Talk:Indian English

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Indian English used in Wikipedia[edit]

I often edit to cleanup new pages on subjects related to India. I often run into a series of oddities in their English:

  • Absence of short words such as "a" and "the".
  • All caps to denote importance of a name.
  • Not using capital letters in a sentence.
  • No spaces in a list.
  • Using odd tenses.

Are these from Indian English or is this simply a translation artifact?--Auric 21:11, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, this is an artifact of translation done by some professionals who aren't trained in English grammar. Indian languages have simple tenses but English speakers often use perfect tenses. Therefore Indians have some difficulty in learning English tenses. In Indian languages, prepositions are used in a different way that doesn't match the rules of English grammar and syntax. For example: Translate the Telugu sentence "Nenu padella numchi samudra teeram daggara umtunnanu" to English. The translation in standard English would be "I have been residing near the beach for ten years", but in Indian English the translation would be "I am residing near the beach since ten years". The second translation sounds odd to native English speakers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:45, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Any website that invites contributors from the public would face troubles with Indian English users. A website had invited the users to submit their stories for publication. Indian English users used redundancies like 'reply back', 'return back' etc in their stories. They even used words like "prepone" that are not found in British English and American English vocabularies. It had been a difficult task for the editors to correct the grammar used by Indian English users. It's not a wonder if Wikipedia's editors have the same trouble with Indian English users. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:10, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Even I did notice Indians using odd tenses while speaking English. Example: "I am absent yesterday". They use the same syntax for present tense and past tense. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:21, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

They use the wrong syntax even for future tense. They can even say "I will absent tomorrow". Most of the Indian English medium schools do not train their students in grammar. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:38, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

They definitely do miss out "a"s and "the"s. It drove me crazy when I was in India! For example, everywhere else, Expedia's motto is "The world's largest travel company" or something similar (I forget the exact slogan) – in Indian English it's "World's largest travel company", minus the "the". I don't know where they got it from, but it's grammatically wrong to a native English speaker. Jon C. 11:33, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes. In India, most of the English medium schools do not train their students in morphology and syntax. When I was a student, I did notice many of the students using odd or incorrect grammar. e.g. They say "My pen is gone" when they have to say "I lost my pen". If we ask their teachers about syntactical errors, they may reply that morphology and syntax are unnecessary or unwanted subjects. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:36, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Definite article (the) and indefinite articles (a and an)[edit]

There is a question "Why do Indian English speakers miss 'a's and 'the's while speaking English?". 90% of the educated Indians aren't well trained in English even in the English medium schools. None of the Indian languages contain definite article and indefinite articles. They use the grammar of their local languages while speaking English. So, they miss "a"s and "the"s. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Generally "the" or "a" is used to indicate a common noun. Example: The cow is black. Here cow is a common noun and black is an adjective. You need to fix "the" before the word cow. These prefixes need not be applied to a proper noun. Example: In the phrase "United States of America" the word America is a proper noun (a fixed name of a thing). You should also use "the" or "a" while using a proper noun as a common noun. Example: The Hitler of India. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:56, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

However, in Telugu language, demonstrative adjectives and cardinal adjectives are sometimes used to direct a common noun in specific. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:24, 24 June 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Indian English is not similar to British English[edit]

There is no dialect called Indian English. Indian universities teach Standard British English, and on Internet Indians read North American English. However, most of the Indians use either school slang or college slang to speak English.

Most of the Indians claim that Indian English is similar to British English. It's not true. The syntax of Indian English is similar to Hindi. To turn off the light, a native English speaker says "Switch off the light" but an Indian English speaker says "Close the light" that is translation of "batti band karo" in Hindi. The syntax "Close the light" sounds odd to a native English speaker. I can cite so many examples. "Rain is falling" instead of "It's raining", "You are selfish no" that is translation of "tum kanjoos ho na" from Hindi, "Chalk piece" that is translation of "sudda mukka" from Telugu and so many sentences that sound odd are heard in English medium schools. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:00, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

Never compare British English with Indian English. The grammar of Modern English was developed by British poets like Geoffrey Chaucer but Indian English is either an ungrammatical provincial or a slang. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:21, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Most of the Indians aren't proficient in speaking English. So they make mistakes while speaking in English. There is nothing such as 'Indian English' in sense. Even the people of southern Orissa include some Odiya words while speaking in Telugu. Can we name such language 'Orissa Telugu'? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:29, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

