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Indian English Class (aka Doing The Needful)

Indian English Class (aka Doing The Needful)

September 17, 2010

This article would help you with understanding of English language itself, so your studies can get over.



From a foreigner's perspective, Indian English is a constant fascination for two chief reasons: it irks and delights in equal measure (usually depending on your mood), and you pretty quickly start speaking it yourself. I experienced this phenomenon in Japan as well, my previously proudly upheld language disintegrating into cheap affirmations and exclamation marks. (Life was disappointing!) Here in Kerala, numerous phrases and intonations have entered my everyday speech that never cross the barrier into my thoughts. I notice them all the time as I drink tea with friends, chat with a neighbour or – this one especially – speak on the phone. It often feels like I'm interrupting myself in a different voice, but without dividing your personality that little bit, communication is considerably more difficult.

I'm getting to be a proud speaker of Indian English. My colleagues tease me that I'm more Malayali than they are as I cultivate a 'benana and pissa' accent right below a bushy moustache. In spite of this, many language habits of the land seem peculiar. Here are few that I remain intrigued by...

  • do the needful at the earliest – Anyone who deals with Indian businesspeople or outsourcing will be familiar with this one. According to Wikipedia, it's a remnant of early-to-mid-20th Century British English that has died out in the native speakers but lives on in this and a couple of other colonies. Search for it in Google, with quotes, and the first few results are humorous Western perspectives of the phrase, but then you have another 260,000 results of people actually posting that phrase on the internet. Add 'kindly' in front and the field narrows to a paltry 103,000. I can only hope that in each case, the needful was indeed done. At the earliest. (Earliest what?)

  • reach office by 9 only – all kinds of shenanigans going on here...

    • The two chief uses of 'reach' in India are to say 'arrive at a destination' (e.g. reach office) or 'place into the hands or custody of' (e.g. 'Help Indian Railways Reach You Safely'), both pretty archaic in the West.

    • Where 'the earliest' above always comes with the definite article 'the', 'office' seems in desperate need of it. Omitting 'the' in newspaper-headline style is a relatively common practice for which I haven't yet grasped the reason, but in this case, 'office' is an activity and a direct replacement for 'work'.

    • Westerners tend to use 'by' as a synonym for 'before', but here it seems to take the place of the far more precise 'at', or very occasionally 'around'. I realised this when, in my early days at Technopark, a colleague said “I usually take lunch by 1:30”... and then, like a metronome, would get up from his desk at precisely 1:30 every single day.

    • Then there's 'only', which, along with 'itself', seems to be added for emphasis. To every spoken sentence only, in Kerala itself.

  • I would contact you by email next week. – as a conditional modal verb, 'would' generally requires an accompanying clause starting with 'if', or some other explanation of the conditions required. Hence, in a case such as this I would normally wonder what wasn't being said. Here, however, 'would' means the same as 'will'... but no amount of searching can dig up an answer as to why. My romantic take is that somebody saw The Man Who Would Be King and, upon learning that Sean Connery does indeed become king, believed that 'would' signified certainty and went forth to spread the news.

  • get over – move on from the worst of, or deal with successfully, as in “I just can't get over her” or the always relevant “Get over it!” Right? Wrong, think again! In India 'to get over' means 'to finish', or perhaps 'to run out'. I remember reading this for the first time in a popular Indian weekly, which was reporting on the distribution of aid packages to Kashmir: 'As the second of the three trucks gets over, it's clear that there is not enough for everyone present.' Come on now, the only thing a truck can get over is a hill. There are surprisingly few examples online, but 'When this economic recession will get over?' is timely.

DISCLAIMER: I have made sure not to say that any of these examples are incorrect, because I understand that a language can evolve over time and that Indian English is effectively its own dialect, with different rules and practices from the English of England – just like American English. I find things funny and strange about American English too, but I live in India and this is an NRI website, so here we are.

Feel free to add your own in the comments, or flame me for my effrontery.


62 Comments

  • User
    By
    User
    18.10.12 04:56 PM
    I did like this very much,
    'I just can’t get over her'. Maybe, she has other plans...
  • MahaLingam
    By
    MahaLingam
    19.05.12 04:14 AM
    The fresh Indian recruits in Dallas use the following unusual words and phrases:
    1) Updation - act of updating
    2) Upgradation - act of upgrading
    3) Raise a problem ticket - Open a problem ticket
    4) One little thing/one more small small thing
    5) I have a doubt/query - I have a question
    6) what is your handle - what is your nickname (such as Bob for Robert)
  • Dave
    By
    Dave
    26.01.12 02:40 AM
    The most awesome of Indianisms.

