The Accent

Okay I am writing this post because I have heard and I am tried of hearing comments on how my accent is not mallu or sometimes its mallu.

First thing we call ourselves malayalees and not mallu.  We are the most tolerant people (in terms of religion, education, food, alcohol, powercuts, communists, rain, floods etc).  And its takes guts to speak like this (from 00.20) (Sreemathi Teacher, Kerala’s Health Minister)

Coming back to the topic, once at a job interview I met another prospective candidate that the company called, while we were waiting, he started asking about my whereabouts and then he quickly passed this comment ‘Hey you DON’T have a Mallu accent’.

2 sec silence.

“Well” I said. “I am surprised!, my parents are from Kerala, I was born and brought up there, I am suppposed to have one. I mean I am not born to a family from the west anyway”

1500 sec of silence. And we parted ways.

Now lets be clear about the accent thing. If we are born here (any state I mean) and brought up here (again any state) and your mother tongue is not english, you are bound to have this mother-tongue influence (as called by the call center folks) for certain words (or for every thing you speak) in english. But then you can have a nuetral accent (as the call center folks call it) which is something that you speak and then others wont be able to figure out which accent it is.

If you speak to a French guy they would have a French accent in the english they speak. The Chinese have their version of english. So does Indians. Now in India we have all these different languages that everyone tend to have different accents.

Now if you are from the North or (any other state minus Kerala) and think that you don’t have an accent you are wrong ! You have one. And if you are not convinced then please record your conversations (casual ones or practised ones) and then play it back.

If you are still convinced that you have Jack Nicholson’s accent (for example) Listen to this scene from “Few good men”  and then try recording your version. Please compare. If you are close, please send me a copy.

Now the question is does Malayalee’s have an accent?. Of course we do. So do you, folks.

Listen to this  and please don’t end up giving lectures on “sheesh you shaeve ansh Mallu ashent.Are you from Keral ? Anyways I am going to De Market to buy Phish”

In short when you say that Malayalee’s (or others) have an accent you actually sound like this .


  1. dint understand anything 😦
    may be coz i dont hav a headphn 😛

    1. haha. Yes, you need headphones. Listen to those videos, the last one especially.

  2. Hahahaha… As @Chuck_Gopal says in his Chronicles of Dementia, A ‘Mallu’ Accent is a Hyundai made in Kerala. 😀

  3. lol.. Hilarious…

  4. Way to go!!
    I hear this most times too. 2 things irritate me:
    1. calling me “mallu”
    2. sounding surprised i dont have an accent

    This is for such people:

    For one, mallu means monkey, per the Oxford Hindi English Dictionary by R.S. McGregor – Pg. 795. First Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1993

    If someone chooses to call me a monkey, I usually choose to call them different animal names in return too 😀

    And like Xylene said, you think foreigners have no accent?? Ever hear a mexican talk? Or a Spaniard? Or a north american? Or a Brit? or an autralian? If they can have accents, why the *&^& cant we have it?

    My mother tongue is NOT English — it’s malayalam. I’d LOVE it if i have an accent. If you think that’s bad, go hang yourself

    Thanks Xylene. Have been dying to vent this off for along time too! And so glad to be reading The Crapbook after sooooo long 🙂

    1. 🙂 Thanks for the comment.

  5. Cumon now, I think we can all agree on the fact that when you think about it, its not so much that we all have our individual accents but its more about which accent is cool and which one is not. Sadly the Indian accent is just not cool 😛

    1. Right. It’s not cool ! 😀

  6. Joshi Mukard · · Reply

    Good post. Yes, in India most of us speak with some kind of an accent. While the North Indians laugh about Malayalam accent, they themselves cannot pronounce words correctly.

  7. Very true. I think, the person who comments on other’s accents is jut to show off that he can differentiate accents. There is no reason to comment on accents. Though English is the main language, even UK people mock at US accents and US people do the same. Its not even about which is cool accent (I really cant understand whats that ‘cool’ accent). English is the universal language and even the language itself keeps evolving from various other languages across the world. It is supposed to make everyone across the world communicate using one language not pick on accents and make divisions in the same language again.

    As long as one does not change the meanings, any accent is good and I feel it is immature to mock at other’s accent.

    Good one…A very nice post 🙂

  8. Malayalis themselves are foremost in laughing at each other’s ‘mallu accent’. I guess in that case it is a kind of relief that ‘someone yelse is more unbeyarable than myeself’.

  9. I know a Chennai gal who does not have a Tamil accent… Only her chattering in Tamil+Telugu made me realize she was a from either TN/AP 😀 So if I meet you anytime, I will say,”Great, you have a neutral accent, wish I had it :)”

  10. Rob Zimmerman · · Reply

    Mubai-ites Rule! And I can imitate old JACK and even BOB DYLAN. For Bob its all in the eeeeeenuuuuunciatioooon!

  11. You remind me of my best friend who is a Malayali who hates being told, “Hey, you’re too fair to be from Kerala. You don’t look like a Malayali at all!” which she hates to take as a compliment 😀

    There was a coconut tree with a Malayali accent in my kid’s cartoon program me yesterday… your post reminded me of that too 🙂

  12. Funny one 🙂 a nice take on Mallu or Malyalee 🙂

  13. Examples of Manglish – English words murdered by Malayalees – are:

    kangaroo (the worst offended word, Malayalees pronounce as “kanGAROO” instead of “KANgroo”)

    mixed, fixed (pronounced as ‘miksed’, ‘fiksed’ instead of ‘miksd’, ‘fiksd’)

    bear, pear, wear (pronounced as ‘biyar’, ‘piyar’, ‘wiyer’ instead of ‘beye’, ‘peye’, ‘weye’)

    beer (pronounced as “biiir” instead of “biye”)

    auto (pronounced as “aaato” instead of “otto”)

    Queen (prounounced as “kyuun” instead of “kween”)

    form (pronounced as ‘farum’ instead of “fom”)

    biennale (pronounced as “binale” instead of “bienale”)

    place names – Ohio, Seattle, Utah (pronounced as “ohiyo, seetl, ootha” instead of “ohayo, siyatl, yuta”)

    tortoise (pronounced as ‘tortois’ instead of “totis” )

    turtle (pronounced as ‘turrrtil’ instead of “tutl” )

    Mascot Hotel (pronounced as “muskut HOtel” instead of “MAScot hoTEL”)

    heart (pronounced as ‘hurrt’ instead of “haat”)

    bass (pronounced as ‘baas’ instead of “beis”)

    twitter (pronounced as “tyooter” instead of “twiter”)

    birthday (pronounced as “birthaday” instead of “buthdei”)

    garage (pronounced as “garej” instead of “gaRAZH/gaRAJ”)

    chassis (pronounced as “chasis” instead of “shasi”)

    divorce (pronounced as “daiverse” instead of “divors”)

    February (pronounced as “fibruari” instead of “februari”)

    one (pronounced as “onn” instead of “wun”)

    pizza (pronounced as “pisa” instead of “pitza”)

    our (pronounced as “avar” instead of “aue”)

    flour (pronounced as “flower” instead of “flaue”)

    alarm (pronounced as “alarum” instead of “alaam”)

    volume (pronounced as “vaalyam’ instead of “volyum”)

  14. Accent is ok, but bad pronounciation is BAD

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