If people of southern Orissa speaking Telugu among themselves have usages consistently differing from standard Telugu, and expect these differences (so that if one of them instead uses standard Telugu he/she might be misunderstood), then yes, I'd say a variety exists that deserves its own name. —Tamfang (talk) 09:16, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

If any transformed or malformed form of a language is called a dialect, even Odiya can be called a dialect of Hindi. The shop that sells foreign made liquor is called 'bidesi modo dokaano' in Odiya and it is called 'videsi saraab ki dukaan' in Hindi. The difference in grammar, phonology and word formation is clearly evident in this context. Indian English can be called a different language because words like co-brother and unseason etc are not understood by many of the English speakers. Such division cannot be called a dialect in sense.

Some words used by Indians can be understood by them who speak English as their native language. For example: Private court (kangaroo court or unauthorised court that is organised by a vigilante gang that takes law in to their hands) and bus stand (bus terminal) etc. But words like co-brother and unseason etc are not understood by most of the English speakers.

The grammar question[edit]

The difference in grammar structure is the main factor that leads the Indians to speak incorrect English. English grammar is more complexed than the grammar of Indian languages. For example: Translate the Telugu sentence "ఇక్కడ కూర్చోవడానికి చోటు లేదు" to English. In Telugu, the sentence has four words. You need seven words to translate it to English. "There is no room here to sit" is the sentence formed after translation. Indians need to be trained well in syntax to speak correct English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:48, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

I speak three languages. In Andhra and Orissa, I speak Telugu and in Chattisgarh, I speak Hindi. English is my third language. English is not even a second language for many Indians. However, I check the grammar before I speak English. I don't intend to kill the spirit of a language with grammatical errors. I was informed that many English medium students in Tamil Nadu speak English with Tamil grammar and their English cannot be understood by other Indians. I was shocked by this news. Everyone should learn English but speak with the correct syntax.

Indian English speakers think that correct grammar is not necessary to speak English. They are wrong. People may fail to understand your language if you speak with grammatical errors. e.g. Every noun must be followed by a pronoun in the consequent sentence. This rule also applies for Telugu and other Indian languages. "He got a call from home and he went there". Here the noun "home" is used in the sentence before conjunction and the pronoun "there" in the second one. If we miss the pronoun "there" and say "he went', people may think that he went to somewhere else but not to the place where he got the call from.

Phonology related issues[edit]

Even phonological differences cannot create a thing called 'New English'. For Example: Tamilians pronounce Sanskrit word 'Srinivasa' as 'Cheenivasan' and Andhraites pronounce the same word as 'Srinuvasu' (No.All telugu people pronounce Srinivasa as Srinivasa only. I accept the truths about Indians speaking English but not about the native language.) and North Indians pronounce the same word as 'Shrinivas'. Should we think that there are things called North Indian Sanskrit, Andhra Sanskrit and Tamilian Sanskrit?

Why not? From what you say, there are several different standards of Sanskrit pronunciation; so that, to understand a Sanskrit word, you'd have to know where the speaker is from. —Tamfang (talk) 09:19, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Teluguites pronounce the word 'fan' as 'fyanu' and Odiya speakers pronounce the same word as 'fano'. There are many such examples related to phonology. But phonology cannot be a reason to create a term called 'Indian English'.

Retroflex varieties of "t" and "d".[edit]

Native English speakers articulate "t" and "d" with alveolar ridge. Alveolar "t" and "d" are similar to dental t(त) and d(द) in Sanskrit but many Indians think that "t" and "d" are retroflexes (equal to ट and ड in Sanskrit which are articulated by touching tongue against upper part in the mouth) in English. Retroflex varieties of "t" and "d" are not found in English. Those phonemes are found only in Indian, Chinese and Australian languages. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:00, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

It is easy to learn English grammar by reading books but it is difficult to learn voice articulation by that mean. Most of the Indian children are taught English by non-native speakers of English. Therefore they fail to learn voice articulation. I use dental varieties of t and d while speaking English but I use both varieties (retroflex and dental) of those consonants while speaking Hindi.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 11:41, November 3, 2013

In Sanskrit, retroflex consonant is called moordhanyam and dental consonant means dantyam. In all European languages, (including Russian), "t" and "d" are either alveolar or dental. Sanskrit has no alveolar consonants. The best option for Indians is to use dental varieties of "t" and "d" but not retroflex varieties of those sounds. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:10, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