    Prepone.

    Naturally it is the opposite of postpone. A wonderful word that provides perfect balance. Could be used in the U.S. except Americans never do anything earlier than planned.
  • satheesh kumar
    By
    satheesh kumar
    31.10.11 10:11 PM
    just a few points about mallu english

    1. To stress the a word (usually not the verb) 'itself' is used. 'only' is something I ve observed with tamilians kannadigas and hindiwalas. Both are wrong.

    2. Long vowelst are 'too long' vowels in mallu english. Also, consonants are little soft. College becomes 'cohleyj', police becomes 'pohlees'.

    3.In fact mallu english is phonetically richer than other Indian english accents thanks to the phonetic richness of malayalam. And more neutral too.

    4. The mallu english is less rhotic than rest of indian is RRRhotic. I ve heard few non mallu Indians sayind 'muhrrning' for morning 'tahrnar' for turner etc where the r is almost silent.

    5. Z is sometimes pronounced as S and W as V, but not always.

    6. Tag questions are replaced with 'eh?' or 'haw?'. I think thats done in Canada and US as well.

    7. 'Would' is always replaced with 'will'.

    8. 'Might' ( not 'might have') is always replaced with 'may'.

    9. 'Could' ( not 'could have') is always replaced with 'can'.

    10.'ing' forms are used instead of simple present to describe current scenario. "I am working as a teacher" than "I work as a teacher". Its not used for universal truths. "Sun rises at east" is used in mallu english as in many other englishes.

    11. Words like 'cousin brother' ,'prepone','actress' etc which are unique to Indian english are used in mallu english too. But these words are very useful and must be included in dictionary

    12. Mallus always say like "I am ayyappan" like the original english. 'Myself ayyappan' is seen in hindiwala's english. Its a direct translation of "apne aap ayyappan".

    13. 'good name' is again a hinglish usage. If a mallu asks 'good name' to a hindiwala, he must be moking at you.

    14. Mallus might not use the s form of verb. They'd say "he work here" and not 'works here'

    15. "I didnt killed" is heard sometimes.

    16. Phrase order (not word order) is reversed sometines. Its accompanied by the shift to 'ing' form. "i work here to make money" becomes "for making money, I am working here"
  • Rajashree
    By
    Rajashree
    13.10.11 10:51 PM
    i agree..........i, too, find d use of 'only' irritating!! Frankly, m too lazy to comment on n e post, blog, or even n e video, but ur post is so good, i cnt help bt appreciate!!!

    this post reminds me of my school days wn my frnds used 2 ask d teacher 2 draw d curtains citing d reason as 'sun is coming on my face'!!! :D
  • Ayyappan Pillai
    By
    Ayyappan Pillai
    13.10.11 11:22 AM
    You missed all the Malayali students who go to 'Coledge'..!!

    And the ubiquitious "Basically, I am a Software Engineer.. blah, blah.." (Basically will win all the popularity contests here!)

    "This one is more better"

    "Slowly slowly we moved upstairs" :D :D

    "We are like this only.. "

    "Myself, Ayyappan.."

    "Please repeat it again".. and an equally notorious "If suppose"

    Your post had me in splits.. I might write one now.. excellent post.. and not at all demeaning.

    Most of these expressions are literal translations of Indian phrases.. like the 'Good name' is lifted from Hindi. As you said, it is more of a dialect now..
  • Sudarshan
    By
    Sudarshan
    13.10.11 08:11 AM
    'Get over' is literal translation of 'Khatam ho jana' (Hindi). And I guess other Indian languages also have similar phrases. But 'do the needful' and 'revert back' always makes me feel like hitting the person who wrote it. Also there is usage of the word 'same'that irks me. You have any idea of the same?
  • Aman
    By
    Aman
    04.10.11 11:51 AM
    *corrigendum: Realised with your post that revert was never supposed to be used like that - EVER! :D

    To spin some more: Till yesterday night I was having some mails where I myself was writing - "Please revert by eod [end of day]."
    And I thought that (Please revert bit only :D) was correct!
  • Aman
    By
    Aman
    04.10.11 11:48 AM
    I wonder if you've covered:

    1. Asking a question is as simble as adding a question mark at the end -
    for e.g. [sic] (can never get over the fact that this means "for for example" - a wonderful tautology - but that's not the example here) - Why you are doing this? Nothing you're understanding? How it is going?

