“Wealth is now defined, at least in part, by the ability to be offline whenever you want” Fernando Gros.
0 items in your cart
$0
Blog // Travel
November 30, 2005

Indian English

The uses and abuses of the English language here in India are staggering. Some arise simply from the the fact that however widespread English is, it is almost always a second language. Newspapers and other print media are replete with the kinds of errors that would send grammar and spelling geeks into a frenzy. Beyond […]

The uses and abuses of the English language here in India are staggering. Some arise simply from the the fact that however widespread English is, it is almost always a second language. Newspapers and other print media are replete with the kinds of errors that would send grammar and spelling geeks into a frenzy.

Beyond that, there is an interesting kind of formality in the use of language. Where else in the world would you see a billboard sign for a housing devlopment that lists “salient features?” Moreover, words are treated as very plastic, which leads to unsusal and often humourous usage. Chennai Journal has a good list of the most common examples, my favourites being,

Do the needful this phrase is found in most official correspondence asking someone to do what is necessary to accomplish a task.
Prepone opposite of postpone.
Intimate (used as a verb), as in “we will intimate when we are ready to consider your application.” Loosely translated, means to indicate or inform.
Good name polite for name, as in “what is your good name, please?”
Stooling running for office.
Batchmate classmate; person from the same graduating year.
Head bath a bath that includes washing the hair.
Updation noun for updating, e.g. “updation of records.” Also used with “upgrade.” (edit “Upgradation”)
Resume same meaning (curriculum vitae) but pronounced the like the verb, “re-zoom”
Would-be fiance

Technorati Tags: India, Idiom, Language

Responses
Kaanan Kapur 14 years ago

Any enqury into any language concept wihout identifying or demarking the domain which formed the subjectmatter of such investigation, does little to yield a true exposition especially when the topic of examination involves by universal admission the most complex and dynamic cultural centres of the world i.e INDIA, and the difficulty of the task is not helped when one with a litte effort notices that this complex dynamism resembles less to the laws of cultural evolution but more to the transitory equations of accomodation, compromise and settlement.

Any examination of Language in the indian context without having the art to reveal the substaratum of paradox is praising ones own self and then being pleased fo being the subject of such a self granted adulation.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enter your and your to join the mailing list.