T, D, and N in Hindi[edit]

In Wikipedia's article, it is written that "t" and "d" are post-alveolar consonants in Hindi. I am not convinced with that statement. In the book "Modern Hindi Grammar" by Omkar N. Koul, it is written that Hindi has two varieties of t\d\n. i.e. retroflex and dental. In that book, there is no information about the use of post-alveolar sounds. I don't know whether alveolar and post-alveolar sounds are used in Urdu or not. As a speaker of standard Hindi, I use either dental or retroflex varieties of t\d\n in Hindi. I think post-alveolar sounds are used by speakers of non-standard dialects. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:06, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Hindi speakers also use retroflex varieties of "t" and "d". They also use aspirated and unaspirated variants of "t" and "d". Thus, Hindi speakers use four varieties of "t" and "d". The main problem is with Tamil speakers who use "t" for retroflex variety and "th" for dental variety while transliterating Tamil names in English. Native English speakers cannot articulate retroflex varieties of "t"and "d". English has only one retroflex consonant. That is "r". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:30, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Reason emphasised[edit]

I can't agree that post-alveolar use in Hindi is the good reason for using retroflex counterparts while transcribing English letters in Devanagari. Standard Hindi has no post-alveolar plosives. I have checked the sounds used by news readers on national Hindi TV channels. All of them use either dental or retroflex varieties of "t" and "d". It is not true that post-alveolar plosives exist in Hindi. A typical Indian English speaker may not have heard the speech of a native English speaker. Therefore he may be unaware that "t" and "d" are only dental in Standard English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:27, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

Even in Arabic, "t" and "d" are alveolar. Indians do not use retroflex varieties of "t" and "d" while transcribing Arabic words in Devnagari, but they do so for English. It's because of unawareness on English phonology. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:23, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

The comment on Indian ears[edit]

In Indian schools, children are taught English by Indian speakers of English but not by native English speakers. So, even their phonology doesn't conform to the norms of Standard British English. I cannot agree with the statement that alveolar consonants sound like retroflex consonants to Indian ears. Indians even use retroflex varieties of N and L in their native languages but only T and D are retroflexed in Indian English. It is the result of the outdated methods used by Indian teachers in teaching English but not the problem with ears. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:20, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

Source of the anomalies[edit]

Does anyone have any information on where the "anomalies" in Indian English grammars listed (the use of the progressive in static verbs, for example) came from? Did they develop somewhat arbitrarily simply as language drift, or do they mirror grammatical forms in other (non-English) Indian language and were imported from there into English? --Delirium 20:41, May 23, 2004 (UTC)

Grammar Structure in Hindi differs from English. It's kinda like French. For instance, when I was learning French, I would formulate a sentence in English(since English is my strongest language), and then convert it to French (or vice-versa). This often had disastrous effects. Take the phrase Je Vous Remercie, which literally translates as I You Thank. If "I You Thank" is not considered French English, I don't see why similar structural mistakes are included in Indian English. More often than not, these "anomalies" are actually just bad English spoken by non-native speakers of the language. I hypothesize mostly from personal experience, but I intend to get some professional views on this phenomenon soon.--LuciferBlack 05:06, Aug 16, 2004 (UTC)
Usages are accepted in a dialect if enough people communicate with them and accept them. If there were a community of people who were used to saying "I you thank," that would be considered part of the dialect. If we're accepting that Indian English is a dialect that has grown separately from British English and American English, then there are going to be anomalies in grammar. Thirdreel 13:53, 16 Aug 2004 ()

Unique Phrases in Indian English[edit]

I'd just note that "godown", listed as an example of a word "unique to Indian English", is used to describe apparently the same structures (river- or dock-side warehouse) in Singapore and Singaporean English. So, to be pedantic, it probably shouldn't be included here, or at least not described as unique to Indian English.

Of course both the godowns themselves and and the name were undoubtedly imported into Singapore during the Raj, but nevertheless they're clearly not uniquely Indian. For all I know, the term may have been commonplace in various Malayan englishes, or further afield.