    It's endless! Which brings me to:

    2. Use of present continuous every-damn-where - for instance: please refer the above egg-jamples (dunno if Malayalis use that pronunciation, but we North Indian fellows certainly do.)

    3. "I'm explaining him" (always kills me)

    4. Not just the incorrect *meaning* of 'revert', but the *usage*!
    e.g. Please revert back to me by tomorrow. (Translated to English, that should be 'please reply back to me by tomorrow' - reply in triplicate!!) What's more, till reading your post, I had no clue that revert is not used for reply anymore.

    And many more, of course, which I'd like to propound on too, but am too lazy to write.
    Always nice to see white fellow writing about Indian-ness :) (No offence.)
  • Cileungsi
    By
    Cileungsi
    30.09.11 08:01 PM
    I have been working in Indian company for 3 weeks. The biggest problem is I can not understand what they said.

    So please tell me how to improve my listening skill to this Indian accent?
  • Sean Donnelley
    By
    Sean Donnelley
    21.07.11 10:47 PM
    I am an American that started working for an Indian company 6 months ago. 'Kindly do the needful' is one of many new phrases I am experiencing for the 1st time, along with:
    - providing my 'leave plan' (vacation)
    - obtaining resumes with objectives like 'joining an environment where ethics and talent rein supreme'
    - job experience descriptions such as 'I've been blessed with skills in Software Quality Assurance'
  • The NRI
    By
    The NRI
    31.03.11 11:36 PM
    @Walter - thank you for the shameless plug. No doubt the author will revert at the earliest:)
  • Walter
    By
    Walter
    31.03.11 11:20 PM
    Shameless plug, but if you WOULD like to show your Needful spirit, you can get one of these fine items
    www.cafepress.com/DoTheNeedfulAndRevert
  • Prasad
    By
    Prasad
    17.03.11 03:13 PM
    I was searching 4 "do needful at your earliest " and this is wat i "found out". LOL. Good one
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    05.02.11 09:55 AM
    Raju, thank you for reminding me of the wonderful use of 'simbly' - it's become part of my lexicon. I didn't know KRAE though, that's too good! I will utilise at the earliest!
  • Raju Varghese
    By
    Raju Varghese
    04.02.11 11:30 PM
    Though there haven't been any comments for a while let me add my contribution. Since you are in Kerala I am surprised that you missed the word 'Simbly' as in "This sambar is simbly good". Or, as an answer to "What are you up to?" one could say "Simbly". This comes from the corresponding Malayalam word.

    A word that I had not noticed until email became popular is "revert" to mean reply. Eg "Kindly expect a delay in my revert to your message". Or KRAE in SMS messages: Kindly revert at earliest.
  • nalini hebbar
    By
    nalini hebbar
    18.11.10 06:24 AM
    It should be ‘will’ but ‘would’ here is used instead to refer in present to an act in the future. Why?...because the tense just HAS to be changed! LOL. Good reason only, no? I would contact you by email next week but I have never seen a computer in my life!
    'Files got over' may be a direct translation of 'Kazhinju poyee' in Malayalam...'over/finished and gone or got over'...in Telugu...aaee poindi...again the same...got over!

    The funniest I have ever heard...'One one time she says it's OK, one one time she says NO!'...In Telugu it is 'Okka okka saari' meaning 'Sometimes'.
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    17.11.10 10:21 PM
    'Would' is the past tense of 'will'... can't get my head around that one. Would you give me an example?

    'Get over it', yes exactly, but 'get over' is used in a totally different context here! For example, my job involves the completion of files within a specific timeframe; if there are no files remaining, someone will say 'the files already got over'.

    Anyway, Nalini, you are too kind!
  • nalini hebbar
    By
    nalini hebbar
    17.11.10 09:30 AM
    @ Ronald The 'good name' and 'pet name' must have started when the East India Company set up shop in Bengal...Bengalees have a good name that is never ever mentioned at home...they have very unique pet names like Gogo, Motka, Bhombol, Thobla, Tia, Tuktuki, Mishti, Khuku and even out of this world unpronounceable 'good names'
  • nalini hebbar
    By
    nalini hebbar
    17.11.10 09:21 AM
    'Would' is used here as the past tense of 'will'...funny, but for people who haven't heard much of English other than the Inglish spooned out to them by their Inglish teachers, this is a very common mistake.
    BUT...
    'Get over it' is perfectly chalta hai!...it also means 'to get across' 'to prevail against; overcome' 'to recover from: finally got over a crisis'
    Other words commonly confused are 'so' and 'too'...as in 'This pretty flower is too beautiful!'
    Enjoyed this post 'too' much...it's MASTH!
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    21.10.10 06:36 PM
    Barnaby, you forgot "since yore"

    42 comments now:)
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    21.10.10 06:11 PM
    Thanks a lot, Amit! It's always encouraging to get positive feedback.

