It has been my endeavor for many months now to speak fluent Telugu. I have this fascination for all things Telugu - movies, songs, radio programs and what not. I am trying really hard to learn the nuances of the language. I try to converse with my colleagues and friends in Telugu and scrap in Telugu using the English alphabet on Orkut.
My success is limited. One thing which I need to get the hang of is the "sandhis"; Telugu makes wide use of them. Native Telugu speakers probably don't even realize the abundance of "sandhis" in their language. "Sandhi" is the joining of two or more words to make them sound like one word. To give an example from a recent Telugu song: "Preme ledhannaadee Mallanna". Now the second word is actually three words joined together.
"Ledhaa" + "Annaadaa" + "Ee" = "Ledhannaadee"
which basically means No + said + this. The whole line means "This Mallanna said there is no love"!
These "sandhis" add a whole new level of complication to newbies like me. When I hear a word, I first need to figure out if it is really one word or more words "sandhi"-ized!
To learn any new language we really need to first figure out the rules of grammar with examples and then learn the vocabulary. Vocabulary of any language can be like an ocean with literally thousands of words. But once you know the grammar, the vocabulary can be picked up slowly.
I am probably about 25% there with the grammar.
An important part of my quest to be a Telugu thoroughbred is Telugu films. I have meticulously got myself acquainted with Telugu filmdom - actors, their sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons; that's the way it is in Tollywood, you have entire families working in films. I hear (and now thoroughly enjoy) Telugu music. I can even identify many of the songs as soon as they start.
I naturally try to show off my knowledge about Telugu films and music. For example, the other day a colleague started playing the title track of Oy. I immediately started singing along. What a proud moment! Everyone around me was mighty impressed. I beamed with pride!
I've had my share of embarrassment too. The other day, I mentioned to one of my colleagues, "I am really dying to see Magadheera! Ram Charan Tej has done a phenomenal job, it seems." My colleague nodded and added, "I am more eager to see how well Rajamouli has done."
I shot back, "Yeah! She looks really hot in the banners."
Everyone around me burst out laughing. As it turns out, Rajamouli is the (male) director of the film. I thought that was the actress' name!!
But I am undeterred. I don't give up so easily, you know!