Saturday, August 8, 2015

An Introduction to Matrimonial Classifieds Language (MCL)

GOUD/ 39, 174/grad 2.5LPa/work bank/clean/seek simple descent fairgirl

If  you perceived this as  a command in a computer language  you don’t know,  you certainly do not read matrimony classifieds  in Indian newspapers.  I just picked up these words from The Hindu  Newspaper.

Yes, classifieds are the primary gateway to matrimony for most of us.  If you do not understand its language, you probably will remain single for life. Here is what I learned so far:

The Grammar
The grammar of the matrimonial ad is as simple as it looks. It is just words  grouped together. The   beginning part of the sentence describes yourself and the latter part describes the person you are looking for. If you do not know this rule, you will invariably get confused and WILL  refer to the category often to decipher whether the ad is by a guy looking for girl or  girl looking for a guy.It’s a  continuum.  Looking for the keywords like 'seeks', ' want', ' looking for' etc. usually helps to identify the cutoff point   between  “I am “ and “you are” ,  parts of the sentence. This,  however,  is not mandatory. Just remember that  ad  language   sentences are  a continuum   of  ME >YOU .  If the person is narcissistic, the distribution of words in the sentence will  have a negative skew and   'you-centric' person's  ads will have a positive skew.  Understanding where I end and you begin is more of a matter of practice.

The Syntax
Forward Slashes (‘/’) are often used to denote self-contained units, pretty much like paragraphs of  other languages.  Commas (‘,’) are used to separate words that give  complete sense .   Spaces are used to separate words. In the example above /39,174/ is the advertiser’s  self-description,  slashes used to denote units and comma is  used to separate his  age and   height.  However  none of these are mandatory. The last word in the ad ‘fairgirl’    may remind  you of surnames like Fairbrother, but it is just that since the space is not mandatory the user chose to  skip it here between two words.

Most Common  Words
More often than not, matrimonial classified language use sentence words.  Some of the words have the same meaning as in English, some others have different meanings and remaining ones have no meanings.  Here are the  most important and frequent words used in the language:

Fair:  Teachers may  associate it with performance, lawyers with legitimacy, auditors with  opinions,  traders with their deals and others with trustworthiness. However  in this language fair has only one meaning- the archaic meaning of the word in English – flaxen complexion .    

Less popularly, the word this is also spelt as ‘fare’. You may also  see ads that describe the girl as ‘fairy’ . She is not mythical, it is just that her parents do not know the word is also an adjective.

Homely:  No, she  isn’t ugly. This comely lady is either   not qualified to work or is ready  to sit at home and take care of you and your parents.

Adjustable:  Since I usually see this word in garment and furniture labels,  it jolted me out of my seat when I saw this first. I took a snapshot of the ad and sent it to an expert of  the language to ensure that the guy is not looking for a sex doll or robotic girlfriend. Worry not, it just means that the lady should have the flexibility to get acclimatized to the guy’s home immediately on her arrival.

Lpa: Stands for Lakhs per annum, the unit of measure of his earnings. Not to be confused with lasting power of attorney.

God-fearing:  No, this  has nothing to do with her  religiousness .   The God here is the guy and she should be obedient  .  Now you know it is not  a mystery that  this term is never used to describe a guy.

Clean:  This has got nothing to do with hygiene.  The guy doesn’t drink or smoke.

Whitish:  She  neither milky  nor off-white, it’s just that she is not  that fair (see meaning of 'fair' above) but to call der dusky would be certainly unfair.

Qualified:  No,  it is not whether you are qualified for the role  of a life partner. It means you should have at least a university degree.

Tall, Handsome, Beautiful, Pleasing, Reliable, Reputed, Elite … all these words mean the same – Nothing .  Subjective descriptions are added to give a general feel- good to the ad.

Mystery words: In all probability these are  either denoting a caste or an astrological term. If you come up with something that  is double dutch please refer to the  wiki page of castes ( it seems  that we have   at least a dozen million  castes and clans in India ). If unsuccessful, browse the  glossary of astrological terms in the 30 major languages and 122 minor  languages of India. Sometimes identifying caste first can definitely  help,  people of some castes speak specific languages.

By now, you should  have a novice level proficiency . Try  the following  ads I copied from  today’s newspaper . Some parts are masked to protect privacy of  the people involved.

  1. xxxxBRAHMIN Vadama/  Chithirai 44/183/ XXXX /15L/pa prefer well educated, fair, adjustable bride. Sub-sect/ Caste no bar. Hindi knowing. Ph: XXXXX
  2. PATRIOTIC  XXXX   GIRL MA English, 23/170CM Elegant, Slim, Smart, Whitish, homely. Seeks teetotaler, Broad minded , English Fluency, athletic Officer/ IPS groom XXXXX

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