    Wow, so you've had training in three different varieties in English... they must get hopelessly muddled from time to time. Hang on to those Indian English idiosyncrasies, I say - I personally am finding them more and more charming.

    I thought of another one which hasn't yet been mentioned - 'till date' for 'so far' or the slightly less common 'to date'. As in:

    There have been 41 comments on this ridiculous post till date.
  • Amit K
    By
    Amit K
    21.10.10 04:16 PM
    Hey Mate,

    Your posts are really amazing. And this one is so true and funny as well. I have worked in different BPOs working for American and British companies. So my English is a nice Mocktail of Indian, American and British English. I did confuse my client in US and UK with the "do the needful', "same" and "revert ASAP".... may be forced them to scratch their head... LOL
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    14.10.10 11:55 PM
    Just thought I'd leave a note here linking to the SEQUEL - Indian English 2 (This Is What I Am Telling). Enjoy!

    http://www.the-nri.com/index.php/2010/10/hinglish-combination-of-english-and-hindi-language/
  • Daisy
    By
    Daisy
    10.10.10 06:32 AM
    Barnaby,
    Thanks and yes, you are right, has got is incorrect. But has gotten is equally incorrect, isn't it?

    Well your post is too good! 8)
  • Ashish Seth
    By
    Ashish Seth
    10.10.10 12:19 AM
    Hey Barnaby;

    I just wanted to say your hook "This article would help you with understanding of English language itself, so your studies can get over," is priceless. As a fellow writer, every time I read it, I get goosebumps... So good!

    Ashish
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    09.10.10 09:59 PM
    Mathew, that Indian use of 'momentarily' is absolutely correct - though the other use, 'in a moment', has taken on popular usage.

    Daisy, thanks for the info! As for 'has got', as a rule it is incorrect... though of course there are exceptions. And there's always the fact that it is commonly used, like so many other examples of incorrect grammar!
  • Daisy
    By
    Daisy
    09.10.10 11:52 AM
    Co-brother - that comes from the Indian kinship system common in many parts of India, for which English-speaking world doesn't have an equivalence.

    Two men married to two sisters are actually perceived as brothers and two women married to two brothers are perceived as sisters, even if they are not related by blood.

    A comparable usage from the north is "cousin sister" or "cousin brother," instead of just "cousin."

    That's because cousins in the north are at par with one's brothers and sisters and it's kind of offensive to call them just cousins.
  • Daisy
    By
    Daisy
    09.10.10 11:32 AM
    Barnaby,
    I enjoyed your post.

    One example no one has talked about so far - "Too good!" I was told by a Canadian it's used only in India.

    The Westerners' English can also sound intriguing to Indians - the thief has gotten away, or the thief has got away?
  • Mathew Mathew
    By
    Mathew Mathew
    24.09.10 11:42 PM
    You have been having fun at Indian English. Then you should have some more at phrases used here in the US. Just two examples will show you why:

    Airline announcement: "We will be landing momentarily" (We will be landing in a moment or soon). For most Indians this would mean "We will be landing for a short time!"

    A traffic sign: "No standing" (No parking).
  • Ronald Morais
    By
    Ronald Morais
    24.09.10 09:28 PM
    The Golden Rule Of The Needful: "Do the needful unto others as you would have them do the needful unto you...."
  • Debojit Pal
    By
    Debojit Pal
    23.09.10 10:49 AM
    Awesome post guys :D Cant stop laughing!!
    A couple of very common misusages in the southern parts of India:

    "I'll be visiting my native this weekend". Full marks to you if u can understand the meaning of that one! :D Means "I'll be going to my home town for the weekend".

    "Where are you put up?" This one's a killer. The first time i came to South India, it took me a couple of days to find out what this means. :D Actually this is a substitute for "Where do you live?"
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    23.09.10 12:33 AM
    Ronnie bro, haha, but you had another great one with 'do the needful' - post it!

