A nice story by David Sax in today’s NY Times about Harnarayan Singh and Bhola Chauhan, two Canadians who call NHL games in Punjabi:

The weekly Punjabi broadcast of “Hockey Night in Canada,” as venerated an institution for Canadians as “Monday Night Football” is for Americans, is thought to be the only N.H.L. game called in a language other than English or French.[…]
Singh, 28, has developed a signature style tailored for his audience. A puck can be described as an “aloo tikki,” a potato pancake his mother makes especially well. When a team comes back in the second period with renewed energy, Singh might say what translates to “someone must have made them a good cup of chai in the intermission.” A player who celebrates after a big goal will “dance bhangra moves.” […]
“This broadcast has really helped the Punjabi community to connect with the sport,” said Harbs Bains, president of the Surrey Minor Hockey Association in British Columbia. “It allows someone whose first language is not English to connect with the sport and between generations.”
Singh said many fans had told him that the broadcasts provided an instance for Indian-born grandparents, who may not speak English, to get together with their Canadian grandchildren, who often do not speak Punjabi.

Incidentally, for those who have been following my nighttime reading adventures, I have sad news to report: Friday night my wife and I finished Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series, which we began in July 2011. As Chris said in this thread, “21, the final unfinished book, is worth checking out despite not having an ending”—it’s surprising how much is packed into those three chapters, and I’m very glad it was published. (I notice from that Amazon page that there are Kindle and audio editions; I wonder how they, and especially the latter, handle the final pages which exist only in sometimes indecipherable handwriting?)
We mourned the end of our long adventure, but we needed to move on, so last night we began the first of the Edinburgh mystery novels of Alexander McCall Smith, The Sunday Philosophy Club. The series was highly recommended by someone in an LH thread (Grumbly?), and so far we’re thoroughly enjoying it.


  1. mattitiahu says

    I may not be a big hockey fan, but the Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi broadcast has to be one of my favorite things about my home country.

  2. mollymooly says

    Hockey is of course very big in India and Pakistan, who dominated the Olympic competition for decades. But I’m not sure how much of the vocabulary, other than “hockey”, “stick”, and “goal”, is shared between the grass game and the ice variety.

  3. Julia & Grumbly (& Ø, I think) liked that series. So did I, for its descriptions of the city and of Edinburgh society.

  4. Ah, Hat, but can you do the accents?

  5. …is thought to be the only N.H.L. game called in a language other than English or French.
    This can’t possibly be true, can it? Presumably someone is broadcasting NHL games in Swedish or Russian or Finnish or something?

  6. A few years ago I read a number of the McCall Smith books about Edinburgh. I liked them partly because I have a fondness for Edinburgh (where I once lived for half a year) and partly for themselves. Maybe I should say: there were a number of fictional characters in the Scotland Street series who were quite appealing, and the city itself can be added as one more appealing (semi-fictional) character. Then there was the Sunday Philosopher Club series, which had much the same sort of appeal but with an added philosophical twist.
    Sometimes when I read detective fiction I’m more interested in the people than in who done it. I think I felt much the same about Isabel’s philosophical preoccupations.
    Frankly, it all feels like fiction lite after a while. I failed to get hooked when I later tried to read another novel by the same author.

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