August 10, 2020
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Buk Buk

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Buk Buk
All cultures have expressions to denote a surfeit of words, for going on and on, rambling, for verbal sound and fury which signifies nothing. The English use the phrase blah blah'. Americans add the variation yackety yak', probably taken from Yiddish. The literary English representation of someone nattering on, is rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.'

In the film, The King And I, Yul Brynner, playing the King of Siam, in most of his conversations, would assume that the words coming at the end of his sentences were redundant and he would conclude with 'et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.. ' " taking it to be a Royal English conceit. The word bakwaas' has rich connotations and is elegant in itself. The expressions in Indian languages for meaningless chatter are, as in English, double barrelled: buk-buk' (in Hindi and Urdu) and bud-bud' in Marathi. The interrogative statement asking someone to shut up, would be: Why are you doing this bud-bud? '

When I began teaching in a school in a poor, immigrant area of London, the children, who reacted to my being Indian, would mimic my speech with the words bud-bud'. My curiosity overcame my annoyance and instead of kicking one of them in the backside, I asked him why he was using that particular term to parody my speech. He said 'That's what Indians speak, don't they " 'bud-bud-bud bud'? ' I've since heard the sound' of Indian speech parodied by the same syllable, coincidentally the precise one used in Marathi for prattle. I don't know of any universal Indian parody of the sound' of English, but years ago, our household cook Hukam Ali, who'd served English sahibs for fifty years without picking up more than two words of English himself, used to parody English speech as 'Oh yes, no, yes, no, fish-fosh, fish-fosh. '

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