    'Revert' never caught on with me either. Let us not forget the meaning in Skateboarding (http://www.wikihow.com/Do-a-Revert-on-Your-Skateboard). Also, I had one friend here laugh in my face when I said 'revert back' in the sense of returning to an earlier state. True story.
  • Mathew Mathew
    By
    Mathew Mathew
    22.09.10 08:02 PM
    REVERT: a term used in business correspondence: "please revert at your earliest convenience."

    Please see the blog by Jason for more:
    http://chips.imutroom.com/2010/01/please-revert-really/
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    22.09.10 07:56 PM
    Everyone does have another name that is not so good - their "pet name". Examples: Happy, Bunty, Lucky, Bobby, Dimple, Simple, Twinkle...
  • Ronald Morais
    By
    Ronald Morais
    22.09.10 07:43 PM
    Here's another one which is uniquely Indian "what's your good name, please" like everyone has other names which are not so good!
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    22.09.10 11:53 AM
    Mathew - 'to bunk' (meaning to skip something you were supposed to be present for) is actually a pretty well-known term in the West, as far as I'm aware. I've used it. The kids these days probably use something much, much cooler, obviously.

    AussieDesi, yes yes yes, especially the use of 'take'!

    Just want to let you all know that I'm planning to include some of these in the sequel - with credit, of course!
  • AussieDesi
    By
    AussieDesi
    22.09.10 12:01 AM
    "I passed out from XX College" = "I graduated from XX College"

    "It is on your backside" = "It is behind you"

    "Have you taken your lunch?" = "Have you eaten your lunch?"

    (Last one above caused me, initially, to ask "taken it where?", which led to more conversations about possible lunching locations.)
  • sharell
    By
    sharell
    20.09.10 06:37 PM
    Oh those matrimonial ads. In Mumbai there's another popular term: "convent educated". Not sure whether the relevance is to do with speaking good English or being virginal like a nun?! :-P
  • Mathew Mathew
    By
    Mathew Mathew
    20.09.10 06:30 PM
    A typical matrimonial ad in a Malayalam weekly published in the US contains these terms: "Boy" (he is 35!), "girl" (she's 27!), "innocently divorced" (!?), "God-fearing," "family-oriented," "ancient orthodox family"... ...

    Here's one I heard often in Bombay. "I bunked class today." Familiar?
  • Maria
    By
    Maria
    20.09.10 11:05 AM
    That Kerala site is like a treasure-trove of Mallu-ness shining forth blinding us all with their typical-ness.
    And 'hurry-burry' in Kerala is as common as the 'Sharjah Shake' ;)
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    20.09.10 10:29 AM
    Haszari, cheers! A sequel is in the works. Also, thanks for flyyoufools.com, hillarrious.

    Maria! "Hurry-burry"! I heard this for the first time just recently, from my landlord. I thought it must have been a phrase unique to him! You mean to tell me I can repeat it anywhere in Kerala and not be looked upon as a 'mandan saip'? AMAZING. By the way, did you click the words 'benana and pissa' above?

    Jayanth, the various terms used to refer to members of one's family in India always leave me in a muddle. Co-brother is particularly good, like you're partners in the business of being brothers...
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    By
    Jayanth Tadinada
    20.09.10 07:58 AM
    are you aware of the concept of co-brother?

    A co-brother is the guy who is married to your wife's sister!
  • Maria
    By
    Maria
    20.09.10 06:18 AM
    OMG..right from the time 'pissa' was mentioned..i was floored..hehehe
    And my next favourite was the usage of 'only'.
    And the 'no' that someone mentioned is also a worthy addition :D
    Barnaby, you have written the article without being overly rude. Just funny and very correct :)

    Well two words I cannot stand are 'hurry-burry' and 'jee-ro'(or zero). And that too, spoken with a rather 'I am speaking correct English' expression on one's face.
  • Haszari
    By
    Haszari
    20.09.10 04:33 AM
    Exceedingly entertained by this post!
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    19.09.10 09:44 PM
    Was the absconding thief armed? The correct term would then be "dacoit".
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    19.09.10 09:40 PM
    Sharell, that last one, my head just exploded.

    As for the thief absconding, it is possible that they still be running, days later, deeper and deeper into the Maharashtran landscape - no?

    Not even gonna touch 'intimate me at the earliest'. Noooo way.

    I would at this point like to alert everyone to the brief greatness of the http://dotheneedful.ws/" rel="nofollow">Do the needful blog. My favourite post had me literally (yes, literally) doubled over with laughter:

    **
    A friend just heard “a favour” in Hinglish.

    “A small needful”
    **
  • sharell
    By
    sharell
    19.09.10 09:33 PM
    Oh, and while I'm on a roll, this one is really good:

    "I'm coming from outside". Translation: I'm going outside and I'll be back.