Does anyone know the name of the academy that guides the development of Indian English? It has escaped me. -- 04:56, 2 Aug 2004 (UTC)

There are other words on this list that are not unique to Indian English (and may not even have originated there)...for example glass means tumbler in British english (I think, at least it does in Australia), and specs is slang for eyeglass (spectacles) in Australia. It seems to be quite common for a particular group to think that their usage is unique when it is not. --GPoss 11:54, Aug 28, 2004 (UTC)

Rrjanbiah, would you please explain the expressions that you added on Aug 26th? If possible, I'd like to know your sources for "Hello, What do you want?" and "Q: How do you do? A: I'm fine. Thank you". I've never heard of the former being used politely, and my Oxford isn't being very cooperative in the latter case. --LuciferBlack 21:36, Aug 28, 2004 (UTC)

I must say that these expressions are not readily encountered. Most Indians, whether or not their English is good, say "Namaste"/"Namaskar", "Salaam aleikum" or "Hi"/"Hey"/"Hello"/"How are you?". Often they'll use expressions from Hindi like "haal kya hai?" or Bengali "ki khobor?" and then lapse into English. It sounds like these Rrjanbiah additions are more geared to a specific community as opposed to a pan-Indian circle. --LordSuryaofShropshire 21:50, Aug 28, 2004 (UTC)
By judging your remark, I understand you don't know anything about India. Ever did a phone call to some Hospitals or offices?? --Rrjanbiah 04:36, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

"Hello, What do you want?" is an expression used by a few in hospitals amd offices. But it IS considered RUDE. So I am removing the rude part. Never heard any one use Panipat or Kurukshetra while conversingin English either. -- Anon.

LuciferBlack, 1. It is common expression in India especially at hospitals, offices (in phone or in reception). I came to know, the expression is rude for native speakers from the seminar of Prof. Nedumaran, one of the good communication experts. 2. [1]. BTW, are you a native speaker (I guess, you're not)? If so, what is your English (BrE, CaE,..)? --Rrjanbiah 04:40, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Rrjanbiah: Your pseudo-decisive comments about what I do and do not know ring of arrogance. I'm quite familiar with India, having lived there and interacting with Indians on a daily basis. Regardless, I have removed this:

* Q: How do you do? A: I'm fine. Thank you (Without knowing the real expression "How do you do?". "How do you do?" is a formal greetings and the correct reply is just to repeat ";How do you do?")

First of all, even in America or the UK, "How do you do?" or "How are you doing?" is adequately answered by "Fine, thanks." or some variation thereof. In this case, either reply is 'correct,' and in fact the supposedly 'wrong' answer is them most common one outside of India.

As for the second one, which I've left, I'm still not sure that's an example of 'Indian English' or simply 'bad English.' But whatever. By the way, try to be less willfully contentious Rrjanbiah. You constantly assume that the moment someone disagrees with you he/she is a hyper-fundamentalist patriot psycho who hates, specifically, you. In reality, most of us, certainly I, just want to edit and work on a clean, neutral and factual article. --LordSuryaofShropshire 15:33, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)

Just another example of typical LordSuryaofShropshire-ism... You always criticize others but trying to project you're the one who knows everything. Regarding "How do you do?", I couldn't understand how native speakers will reply wrong; and I hope some native speaker will comment on that. --Rrjanbiah 04:33, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
FYI, Rrjanbiah, I came of age in Bombay (yes, I still call it Bombay), and currently reside in Canada. So I *have* had sufficient exposure to Indian, British and Canadian English. Ow, I hate being nice while nursing a hangover. Just go read what Shropshire said. --LuciferBlack 20:37, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)

LuciferBlack, the major problem with NRIs is that they don't understand/try to understand what others say; and they think they're the one who knows everything. --Rrjanbiah 04:36, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Rrjanbiah, the major problem with Indians currently living in India is that they don't understand/try to understand what others say; they think that they're the ones who know everything. Criticisms of bias and ego run both ways buddy.--LordSuryaofShropshire 17:32, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)
Shropshire, you steal the retorts from my mouth :) --LuciferBlack 13:18, Sep 1, 2004 (UTC)
I'm an Indian, and I cringe at Rrjanbiah's English ("Ever did a phone call to ... ", "you always criticize others but trying to project ... ", "NRIs ... they're the one ..."). --Mallika

To get back on topic - I'm unsure of the original source for including many of these, but a significant number of words and idioms included in this article are perfectly common in other varieties of English and have no real place here: "flyover" for an overpass; "specs" for glasses; to "expire" as a euphemism for to die; forms of "to graduate" referring only to bachelor's or first university/college degrees; "double" or "triple" when reading off a list of numbers; "like anything" to express intensity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:19, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Include canonical phrases / words[edit]

WRT the back and forth edits between LSofS and Rj, I have a suggestion to make. Why don't you just include canonical phrases/ words that have been used in advertisements, other media, etc.,?

