Monday, May 12, 2008

Mine vs. Yours

We have a lot of relations in India and many different names for them, which is really great because it is so much easier to figure out who exactly we are talking about. e.g. in Gujarati, mother's sister is called "maasi", dad's sister is called "foi", mother's brother's wife is called "maami" and dad's brother's wife is called "kaaki", and so on. The list is endless, well almost. Whereas in English, all of these are just aunts. You have to ask, which aunt in particular they're talking about. But that's not the point I am discussing today.

Ever talked to a person who refers to a person from your point of view instead of their own? For example, if I am talking to my father, and say he wants to talk about my mother, he would say "your mother" instead of saying "my wife". This is just a sample of the point I'm trying to make. You talk to your cousin and he/she refers to your mother as "your mother" instead of "my aunt". Now is it only me or this sounds rude to almost everyone on here? I experienced something similar last year and it made me quite upset. I shared my thoughts with a person who is quite close to me and they said I was being over analytical about the situation, but I felt insulted, not for me but for the person they were referring to. Why is it that people refer to others like so? Specially when it is your relatives. Is it because they've never been taught or they are just ignorant or they are plain rude? I mean I can understand if it's your friend's mother and you might not want to call her "aunt" or "Mrs. whatever" and you refer to her as "your mother" but how about for people who are related to you?

Am I thinking too much or do you truly think it is rude to refer to someone like that?

ps. I personally feel that referring to someone as "mine" is much more polite and pleasant to ears than "yours", specially when you are related to them in some way.


shub said...

Hey there..thanks for dropping by :)
As for the never occurred to me to think of it as being rude...I'm sure I've done a few times as well. Like you say, when I'm talking to a cousin, I invariably end up saying your Mom...atleast once maybe, and then slip into "aunt". Maybe just to make it clear the aunt in question is her Mom and not any of the other gadzillion aunts I have?! Hmmm? It's definitely not a conscious usage.

Jaydip Mehta said...

Thats good observation. I think everyone must have met this kind of person at least once in their life time, if he is born and brought up in Gujarat. Till this time I had never noticed it! This thing has never became part of my conscious or unconscious thought process. From my own experience I can say that, you are thinking too much, calling person like that can not be said at least as rude. But I do agree that best way to refer someone is to refer from 'mine' perspective. 'Your' perspective is taken for granted/accepted but definitely not best way.

chinmai said...

its just an easier way to convey wat one wants to convey as a 'your' relations.. i dont think it cud be found rude..unless the tone was .. 'my/mine'relation is more intimate

Kanan said...

Shub, same to you! :) thanks. That makes sense but you could have said "Aunt May" or "Aunt June" instead too, right? That's given the aunt in question has first name of May or June. [Sorry, I've been watching Spiderman movies since last week :P]

Jaydip, thanks for your comment. :)

Chinmai, I guess you're right... I still remain unconvinced.