Nationality: Indian American
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/27/18
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Telugu, Hindi, Spanish (kinda)
కానీ (pronounced Kaani) is the Telugu word that literally translates to “but,” however, the Informant said that the word takes on an extended meaning in her family. When she was little, the Informant and her little brother would often stay at their grandparents and, in typical sibling fashion, they fought a lot. Whenever the two were caught fighting, their grandparents would shout “Kaani!” which, to them, means “let it be.”
The fluidity of language is fascinating. We spent so much time in education simply learning the rules of language only to spend our entire lives blatantly ignoring them, bastardizing spelling and grammar. A language is supposed to be a shared method of communication, but I wonder if another Telugu speaker would understand this altered meaning of Telugu until told by the Informant. This is seemingly a folk definition.