I disagree with LSofS on the one letter difference- in fact saloon is a very interesting word and is not similar to the colour/ color conventions or other conventions such as s/z or c/s that are standardised in many words. I was not aware of the salon/ saloon connection - maybe there is an interesting etymology to it too, it is worthy enough to be included! In daily life in India, at least in Tamilnadu, in every small town and maybe even in village, a saloon refers to a "barber shop" frequented only by "gents"(that's another Indianism) KRS 18:17, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Well, unfortunately, Rj misinformed regarding saloon as referring to salon. If it means what you're talking about, then it has a well-established Euro-American precident in "saloon," a congregatory hall, frequently for men, in which drinks and such would be served (see cowbow westerns). Also, "gents" is not an Indianism, in the sense that it was not coined by Indians. It's a known contraction all over the world. --LordSuryaofShropshire 18:40, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)
Salon is not only misspelt in Tamil Nadu, it is also misspelt in Kerala and Bangalore (I have witnessed that). Only very few women salon, correctly spelt that. A google search suggests [2], the word is misspelt even in Jaipur, Mumbai and many other places in India. --Rrjanbiah 11:37, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It's not misspelt, we've already determined this. It is referring to the Euro-American saloon. Look up a dictionary.--LordSuryaofShropshire 16:17, Sep 1, 2004 (UTC)

Saloon 1. barroom, bar, saloon, ginmill, taproom -- (a room or establishment where alcoholic drinks are served over a counter; "he drowned his sorrows in whiskey at the bar") 2. public house, pub, saloon, pothouse, gin mill, taphouse -- (tavern consisting of a building with a bar and public rooms; often provides light meals)

Salon 1. salon -- (gallery where works of art can be displayed) 2. salon, beauty salon, beauty parlor, beauty parlour, beauty shop -- (a shop where hairdressers and beauticians work) 3. salon -- (elegant sitting room where guests are received)

In Indian English, Saloon means beauty salon (Salon) [3]

--Rrjanbiah 05:15, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I agree with you Rrjanbiah, I also wanted to cite references- saloon in the Western context has no relation to saloon in the Indian context, the Indian context saloon has to be the Western context salon KRS 06:28, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I think, the right place to discuss about this issue is a.e.u. I have some doubts in English especially "How do you do?" and "Saloon"; I'll post there sometimes later (as I'm bit busy now) and will update here. --Rrjanbiah 07:59, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Indian English Vs. Hindi[edit]

"Someone" has added so many Hindi words like yaar, etc and suggesting that they're Indian English. In fact, it is *not*. When someone couldn't find any words in English, they used to mix their native tongue. yaar is used just a fashion in informal context by few Hindi speakers (rarely others). Every native speakers have their own mixing gesture; for example, in Tamil someone may talk like "Ok da", "Tell me da", etc. And these words cannot be a Indian English; but there might be some generic term to refer these. --Rrjanbiah 04:29, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I fully support you on that (only moral support, no editorial support as I don't have the time:-))! KRS 06:31, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for your support and acknowledgement:) Please look at my previous reply. --Rrjanbiah 08:00, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I disagree. There are many non-Hindi speakers who use the word 'yaar' so commonly in English that it has become a part of Indian English. I do understand that occasional usages of words from Indian languages in English doesn't qualify, but this has become part of the popular lexicon. If you want to add Tamil words, that's fine. But there is definitely a definable set of characteristics of Indian English. If even 50% of Indians speaking English use the word 'yaar', or 'matlab', or 'keh', in their ENglish regularly, then it seems reasonable to add it in as a part of INdian English. As I said, feel free to add Tamil words used frequently by Tamilians when speaking fluent English. --LordSuryaofShropshire 15:01, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)
I think we need to differentiate between formal usage, colloquialisms (such as yaar) and downright slang (such as deadly, funda and fundu which are college slang.) Shameer 05:23, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

"Your obident servant" is now considered outdated in Indian official communication (dho 03:37, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC))

In addition to "yaar", there are several other words listed for which it is questionable whether they are examples of Indian English, or instead Hindi words that are used commonly by people who speak both Hindi and Indian English. Masaalah is not an English word, it is an Indian word. In addition, why is this listing even here? There is another page for English words of Indian Origin. They belong on that page, if at all. That page has been updated and some of the words given in this list are no longer on the list of English words of Indian origin. I have removed the offending words in both instances pending a reason they should be returned. Tritium6 16:27, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"yaar" is actually a punjabi word. It means "friend". It is not Hindi. Anyone who lives in India would know that it is not English, not even "Indian English".

