Indian English 2

Gina writes:

More than a year ago, we collected Indian English phrases that were common in Koraput and blogged about them. Since, there have been quite a few other turns of phrase that we can add to the list.

Our friends that visited us in March said that they noticed slight changes in our patterns of speech--that we spoke more slowly and with fewer words. It's true, plus we have adopted the use of some of these phrases/words even when speaking just with each other. So if you're confused by our language once we return to the U.S., just refer to this blog entry!

  1. "I didn't get you" - You say this when you didn't understand someone's language. I like this one, because it's clear that the person talking doesn't need to speak louder, but just repeat themselves, probably enunciating more or using different words.
  2. "Googly" - I have no idea where this came from, but Google is often pronounced Googly and Skype is often pronounced Skypee. You try keeping a straight face when your boss says to "check it on Googly"!
  3. "Cyber-caf" - Pronounced cyber-calf, the alternative to internet cafe.
  4. "Side" - I've fully adopted this one, it's how to say "please move so that I can get past you" with the fewest words possible. Less confusing than "excuse me" also.
  5. "Like anything" - Appending this to the end of a statement expresses intensity, such as "These people will cheat you like anything."
  6. "Tiffin" simultaneously means the container that you carry your meal in, breakfast, and snack.
  7. "Time-pass" is when you do something for leisure but with no particular goal, like chatting with friends. So if I'm talking with friends or reading a magazine and someone asks me what I'm doing, I just say "time pass".
  8. "Rubber" - This is a new addition to my list. Just today, a co-worker asked if I had a rubber. It took me a startled second to realize that he must mean an eraser and not that other thing!
  9. "Maximum" is used in many cases, such as "The maximum best place to visit..", "..maximum quality beer..", and "..maximum people do this..".
  10. "Do one thing" is a common way to start giving advice and it's hardly ever followed by just one thing! For instance, if I were having computer problems, an Indian might say: “Do one thing. Clear your history. Delete your cookies. Defrag your hardrive. Run a virus check. Restart your computer.”
  11. "Peon" - This one is hard for me to say without thinking of the derogatory usage that we ascribe to the word in America, but in India, it just means the lowest-level worker, like a gardener or cleaning lady.
  12. "Prepone" is the opposite of postpone, duh! Except it's hardly ever used in my experience, because meetings never happen early!
These are the Indian phrases that have come to mind (or that I've jotted down over the past year). I'll make the point in closing that this list is not meant to insult Indians, but just to highlight a charming aspect of my time here.