    Any world can take the place of outside... where ever the person is going to. Eg. "I'm coming from down": I'm going downstairs and will be back.

    Invariably when someone is actually going somewhere and coming back they'll say "I'm coming from..." before they've actually gone anywhere!!
  • sharell
    By
    sharell
    19.09.10 09:25 PM
    Oh and another one that's popular in Mumbai: felicitated. "He was felicitated at an awards ceremony". I had never heard of anyone being felicitated until I came to India! And it just doesn't sound quite right....

    Also "please intimate me at the earliest". Translation: please let me know as soon as you can!
  • sharell
    By
    sharell
    19.09.10 09:22 PM
    There's a common problem with the use of the correct tense that always appears in Mumbai newspapers and drives me mad.

    Here's the situation: a thief has taken something and has gotten away, and the police are looking for him. It's always reported as "...the thief is absconding". Actually, the thief has already absconded! ;-)
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    19.09.10 07:28 AM
    Love all your examples, I'm laughing out loud here! Keep 'em coming!

    Vivek, yeah, there's an interesting overlap there. So many fascinating connections can be made and discovered through language. Since this article was posted, my colleagues have explained to me that some of the more funny-sounding 'Indian English' phrases they use are a direct (or close to it) translation of conversational Malayalam snippets, which I had no idea was the case.
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    19.09.10 05:57 AM
    I should have added for clarification that the advertiser was attempting to convey the fact that the marriage had not been consumated!
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    19.09.10 03:38 AM
    @Matthew - nice one

    Reminds me of a matrimonial ad for a woman I read some years ago:

    Previously married but issueless divorce (non-consumption)

    What?? Her husband never ate her? I am sure there is a joke in there somewhere:)
  • Mathew Mathew
    By
    Mathew Mathew
    19.09.10 02:44 AM
    I found this site with some interesting observations on the usage of English in India:

    http://www.english-for-students.com/Indian-English-Expressions.html
  • Ujjwal Raaj Sen
    By
    Ujjwal Raaj Sen
    18.09.10 09:01 PM
    Accurate. Brilliant.and 'LOL' .
  • Vivek Dehejia
    By
    Vivek Dehejia
    18.09.10 06:02 PM
    Barnaby:

    Great post. Ironically, you have Indian English at one end of the social spectrum, and then the English spoken by the old elites, which is more prim, proper, and pretentious than the Queen herself could muster. As ever, in India, everything and its opposite is true.
  • Anand Sekhar
    By
    Anand Sekhar
    18.09.10 12:08 PM
    Excellent...

    Another couple of commonly used terms in Indian context....

    'prepone' .... eg: Tomorrow's meeting is preponed to today afternoon.

    'parallely' instead of in parallel... eg: 'I'll do this work parallely with the other.'
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    By
    Jayanth Tadinada
    17.09.10 08:46 PM
    I find it funny when people say "why because" instead of "because"... sometimes they even start a sentence with it!

    Why are you so late?
    Why because I was just doing some time-pass ;)
  • Barnaby Haszard Morris
    By
    Barnaby Haszard Morris
    17.09.10 06:48 PM
    Kumar, yes, if this article gets a good response I definitely have enough material for a few more like it!

    Joseph, even I say 'no' at the end of most of my sentences now. Oh, and "even I", that's another one to note down.

    A Singh, yes yes yes... haven't brought myself to say "time-pass" yet. Everybody, more examples please!
  • A Singh
    By
    A Singh
    17.09.10 05:46 PM
    Every now and then Indian English is much more efficient that its modern day counterpart. As a man I am used to whiling away time not doing anything in particular. When I go off for a few hours and my wife later asks me what were you doing, I respond with "just some time-pass". That saves me an elaborate 15 minute conversation!

    Another favourite is when I am doing business in India. I get to my meeting and sit across my adversary. We sit in silence for a short moment and then he says "So tell me"
  • Joseph
    By
    Joseph
    17.09.10 04:29 PM
    how could you forget "Die-vorce"?
    you forgot no? :D
    :P
    Imo, using no at the end of a sentence is the most common error!
  • Kumar Bibek
    By
    Kumar Bibek
    17.09.10 04:01 PM
    Nice one. I am sure, you *would* be adding up some more pretty soon *only*

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