મિલ્કમેન

An interesting article I found today tells the tale of a milkman in Blackburn (northwest England) who has many customers of Indian and Bangladeshi origin on his round and who has learnt to speak Gujarati fluently, as well as some Bengali and Punjabi, in order to better serve those customers.

He started picking up the languages in the 1950s and 1960s by listening to what his customers were saying, remembering it and repeating it. At first there were only a few Asian families, but as they arrived in increasing numbers, his knowledge of Gujarati continued to improve until he was able to communicate with confidence.

He also helps his customers find things like ghee (clarified butter) and other foods and ingredients not available locally. Not surprisingly he is very popular with the Asian communities in Blackburn and has received many invitations to weddings and other events.

In case you’re wondering, the title of this post is the Gujarati word for milkman.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
This entry was posted in Gujarati, Language, Language learning.

9 Responses to મિલ્કમેન

  1. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    What a nice heart-warming story. If only it were typical of attitudes to immigrants.

  2. michael farris says:

    “the title of this post is the Gujarati word for milkman”

    It also looks like a simple Guarati transcription of the English word if the resemblance to devanagari is to be trusted.

  3. Jayan says:

    Well if Gujarati is anything like Malayalam in its attitude towards Englisch, there are bound to be many words adopted…especially for foreign concepts.

  4. Jayarava says:

    It is a transliteration mi lka me n(a). A lot of signs in India are like this. My fav was होल्सेल वेगेतबल्स (Delhi), but नो पर्किं (Bodhgaya) came a close second.

  5. Andrew says:

    If everyone would learn to be this opening and interested in other peoples, cultures, and languages the world would suddenly be 10 times better overnight. Good on him.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  6. stormboy says:

    I wonder if there’s a Gujarati cognate of Hindi दूधवाला/dūdhvālā (‘milk wallah’)?

  7. zeke says:

    It reminds me of a story someone told me of a Korean store owner in New York who learned to speak fluent Yiddish. Of course I have no way of knowing whether it’s true but I guess it isn’t that far-fetched.

  8. michael farris says:

    Jayarava, when I was trying to learn Hindi some years ago (pre-global village) I saw a large picture of a street scene with all the signs in Devanagari. “Yippe!” I thought as I reached for my dictionary, hoping to add some practical signage to my vocabulary. But once I actually began reading it was all in English, just written in Devanagari (including special vowel signs for English vowels not occurring in Hindi such as a ā with tilde on top for the vowel of ‘can’ and ā with a breve for the first syllable of ‘doctor’.

  9. Macsen says:

    There are instances where Breton onion sellers (commonly called Sioni Winwns in Welsh, Johnny Onions in English) learning Welsh when they came to sell their produce in Wales. The fact that Welsh is related language made it much easier to the Breton-speaking onion sellers, to learn the language or enough to sell in any case!

    http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/small/item/GTJ11742/

    http://www.academi.org/list-of-writers/i/131693/