"Typewriter" on Netflix, India, English language and Goa (NO SPOILERS, PLEASE)

Just about to wrap up this 5 part series, and its fantastic. Its a ghost story that takes place in the former Portuguese colony of Goa, now an Indian state, and was made by Indian filmmakers.

The entire series uses what I am assuming to be Indian actors, and is in English. Other than one character that speaks in a British accent, whether dubbed or not, everyone else seems to speak in what I fear to say is a “sing song” accent similar to the somewhat offensive character Apu in the Simpsons where it sounds like every other few syllables is a question.

Do most Indians speak English, and if so is this how they really sound? If not, and this was dubbed, I find it offensive. Or is it?

I did some research on Goa, and even though a very small percentage of the population has Portuguese ancestry, many characters have Latin sounding names. Is this common in Goa? Or did the producers try to create some sort of Portuguese-Indian background that might be a bit exaggerated for the area? I did notice the school the kids go to is a Catholic school, even though only 2.3% of Indians are Catholic, though maybe this would be higher in a former Portuguese colony.

One final note: one of the characters has a dog, I thought I read somewhere Indians do not like pets, because they don’t understand why anyone would want an animal living in their house? Accurate?

Please let me know if any of these questions are inappropriate. I know little about India, but do know it is an enormous and heavily populated country with many, many languages, ethnic groups and geographic regions and I’m just trying to learn a little more after watching this show!:slight_smile:

A quick look at Wikipedia indicates that about 200 million Indians speak English, and it’s one of two languages (alongside Hindi) spoken in Parliament and is a de facto lingua franca in some parts of the country.

I live in an area of London with a large Indian population, and yes, the accent you describe is as you say, especially among the first generation immigrants. The second generation, born here, still have it to a degree but less.

English is the language of government and the courts in India. Pretty much all educated Indians speak English. Percentage wise, the proportion of people who are fluent in English isn’t large, but in absolute terms that means that there are millions of Indians fluent in English.

Indian English has become its own variety of English, like British English or American English, with its own characteristic grammar, pronunciation, and turns of phrase.

Indians who live in urban areas tend to grow up surrounded by several languages and can grow up speaking many. Among my relatives, it’s common for them to know (1) Bengali, our ethnic language, and the language spoken at home, (2) Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu), the language of popular films and music, (3) English, the language of education and of international popular culture, (4) whatever the “local” language is, if it’s not one of the above (e.g., Marathi in Bombay), and (5) another language spoken by another large ethnicity in the area (e.g., Gujarati in Bombay).

So a member of a Marwari family living in Calcutta might speak Marwari at home, Bengali and English in business transactions, Bhojpuri with servants from Bihar, and Hindustani learned from films and pop songs.

In situations in which two people don’t speak any Indian language in common, some combination of English and Hindustani may be the default lingua franca, except in the south, where Hindustani is less well-known.

On the street level, depending on the locality English might not be the lingua franca, but commerce often requires knowing a large number of English words.

I haven’t seen the series, but because of the linguistic diversity of India, there are actually many types of Indian English accents. There are some accents that sound somewhat like Apu’s accent, but to someone who is familiar with Indian English accents, Apu’s accent is obviously faked. It doesn’t get the pronunciations correct most of the time.

Yes, it’s very common for Goans to have Portuguese-origin names. I knew a Clarence Antony DeLima, and you often encounter Goans with names like Soares and Gomes and names starting with the “de” particle.

There is a good proportion of Catholics in Goa, but Indians of all religions attend Catholic schools. Pretty much all of my relatives attended Catholic schools, and they’re all Hindus. Catholic schools are considered the gold-standard for education, and the schools don’t restrict admission on the basis of admission. Indeed, they likely wouldn’t exist without tuition fees from non-Catholics.

Generally speaking, non-Catholic students in Catholic schools are exempted from explicitly Christian subjects, which might be replaced by more general “ethics” or “philosophy” classes.

India is a very diverse country. Many people are put off by the idea of having a dog in the house, especially if their main experience of animals is street strays. However, many people do have pets. There are huge cultural differences between the middle and upper economic classes and poorer folks whose lives are less influenced by international culture.

Thanks for this very helpful!
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How is the show?

That’s got to lead to some wicked classroom overcrowding.

Lived for awhile in Goa with a local family. Family had a dog which they loved, but it stayed outside. Used to go with my wife and I to the beach everyday.

What, you mean like: Numerius Fabius Maximus, Licinia Crassa Maior, that sort of thing? That would be weird for Goa :slight_smile:

It got mixed reviews but I really liked it.
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I finished it today and thought it was cute, but kind of disappointing. I was hoping it would be scary, but it was really like a cutesy imitation of a scary show. Not terrible, but a let down.