‘There is no such word’, said my father. And we never used it. Now I can. But I doubt if I ever will!
English in India was introduced by the British. Specifically for trade. And Lord Macaulay later in his Minute on Education in 1853, recommended that English be promoted as lingua franca and the medium of education in India. He thought it had the necessary vocabulary for teaching modern science, philosophy, law and history.
He seemed to be a far sighted person. But he would never have imagined what Indians would do to the language. Each year, more number of words borrowed from the Indian dialect or the words coined in India are making their way into the English Dictionary.
The author of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language , David Crystal, predicts that Indian English will become the most widely spoken variant. 'If 100 million Indians pronounce an English word in a certain way,' he says, 'this is more than Britain's population—so, it's the only way to pronounce it’.
The Prince of Wales at a dinner for the British Asian Community, Windsor Castle in his speech spoke among other things, about the sharing of language. He said – quote ‘The most well-known examples are probably “bungalow”, “verandah” and, indeed, “shampoo”. And more recently, “chuddies” seemed to crept into the English language’. unquote
We are really a nation that believes we speak the Queen’s language. All the while, we introduce new words that we pass off as English and what probably sounds Greek to the British.
Over the years we have adapted the language too. There probably would be very few who do not use a word of English in their daily conversation. Right from the maid who will walk in and tell you why she is ‘late’… to the watchman who comes to collect ‘maintenance’ each month.
Vernacular language clubbed with English words has become the norm. The VJs, RJs, the politicians… all use it. Pepsi probably led the way with their Dil Mange More campaign and it led to a whole lot of advertising messages that became a part of accepted speech.
The film industry, which interestingly is called Bollywood, have movies which have titles in English. More recently, we have Kites, 3 idiots, Wanted, Houseful to a mix that has a local flavour like Jab We Met ( When we Met) to Love Aaj Kal ( Love Today Tomorrow – or is it Love these days?) . When we have just Hindi titles, we have a mouthful and so we reduce them like in case of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge to DDLJ.
While we may ‘feel off’ ( a word I 'learnt' from my daughters) that so many words have crept into the OALD ( Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary), there has to be a difference in the English that is spoken at work and that which is spoken with friends.
As someone said – the difference is between English and Hinglish. One is the language for work and the other for fun. Otherwise we may have only one place to seek jobs – at MTV India.
(image - http://www.techtree.com/)