Let’s Talk in English by Manish Gupta
Let’s Talk in English is the second book in the series of demystifying English for a common Indian. Manish Gupta’s first book ‘English Bites! ‘ was a good attempt at giving tips and tricks on picking up the nuances of English language – on small little ways in which you can teach yourself. I liked the way he approached that book by taking everyday topics. And talking about not so easy words associated with them. He gave the readers a way in which they can gradually and slowly expand their vocabulary by admiring the surroundings. And by looking at the everyday words.
Let’s Talk in English by Manish Gupta, the author tries to take the same thread forward. But since he exhausted the everyday situations in his first book, he lets his fancy fly free and picks up random and remotely connected words. More often than not he picks up words that come from the same root word. He also attempts to look at where the root word comes from. And actually traces back many English words to Sanskrit origins throughout the book. Though towards the end he has a couple of dedicated chapters on Indian words in English.
What I liked about the book is that author has put in a lot of himself in the book. Whether it is revisiting his student days in Chandigarh or talking about a certain air hostess on Mumbai-Singapore route. He shares his vulnerabilities with the use of English. And that would go a long way in readers connecting with him and his writing and gaining confidence.
The chapters are small, easily digestible in one go. In fact, the author himself suggests reading 1-2 chapters at a time. Take that advice seriously as reading more than that at a time will leave the whole experience ineffective. For someone who really wants to learn a few new words in English or learn the origins of the ones they know, this can be an interesting book. If you think you have a decent vocabulary you can easily skip this book. Unless of course, etymology is your muse.
However, at places, I think the author went overboard – like when he calls Banias as Banyans. At places, he mentioned root words that I did not agree with. Unfortunately, he has not mentioned his source of research. I hope it is not Wikipedia – too many authors go there without realizing that the place changes before you know. Since he has given many references to old meanings. And how they have changed over years – I would have loved the references and some footnotes. Probably does not go with the format of the book, but would go a long way in establishing the credibility of the content in the book.
If you are working on improving your English Vocabulary in a fun easy way, read Let’s Talk in English. Having said that, between the two books of Manish Gupta I would recommend reading the first one over this one.
Take your call.