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December 10th, 2019

The delights of Indian English

I think I’ve told you before how much I love Indian English.

It is in a league of its own, an intoxicating mix of often old-fashioned, stylised English + quirky Indianisms + bits and bobs of foreign languages thrown pell-mell into the mix.

Over the years, to my secret disappointment, the English used in the Indian press has become rather monotonously good.

I yearn for the days of politicians “air dashing” to Delhi.

Which reminds me, I did actually see that expression in my morning paper about 2 or 3 weeks ago, but stupidly forgot to keep it and share it with you, but it certainly made my morning.

Today, although sadly no-one airdashes anywhere, we did have this little mixed up gem:

I may be wrong, but “in a jiffy” strikes me as rather quaint and old school. Do people back in the ol’ home country still use it?

And the delightfully not-at-all-French “au naturale” is just that – not French, but sounds foreign enough, so let’s use it.

Love it.

And you know what? The headline is completely understandable!

7 comments to The delights of Indian English

  • This is a true story, told to me by my brother.
    He was on a plane and just before it landed in Delhi, the air-hostess announced that the airline was collecting funds for “Armed Forces Vegetarians”. For a minute my brother was non-plussed, but he realised quite quickly that what she meant was “Veterans”!

  • Liz

    In a jiffy – ah yes, definitely old school.

    The one I notice you use that has completely gone from UK English is ‘youngsters’. It’s been replaced by “youth” as a collective noun, which for me has connotations of street gangs and an unspoken masculine gender.

  • christine

    Yes, “youth” does have a slightly menacing connotation, you’re absolutely right. And interesting about “youngsters”!

  • christine

    Sweet! But you never know, Brinda, it may well have been for vegetarian veterans…

  • What about “eve-teasers” for downright molesters!!!

  • You never know, given the present climate!

  • christine

    I HATE that word. Makes it sound a bit of harmless fun. Who on earth ever coined it?!

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