Indian English

Corey writes:

One of the amusing things we've found in our placement is the English phrases that are used here. Since English is usually not someone's first language here, many of these phrases come out of translating from the local language into English. For example, in Hindi (and Oriya) there is no difference between "one" and "a". So we get things like "There is one shop around the corner." That sentence also highlights something else: no contractions. We've pretty much stopped using contractions when speaking with our Indian friends. This brings up another interesting issue: The English that Gina and I speak with our Indian friends is not the English that we speak with each other. We've simplified our spoken English across the board, and then we simplify it even farther with people who don't speak English very well. I do this without even noticing it now. I do this partially because I want to meet the other person in the middle, by speaking at a level they are comfortable with. I also try to keep in mind that English is the second or third or fourth language this person knows. I only know 1.5 (some Spanish). So even though we get a laugh from some of the Indian English phrases we hear, we also know that their English is still better than our Oriya.

Indian English Phrases We Hear A Lot (more at Wikipedia)

  • Veg & Non-Veg: Vegetarianism is built right in to the language.
  • SMS: We used to call this a text message. But Indians seem to love their acronyms.
  • Non-Veg SMS: PG-13 or R rated SMS.
  • Sir & Madame: Our boss is "sir" to everyone in the office. Even if he's not around. People say "I'll give this to sir". Some people call everyone older than them "sir or madame".
  • Uncle & Aunty: If you are a kid, all the men that you know that aren't your Dad are "Uncle" and all the women you know that aren't your Mom are "Aunty".
  • Shift vs. move: You don't move to a new house, you shift to a new house.
  • Out of station: When people leave the office, they are "out of station." It's like we're in the fricking military.
  • Too vs. very: As in "This ice cream is too good, the winter is too cold."
  • At-the-rate-of: Here people pronounce my e-mail address as "corey at-the-rate-of coreygrone dot com".
  • Reduce your fatness: No one loses weight here, they just reduce their fatness. "Reduce" for short.
  • Eve-teased: I've never heard someone say this but Gina has. Also, it's in the SOVA HR policy. Eve-teasing is sexual harassment. But this way you don't have to say "S-E-X". Also, it's not possible for men to be sexually harassed in India apparently.
  • Double 9 Tripe 8: People use double and triple when they say numbers, especially phone numbers.
  • Off the light: Off and on are verbs here.