"yaar" is a word that exists in both Hindi and Punjabi. It is originally a Farsi (Persian) loan word. It is a fairly legitimate Hindi word. I agree with Shameer, we need to differentiate...

yaar , na etc. are hinglish , na is southindian, minglish & hinglish word.

  • I have also added the word "chal" under this topic, as a word that is so frequently used when bringing an end to a conversation. Although it is "Hinglish", it is used almost as frequently as "yaar" and hence merits a place here, IMHO Prahladv 00:28, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Incorrect use[edit]

I can see a common thread in the discussion about which word should be considered to be included in "Indian English". Well, I have certain reservations. For example, I feel uncomfortable to consider "yaar" as adopted in English. Use of a particluar word like "yaar" by 50% does not justify. In fact, it should be categorized as an incorrect English. And later on when foreigners start using it, it will be a valid candidate to be considered as an English word of Indian origin.

The category of incorrect English (contributed by Indians) would include Primus a brand name of a stove used as if it is equivalent to stove. If you ask Indians above 40, they would be knowing that in India (and in particular in western part) people did not know the word stove. Instead they use the word primus only. Now with the new generation and wide-spread use of LPG, the word primus is not used as the carosene stove is not used. Let me also add that just like this Xerox is a brandname of a photocopying machine derived from the name of the company. But now throughout the globe to xerox is used as a verb interchangeably with to photocopy. So, it should be and is accepted as an English word.

Dinesh Karia --Karia 18:46, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't think you understand what a dialect is. It's Indian English. There is no such thing as "incorrect" use. If a speech community says it, then it's part of the dialect. (talk) 12:37, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

The article is inaccurate[edit]

This article lists:

  1. Common mistakes committed by Indians with incomplete knowledge of English, which any English teacher in India would frown upon
  2. English slang used in India and
  3. Mostly just claims about which, being an Indian myself, I've never heard - neither in real life nor on TV.
  4. Terms or words like co-brother, cousin brother etc doesn't exist in English. Those words are used by those people who have insufficient knowledge in English. It is unnecessary to promote such words. Such words are not understood even by most of the English speakers in India. Even I didn't hear such words during my school days though I did study in English medium school.

The list of "anamolies" would mostly fall into the first category and everything else would fall into the second category.

A more appropriate title for this article would be "Common mistakes and slangs in Indian English" (no, I'm not suggesting that the title should be changed). A *real* article about Indian English would be very short and point out that it is almost entirely similar to British English except for some small differences most of which arise out of some "old" rules still existing in Indian English.

I agree. Most of the "Indian English" in this article are merely common mistakes commited by indians. --Robin 18:39, Jun 20, 2005 (UTC)
I'd say that depends - are they, for example, also used by native indian speakers of English ? If so, they cease to be 'mistakes' and become 'regionalisms'. And Slang is an important part of any regional English.
Yes it depends. On their prevalence. In this case, many of the slang usages listed, such as 'fundu', 'deadly', 'sexy' are unique to IIT campuses ( and arguably other colleges ). I'm pretty sure the person who added those words to this page is from an IIT, and is maybe under the misconception that the whole of India speaks as they do. These words/phrases are hardly representative of Indian english, in fact most english speakers in India would be confused by these words.
I agree: The section on colloquial usage is almost certainly written by someone from IIT. I can attest to it as an IITM allumnus that they make perfect sense within those environs, but do not exist in everyday English in India-indeed, as has been pointed out, it would confuse, rather than communicate. This section makes a strong case for deletion.
Here we run into the difference between standard and nonstandard dialects. Standard Indian English probably closely resembles Standard British English (as most standard English dialects do, compared to regional variants). However, when a group of people reliably speak in certain unique patterns, and can communicate effectively amongst their own that way, that's a dialect that deserves to be studied. Those patterns may deviate from the standard dialects (even the local standard dialect), but non-standard does not mean "wrong" or "unworthy of note." That's a POV stance that linguists do not accept. I support making clear, possibly with separate subsections, what is considered standard Indian English, and what is considered nonstandard (with further notes regarding regional and subculture variation, i.e. northern vs. southern, differences by language of origin, college slang), but none of this should be deleted or even labeled "incorrect", any more than Urdu or Punjabi should be derided as "incorrect" Hindi. If it's how some people really, consistently speak, then it's "correct" enough to be included. --Skoosh 15:43, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Kinship Terms[edit]

Terms or words like co-brother, cousin brother etc doesn't exist in English. It is not right thing to promote such words. Those words are used by those people who have insufficient knowledge in English.

