It’s a 6.5 minute read.
Are You A Foreigner?
If you are a foreigner and if you happen to visit India and your stay is likely to be more than 2 weeks, it is better that you know and understand what I am going to tell now.
“Welcom Turist. We Spik Inglish.”
India Is Said To Be The Second Largest English Speaking Country In The World
There are more users of English in India than in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand & South Africa combined!
You will be surprised to know that there are 22 official languages spoken in India. Most of the Indians can speak more than 3 to 4 languages apart from English.
Another interesting fact is that English is the official language of the Government.
Strangely, English is the only language through which people from different parts of this vast country are able to communicate and understand each other. In other words, the English language bonds people; thus English has an unique role in India!
On A Lighter Note, India Is A Country Divided By Local Languages And United By A Foreign Language
English-speaking people from other countries will be surprised to learn that Indian English is expressed in a different (funny) way.
What Is The Problem My Friend?
People tend to use English just to show off that they belong to the modern version of their parents. The psychology is that those who speak English are superior to rest of citizens who can’t speak English.
Another problem is that Indians first think in their mother tongue about what they are supposed to tell and then translate into English.
Changing the code quickly between Hindi & English during conversations results in what is known as, ‘Hinglish’.
This brought out a peculiar Indianism.
The Oxford Dictionary of English has more than 900 items addressed as ‘distinctive to Indian English’ and more & more items are getting added periodically.
There are innumerable examples and I can mention a few; which I remembered because they are too common.
What are you waiting for? Take a look.
1. No By Two… Or One By Two
It’s a funny phrase typically used in India. No other country in the world uses this phrase to my knowledge.
This phrase is typically heard at tea/coffee/soup/juice shops. What does this phrase convey?
One By Two:
A person telling the shop owner, “Give us ‘one by two’ coffee.”
Here the item (cup of coffee) is divided into two roughly equal portions for sharing and invariably the shop owner has to provide an extra cup without charging.
Now the two friends can share the cup of coffee equally between themselves and paying only for one cup.
No By Two:
Here the shop owner (by displaying a notice as shown in the photo above) makes it clear that the sharing of one cup of coffee/juice is not allowed; neither he is willing to give an extra empty cup or glass.
2. Confusion Galore Between Meaning & Spelling
A never-ending search for the WAREHOUSE…
3. What Is Your Good Name?
“Majority of people prefer a good name to a bad name, but to me, anyone can call me anything, as long as it is not written on my face.”
As if there are some bad-named creatures and one wishes to know the hidden evil names…
It simply means what is your name?
Don’t you know that parents give a lovely name to their children all the time?
It’s literal translation of Hindi saying “Aapka shubh naam.”
4. Out Of Station
“My friend, to be on the safe side, I am informing you in advance regarding my inability to attend your function since I am out of station.”
As if the person is waiting outside the railway station indefinitely and is sort of holding a secret.
Why can’t you simply say “I am not here” or “I am in so and so city”?
5. Slowly Slowly
A Husband is talking to his wife about their one year old child… “Slowly slowly he will start talking & walking,” or “I slowly slowly adopted the environment in the factory.”
Just say ‘slowly’ once; that is enough.
6. Passing Out Of The College
“I passed out of my college,” meaning I completed graduation.
In the UK, USA, Australia or New Zeland ‘Graduation’ or ‘Convocation’ is used. One graduates from the college and not passes out.
‘Passed out’ is used if somebody drank alcohol heavily and is unconscious.
7. Don’t Eat My Brains
This one is used when somebody is under stress and is used during times of irritation; just yelling to the other person ‘Stop bugging me!’
It’s common for people to refer death this way.
Example – “My dad expired.”
The term ‘expired’ is used for products that come with expiry dates.
Instead one can say ” My dad passed away.”
9. Using ‘No’ in a question
Commonly, every question is followed by the word, ‘No’.
“You are going to Delhi no?” or “Are you going to bed no?”
It should be, “You are going to Delhi, aren’t you?”
10. Mother Promise/God Promise
It’s common to hear these sentences… When somebody says…. “Mother promise I didn’t do it” or ‘God promise I did it”… it simply means you don’t have any choice but to believe that person.
One is aware of Mother’s promise or God’s promise but not Mother promise or God Promise.
The word ‘promise’ is mentioned in Oxford Dictionary but not ‘mother promise’/’God Promise.’
‘Mother promise’ is literally the English translation of the Hindi sentence, ‘Ma Kasam.’
It also means, “A commitment of the utmost seriousness. Be warned that you are making a promise that puts your own mother’s health and/or very life at risk. Do not use lightly.” Source -samosapedia.com
Simply, one can use the word ‘Promise’ and that’s it. There is no need to drag your mother or God into the discussions.
11. Would Be
Fiance is introduced to others as ‘My would be’ which is totally confusing.
Instead one can say, “My fiance.”
12. Prepone & Revert Back
Prepone – Bringing the assigned program forward by a day or two. Simply, you can say “Please advance the schedule.”
Revert back – Example: “I will revert back to you shortly.” The correct way is “I will revert to you shortly.”
Again, this term not found in dictionary.
It is an expression used to kill the time. You can think of it as, “I am passing the time.”
It’s commonly used during conversations.
“My head is paining,” or “My body is paining;” which replaces the word, “Hurting.”
15. It’s Raining Outside
It makes you wonder, “Does it ever rain inside the house?”
My friend, it is not so, it means, “It’s raining cats & dogs.”
Being Indians, we are proud of our English.
Now it is time to be ready for the Laugh riot… Check these two links:
About the guest author:
Dr. Sridhar is the man behind Philosophy Through Photography.
This deep thinker from India wears many hats; he is a physician, a blogger, a philosopher and an amateur photographer.