Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Indian Ethnic English 11-29

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 Is it representation, reproduction, or a satire on Indian English?

Whatever it is , it is a faithful representation of the English being spoken in India. And it is not derogatory to us Indians

Now this should not be considered as colloquial. Instead it is Indian ethnic English. 

Peter Sellers made an attempt to familiarize Indian English to the world through his movie party. He made the phrase "Long Time no see " famous.

Other Nations too have contributed their words to English. Specially when some Europeans speak English,


U.S. has contributed it own quota of unwelcome words to the English, so have the Europeans. Many countries have their own ethnic versions of English. This is true to a lesser extent about French and Spanish too.

Apart from these, there are regional vocabularies in India that vary from region to region.

In south there is a word called co-brother, or co-son-in-law, co-daughter-in- law. This is are used to define the relations between the husband of two sisters, wives of two brothers, Two-sons-in-law. Two-daughters-Law.

In Andhra Pradesh (& Telangana), A nephew is considered Son-in-law and niece is considered Daughter-in-law.

This because of the age old tradition of the marriage between children of brother and sister , which seems to be on decline.

Similarly in north word "Patiala" is very common word to describe something in large quantity, such  as peg of whisky or a glass of Lassi.

Finally I would like to conclude that there is no need for us Indians feel bad or inferior, and it is not derogatory for us Indians to speak the way we do. We consider it as a promotion of Indian Ethnic English

Some choice words.

Prepone--Opposite of postpone

Come to know that -- to find something out. 

Do the needful -- no direct translation. It means to get shit done.

I have a doubt -- I have a question

Cousin-brother -- just a cousin

My brother -- Also probably just a cousin

My real brother -- My brother

Cum -- And Sofa cum bed, Clerk cum Typist.

I Say -  Typically at the end of every sentence the south Indians speak. " Do it now I say." 

Timepass -- Something you do to keep busy. (esp. eating peanuts)

Level best -- your darndest, as in what you do (usually while failing or about to fail)

Level best only -- This is definitely not going to go as planned.

Give an exam -- take an exam (as a student, not a teacher)

Spinster -- any adult female who is not yet married

Periods -- That time of the month. I can't swim in a pool, I'm having my periods!

1.5 years -- One year, six months. 

Where are you staying? -- Where do you live?

Keep it -- Put it (Where shall I keep your handbag? Shall I keep it on the table?)

At rate -- @ (like in an email address)

No more -- Dead

Just like that -- No comment. (Me: "why are you late to band practice today?" You: "Just like that.")

Homely -- Someone who is tidy and good at keeping house/cooking/etc

Even I am...[doing X] -- Me too. 

Nothing is coming -- I can't hear you (although I use this for a lot of different situations)

Only -- Decoration at the end of the sentence. "Are you staying in Mumbai only?"

Cribbing -- Complaining or whining 

My seniors -- People in my peer group who are older than me

Auntie -- A woman who appears older than me

Good name -- just a name 

I am [doing x] since [y] years -- I've been doing x for [y] long

Burst crackers -- Set off fireworks

Reach -- Arrive [somewhere] (Did you reach yet?)

Very less -- Not enough of something. "My bank account is very less since the last 1.2 years"

I'll just quickly do [x] -- No direct translation. Usually heard from a woman, when something very time consuming and complicated is about to be done. I am sure the ladies who planned the Mars Orbiter Mission were like, "I'll just quickly calculate the trajectory for this secondary rocket booster."

Get through -- To be accepted (as to university) or to pass an exam. 

(It applies to men also "I will quickly have a power nap and come back quickly. (notice the word 'quickly' used twice more emphasis) It actually means three hour siesta.

[any food item] burst -- a marketing term that somehow appeals to Indians and not Americans (shall we order for the Cheese Burst Pizza?---NO THANK YOU!)

Do one thing...--Do every thing on the long list I'm about to give you

Do one thing only...--It's going to be a reeeeaaally long list.

Pass out -- graduate (from school)

Geezer -- Water heater (actually spelled /geyser/)

Jeans jacket, love locket, comb in back pocket, and goggles on eye socket -- A douche.

I thankfully acknowledge the help from various sources.

Best wishes,


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