Children of parents' siblings are just called as cousins. There is no term called 'cousin brother' in English. In Telugu language, maternal aunt's daughter is called as 'akka' and paternal aunt's daughter is called as 'vadina'. While translating Telugu words to English, they translate the word 'akka' as 'cousin sister' and 'vadina' as 'cousin'. In English speaking societies, people do not maintain such differences in Kinship Terminology. Social approval for close-kin marriages is different matter here. But phrases such as 'cousin sister' etc are not understood by them who speak English as their native tongue. So, Indians should not use such phrases while translating Telugu words to English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:06, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

The term "co-brother"[edit]

The term "co-brother" is not understood even by most of the Indians. It cannot be included in Indian English. Telugu people use the word "co-brother-in-law" instead of it. Even the use of the term "co-brother-in-law" is incorrect method while translating Telugu words to English. In Telugu, sons-in-law of a common father-in-law are called as todallullu. In Telugu, the word todalludu means companion of son-in-law. It is incorrect to use those words such as co-brother and co-brother-in-law while translating Telugu kinship terms to English.

Addressing unrelated people with kinship terms[edit]

The practice of addressing unrelated people with kinship terms is solely related to regional culture and it has nothing to do with language. Even Odiya speakers address unrelated women as mousi (aunt). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:47, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Indians do not address every one with kinship terms. It is not possible to address bus driver or train TTE as uncle regardless the age. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:41, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

I don't even address my neighbours using kinship terms. Such practice is followed by those people who still believe old values.

Brand Names, etc.[edit]

What about a word such as "eversilver" which is frequently (almost exclusively, actually) used in South India (especially Tamil Nadu), to refer to stainless steel? To the best of my knowledge, that was the name of the company that first introduced stainless steel to India / South India. In that case, it fits into the "xerox" and "primus" category, I guess. Could someone please enlighten me as to the origin of that term.

AFAIK, when the Salem Steel Plant was set up, its stainless steel products were sold under the brand name of 'Eversilver', and that's where the name came from. In my opinion, it is valid to list this under Indian English. -Jbritto

Indian-isms should be phrases such as, "your good name" and "your obedient servant", which are so prevalent in govt. offices, etc., that they are not "incorrect" but uniquely Indian.

Not uniquely Indian - but still occurring in some circles in UK English —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:58, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

College Slang is not Indian English[edit]

From the article, I could find several words that are not commonly used by Indians, but are actually slang used by college students. They do not represent Indian English, but rather the demography of the editors of this particular article.

Note to editors: However often you may have used a word, think about its prevelance among all English speakers in India before adding it here. In my opinion -ji, maybe even yaar count as Indian English, but fundu or cheating-giri certainly don't. -Jbritto

Agreed. --Anon

Strange stuff[edit]

Very good article. However, I've never even heard much of the stuff that is being passed off as Indian English. Whoever heard of "He met his panipat."??? A lot of the words, phrases, idioms, etc are just examples of local language words being used when speaking in English. These are also examples of English being spoken incorrectly by people, as well as colloquailisms and college slang. Ze hawk 04:48, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. Panipat and Kurukshetra are not correct. -- Anon.

"He met his panipat."??? / panipat is an indian place with history , panipat refers to complete destroyed i.e to lose in a competition or fail in a project etc. it can pass of as an good english sentence.

Inflated Numbers?[edit]

Hard to believe that 11% of Indians speak English as a first language and that the overall percentage of Indians that know English is 30-40% (when India's literacy rate itself is about half). I will remove the second part for now. Could we have a reference if it is to come back? Cribananda 07:12, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

No Indian literacy rate is 66% (2001 census) and they DO have 110 million speakers. 18:06, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

This is the most reliable soucrce as far as I could gather (Britannica) and the percentage comes to around 3-4%. This was of course, in 1995, but I doubt if the numbers would have changed much.

