“In-glish” and Indianisms

Babu speaks very good English, however there are a few quirks that I have come across since we met, and I choose to call these “In-glish” – Indian English. I’m talking about those words or phrases that are technically English, but not commonly used by English people.

I will admit now that the more I talk to Babu i even find myself talking In-glish, without thinking about it I will find myself constructing sentences differently – what my mean to say is I am talking a little more Indian isn’t it 🙂

I talk about my first encounter with In-glish in my post about brinjals, but I thought it would be fun to share a few more of them here, these always make me smile…

“paining” I love this word, it’s a way of saying something hurts eg. “my back is paining” Babu said it to me not long after we met, I think it was a hint at asking for a back rub, but what I like about it is it has an almost child-like innocence to it, I almost picture a little boy with a grazed knee who is too brave to cry telling his mum his knee is paining, and it has a much nicer ring to it than “hurts”.

“offs” Days off, when Babu first told me he had an off, I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant – was he having an off day (a bad day) – no, he was fine, it just meant he had a day off work!

“what my mean to say is…” As used earlier in my post, just another way of reiterating or clarifying what you have said, I just love how where I would usually say “I” it has become “my”

“non-veg” This one confused me somewhat, I suppose it just does what it says on the tin really, but in my mind its like you have to do a bit of word-maths to figure out what we are saying. When Babu told me he wasn’t eating any non-veg for a few weeks – that was even more word maths for me with a double negative – I eventually realised all he was saying is he wasn’t eating meat!

“sleeping” no, not as in being asleep, but laying down! So when I called Babu and he said he was “sleeping” I apologised for waking him, “no, no, I am just slepeing on my bed” right – having a rest, laying down!

“Timepass” Does what it says on the box really- passing time, doing stuff, or not doing anything!

Those were only a few I could think of off of the top of my head, please add more in the comments below if you can think if some . . .


7 responses to ““In-glish” and Indianisms

  • the inquisitive

    I have just published an article on the same topic and was looking for similar ones when I came across yours. The following are two of the examples that I have mentioned in mine.
    One of the “Indianisms” in English that strikes me first is that many people (not all) think “postpone” is spelled “postpond”. I once got a message from my friend “The class has been preponded”! 🙂
    Also, you missed the one of the most noticeable things about Indian English- the tendency to add “no?” as a question tag. E.g. “It’s 10 o’clock, no?” instead of “It’s 10 o’clock, isn’t it?”
    Language is one of my favourite topics. 🙂

    • ria

      Postpond – you know what, I have seen that! But honestly thought it was a typo as it was on a text message, I’ll look out for that one!

      Something that we had a little giggle about last night was some of Babu’s pronunciations because of his accent- namely the word sheet – he really needs to be careful how he says that one – he didn’t notice it until I pointed it out either! Although when I eventually get around to learning Hindi and Oriya (ambitious I know) I’m sure there will be an awful lot of things I will accidentally be saying 🙂

  • Helen

    Haha I love this. I find Indian people say ‘thrice’ a lot, which is correct English but we never seem to use it in the West! I find it funny how they’ll say, “That is 10rs only” instead of “That is only 10rs”. And the amount of times that the word “tension” gets used always makes me laugh. “Don’t cause tension, yaar”

    • ria

      Yaaa! And the word Ya! Which in the past for me has been reserved solely for use when taking the mickey out of those people who think they are a bit posh, you know the type who prance around John Lewis like they’re something special – in fact I encountered one today – I’m allowed to say that cos I shop there too – but I promise I’m not one, anyway, I digress, I now no longer say yeah, yes, or whatever, now it is ya! Bloody babu, he’s got me looking a bit of a toff – need to stop that quick smart or people will begin to think that I a one of those toffee as well!

  • ria

    Oh and another I just remembered – using the word off where I would usually use the word up, for example “will you pick me off from the port?” makes me giggle because in my head you pick off nail varnish, or a piece of wax on the table, or a scab (eww), but you don’t pick off a person, you pick them up!

    R x

  • martin

    Quirks of In-glish… 🙂 got to admit i love your blog.

  • K

    Also: “yaaa no” – complete agreement
    and “no yaa” – whiny no

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