These Linguistic Borrowings

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-Apoorv Rajawat

The universal language English has an interesting story of incorporating words from other languages. These words have entered the oxford dictionary through multiple routes – occasionally ending up with different meanings, spellings and pronunciation. Many of these borrowings, dating back to colonial period are often labelled as “Anglo-Indian”. As language is something which evolves continuously, Hindustani language has made a huge contribution in enriching the English language with many words such as ‘Angrez’ (English person),the demotic style hindi word like ‘Badmash’(naughty boy).
Accepting the words into the dictionary, also helps British viewers understand what is being said when actors in Anglo-Indian movies use Hindi phrases.

Oxford dictionary has around 240 words – right from Indian attire ‘Churidaar’ to its delicacies like ‘keema’, ‘Bhelpuri’ and ‘Papad’.
Let’s take a look at the benefaction by Hindi in spicing up the English with the sprinkling of words.

1. ‘PUKKA’: The word comes from the Hindi word “pakka” of late 17th century meaning something which is Genuine, Excellent and of or appropriate to high or respectable society in English.
Every time an English woman at a party says ‘hey, man your shirt’s ‘pukka’. She is speaking Hindi.

2. ‘CUSHY’: Meaning undemanding, comfortable or easy or secure in English, the word cushy stems from ‘khushi’ , the Hindi term of ‘pleasure’.

3. ‘Juggernaut’: The word arrived in English in 19th century and derives from the word ‘jagannath’ , Meaning an unstoppable force or movement that sweeps aside or destroys anything in its path.

4.’ Chudidar’: This is a tight-fitting trouser both, men and women wear. It was predominantly worn by the People in North India but the comfort and aesthetic appeal of the Chudidar won a pan-India appeal.

5. Ganja: The origin of this word goes back to early 19th century. A Hindi word for cannabis used as often to mean weed or marijuana.

6. ‘Yaar’ : A friendly form of address. Imagine a student of London School Of Business saying ‘chuck me a cigarette, yaar’.

7. ‘Aiyoh’: This is a word that most of us are guilty of using, and perhaps over-using! Even though it is not a new word, it made waves this year for making it to the Oxford English Dictionary. The Bible of ‘correct English’ for most, the Oxford Dictionary is widely accepted as the authority on proper English.

Like many Indian words, ‘aiyoh’ is loaded and can mean many things, depending on use and tone- irritation, disgust, dismay, pain, surprise, lament and so on.

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