chinese! (no disrespect meant for anyone) But each word of English which violates phonetics rules is a new 'character' (sound-to-symbol mapping) to remember. One has to remember the entire combination of letters. So there are many more than 26 'letters' of English. There are too many examples of the inconsistencies. Try reading this poem for a challenge

(Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I’ Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.)

'Real' Americans prefer sports over language, Bubba?
Americans, the so-called 'real' ones who claim that America is theirs alone, those ones) should realize that even at their own language (which they have made EZ and Kool) they are not excelling, this must be a low for their own kids' study efforts. Why crib when the 'real' American kids are busy with football and basketball, Pokemon and Clash of Clans? After all, sports has more money than spelling bee! :)

America progresses in matters, not where it matters.
These kids who won are US citizen, mostly born in US itself, and are equally American. Just their parents couldn't shrug off their Indian baggage and imposed the importance of education and knowledge on the kids at an early age. This current spate of racism shows that despite the progress America has made in material things, it has not made much on social and human levels. They not only still feel averse to diversity, want success without working on it. This is not what made US succeed in the hundred years!

Despite all the technological growth guns and prisons are still a 'major blow to the American society', apart from racism and killer capitalism. 6-year old shoots grand-dad and 36-month old shoots 18-month old !

Bilingual is not bad
The 'real' Americans tell the Spanish to learn English if they want to live in America. Now the Indians are just following the commands of the 'real' Americans. Why this kolavari di?
Shouldn't the real Americans be proud that these immigrants (and/or their kids) not only learn English, they far exceed the 'real Americans themselves! What a faithful bunch of immigrants.

People of narrow-minded thinking are in every society. It is exposure to more ideas, thoughts, places, opportunities that broaden the minds. But when so-called advanced society and educated people express so racially insultingly, then one starts to wonder the claims of human progress.

(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.


  1. In Kerala, Sanskrit is introduced in two to three thousand schools from first std this year onwards.

  2. Superb.....your blog has been inspiring and knowledge full

    Prof. CR Sarma.......Hyder Hyde, India


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