POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Dec 15, 2009 AT 23:14 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 15, 2009 23:14 IST

Aveek Sen asks some niggling questions in the Telegraph:

Is bilingualism a kind of bisexuality as well? Are our English-speaking erotic personalities different from our vernacular ones? To what extent are sexual identities linguistically inflected? Is sex in English different from sex in Bengali? Do these linguistically different personalities attract or repel different kinds of people, in different ways? How consciously do we make use of linguistic range in our erotic play? Are you the same person, the same sexual-emotional-romantic creature, when you are thinking of someone while listening to Tagore’s Shudhu tomar bani noy go, when you write out a Shakespeare sonnet for somebody, email someone the YouTube link to Tanuja singing Raat akeli hai, and are dancing with a stranger to Madonna after a couple of martinis? And what are the larger cultural and historical meanings of being all these different people in a single body? How do you communicate the richness and fun of being thus to somebody who does not have access to this range of registers, not necessarily because this person is less privileged or more boring than you are, but simply because he or she knows only one language?

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Dec 15, 2009 AT 23:14 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 15, 2009 23:14 IST
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Daily Mail
Dec 19, 2009
09:00 AM
A language is just a medium of expression.

However, what we convey also represent our own family upbringing, social mores, cultural sign-posts, financial indicators and national identities/ethos.

Our usage, our sexual expressions and our idioms during the act derive their affiliations from who we are or what we do. Would I be wrong in assuming that a stock-market analyst’s sexual language reeks of ‘market up and down’ while a social scientist or a female libber may talk of ‘positions’ in the bed, if you know what I mean?

Obviously, a Bong will use his/her exclamations of ecstasy in his/her native language just as a Haryanvi in his/hers. However, and in the ultimate analysis, sex act remains same; only its language changes with its user.

Just like the smell of the rose!
Desh Premee
Delhi, India
Dec 19, 2009
05:05 AM
I now understand what makes a Bengali so Bengali.
Joshua Miranda
Chennai, India
Dec 17, 2009
04:58 PM
What is also apparent in a way is the difference or separation between 'observer' and 'observed'. For those, speaking in the local language or vernacular, the words they use would reflect everyday lived experiences. And quite obviously, the dichotomy of different experiences, even the sexual one, as expressed by the observer here, would be starkly different, even non-existent. The use of standard English to give them a different language to express sex, sexuality in, is an intercession necessary because of the legal systems a modern state has to adopt. Legalese and the language it is most commonly express in, ie, English, makes necessary the description of sexual experiences in a certain manner.
anu kumar
Delhi, India
Dec 17, 2009
11:35 AM
Manish-- Great critique. But I disagree with you on one point. I think the term bisexuality is not to be literally construed here. I think in this context it may indicate the change in a persons "sexual personality", if there is such a thing, when the language in which he/she is contextualizing sex changes.
Abhishek Choudhury
Pennsylvania, USA
Dec 16, 2009
09:59 PM
This serious soliloquy should've come with annotations properly indexed.

Bilingulism is alright, but what is bisexuality? Let's hear what is 'English-speaking erotic persoanilty' , then we can easily understand what is Tamil-speaking erotic personality or for that matter what is German-speaking erotic personality. Hope this sombre nothing is not about schmoozing erotic googledegook on the wire or on the wireless. Then language is needed & it better be purple. Sexual identities are erotically inflected - not linguistically - unless it's slanging match sprinkled with liberal description of organic activities. By the way it takes at least two to make a slanging match - is that what bisexuality is all about? Making use of 'linguistic range in our erotic play' of course make sense. But why spoil it with Tagore song? Madona alright, specially goes well with a few dry martinis but no 'sexual-emotional-romantic creature' will freak it out with Tanuja. And Shakespeare in this contextuality is party-pooper.

What & when nonsense makes sense, Sundeep?
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