July 15: Students are often rebuked for using what is known as ‘Indian English’ words. Perhaps these teachers need to know that many Indian words have actually become a part of an Oxford Dictionary.
The Asian Age newspaper reported that the Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary of Correct English has a section on Indian English. The section has 2,500 words The fifth edition of the dictionary was released recently.
Words like bandicoot, bungalow, jungle, chit, cushy, juggernaut are commonly known. But, there are others that most of us wouldn’t know had an Indian origin.
For instance, pariah, punch, shampoo, or the expression “give a damn”. The word “damn” originally came from “dam” which was 1/40th part of a rupee – an amount that was too small.
There are words of British origin which are not used in Britain anymore but are quite common in India. Like bogie (railway carriage), carry (to be pregnant), stepney (spare tyre), dickey (a car’s boot).
Then, there are words whose meanings in Britain are entirely different from what they mean in India.
To abstain in Britain means staying away from voting. In India, it could be from anything. In Britain, you can only have a backbencher in parliament, in India, it is in the classroom. In Britain, backside is used only for humans, in India, even a building can have a backside. In India, shoes bite, in Britian they pinch. In Britain, current means recent, but in India, the word is also used for electric supply. In Britain, deadly means lethal, in India, it could also mean very attractive!