Monday, May 17, 2010

Oka: A variant form of Okay, O.K. prevailing in Punjabi Youth

When I first heard this phrase "oka fer" (okay then) I laughed for hours because it was too funny for me. I remembered it again after few minutes and again started laughing but after that I forgot the laughing. Now I use this word quite frequently with my close friends, class fellows and collegues.
O.K or Okay is a word used for affirmation in colloquial English. The history of this word tells that its usage was started from America, perhaps some American president wrote o.k. on a file and then it "officially" came into being. It is also used as a discourse marker along with right, etc. It is pronounced as:
 /k/ in this word is as usual aspirated like /kh/ by native English speakers of American and British origin.

As per the suggestion of Wikipedia, this word is used in colloquial English and adopted in several languages of the world. This word is also borrowed by local languages of Pakistan like Punjabi and the National Language (Urdu). In Urdu it is pronounced as "okay" same is the case with Punjabi. But there is a variation in Punjabi. As Punjabi is a more informal language and used among closed friends, at homes etc., an informal use of okay is prevailing in Punjabi youth specially young boys. They use it as fun, while saying "oka" they initially have a smile on their faces but after that they accept it as a form of okay and try to use this new word in their friends' company. It can be called a slang word because it is being used informally only by youngsters in their sittings but the change is underway. It is being used by young university girls also with their close male friends and collegues in informal situations. They are also using it more frequently within female to female interactions. Another variation "oki" among girls and "oku" among boys is used at rare occasions when motive is to create more fun and laughter.

Variation is underway which is the destiny of language. Continuing our discussion on variation I would like to document the variation in romanized variety of Urdu and Punjabi which is being used in text messages specially by youngsters and university students while messaging their peers and friends.