Indian English is my favourite variety of English. Eclectic, manifold, ridden with errors if observed from the point of view of “real” Englishes, passionately old-fashioned, full of exotic Indian influences on its grammar and vocabulary, English used in India and by Indians abroad is simply music to my eyes and ears.
English is one of the official languages in India and is spoken by approximately 100 million people. Speakers of non-standard deviations from British or nowadays also American English are often ridiculed, but some authors (like Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth etc.) have given some of their Indian English (InE) speaking characters a very powerful presence in their works. According to Amrit Dhillon, the growing economic prosperity of India has changed the puritan attitude towards the more idiosyncratic uses of English, which are now experiencing some real acceptance in India.
I would like to present some of the main characteristics of Indian English in a series of posts, with a little help of Wikipedia. I did write a seminar paper on the topic a few years ago, but I cannot find its digitalised version and wouldn’t like to type my own old words once again.
Let me start with:
Speakers of InE may use Hindi and other native expressions like bhai (brother), bhaiyya (elder brother) and yaar (friend, buddy, dude, mate) in the same way speakers of American English (AmE) will casually address a person as man or dude.
Arey! (also: arre, arrai) and accha! are the most common interjections to express emotional content.
They even have their own form of OK, which is T-K and comes from the Hindi phrase theek hai, meaning something like alright then.
Another important exclamation is Wah! and is used to express admiration in some contexts.
a) Long time no see, bhai.
b) Accha, means what?!
c) T-K, see you later.
Next time, we will have a closer look at American and British English influences.