-Cribananda 07:17, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

It probably has changed a fair bit. :) GizzaChat © 08:00, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

I've been researching this for the List of countries by English speaking population article. Here's what I've found: the proportion of Indians bilingual in English was reported here as 8.00%. The number answering the question on languages spoken was 838,583,988 [4], so some 67,100,000 were bilingual in English. The number of Indians with English as a mother tongue is 178,598 (see first link), but so far I can't find a figure for how many of them are monolingual. (This would let us calculate the total number of English speakers in India, although it would not be much more than the bilingual figure.) These numbers all come from the 1991 Census of India, which excluded Jammu and Kashmir. -- Avenue 01:38, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Avenue, the percentage you quote is higher than the one on my link, nevertheless, it is still way lesser than the 10-20% quoted initially on the page. It is very difficult to determine how many speakers of English there are in a country like India simply because it is difficult to define the level of expertise required to call someone an English speaker. Depending on the definition, I can totally see how your numbers and mine can both be correct, but 10-20% does seem stretching it too far. I have no objections to the article reading "4-10%" -Cribananda 02:05, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree completely that the numbers depend very much on the definition used. However I think the precise number doesn't make a great deal of difference to the sense of the article, and it would be good to have numbers for which we can cite sources. How about "8% of Indians speak English, according to the 1991 Census of India, although other estimates range as high as 15%"? I've taken 15% from the 150 million English speakers mentioned in the Demographics_of_India article, but this could be replaced by the highest figure we can find a reliable source for. -- Avenue 02:39, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
This Guardian article by David Crystal mentions a 1997 survey showing one third of Indians speak English. -- Avenue 02:53, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
There's definitely a wide variation in the estimates :-) The Demographics_of_India article does not cite a source, but is still in the vicinity. The India Today article mentioned in Crystal's piece looks sort of dubious to me, but if I can see the source I'll shut up.
I have no objection to "8% of Indians speak English, according to the 1991 Census of India, although other estimates range as high as 15%". -Cribananda 03:39, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
I've replaced the existing statement on English speakers with the version above. Regarding India Today's survey, it looks like they have been misquoted. Their results were actually that, while between 31% and 34% of Indians said they could read, write or understand English, only 19% of Indians said they could speak English. I can't find much information about the survey methodology, except that it was based on a sample of 12,651 respondents. But I'm still tempted to change the statement to read "... as high as 19%". -- Avenue 08:42, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Looks good the way it is. That survey...well, I don't know. More people can read and write English than can speak it? What is that supposed to mean? May be they know how to write their names in the English alphabet! -Cribananda 08:53, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Personally I am much more capable at reading and writing my second and third languages than I am at conversing in them, so that part of it doesn't seem odd to me. -- Avenue 12:10, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Go to Mumbai/Banglore and you will be surprised to find the percentage of people using English as their first langauge.--Darrendeng 06:20, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

I request you to travel in rural zones of India. You can even find school teachers who are unable to speak English with proper grammar. Even my English teacher did use Malayalam grammar to speak English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:04, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Commonly Misspelled Words[edit]

I have added few words.

Commonly Mispronounced Words[edit]

Not sure if this belongs in this article but my wife (bengali speaker) drives me nuts with her consistant mispronounciation of a range of words such as "risk" ("ricks"), "disc" ("diks"), "film" ("filim"), and "birthday" ("birtday")



Anit- That is not an Indianism. Did your wife go to Catholic School? The pronunciations you have listed are a signature of the Indian Catholic/Convent Schools. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:04, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Mispronunciation cannot be compared with dialect in any way. Odiya speakers pronounce the word 'film' as 'filmo' and Teluguites pronounce it as 'filimu' and Tamilians pronounce it as 'pilimu'. Mispronunciations and phonological problems are not enough reasons to call the so called 'Indian English' as a dialect.

Does this article conform to the NPOV?[edit]

Most Indians don't know that English is a stress-timed language, and word stress is an important feature of English pronunciation.

Wouldn't it be more NPOV if this (and some other) feature(s) of Indian English would be described more neutrally, eg. "While most English dialects are stress-timed, Indian dialects of English are often syllable-timed". The whole tone of this article is too "prescriptivist", writing about these dialects as if they were "inferior" compared to English English just because it's strange for the Britons' ears. --Adolar von Csobánka (Talk)
I agree about that specific quote being POV. Your suggested wording would be a big improvement. Can you give other examples of places the article is too "prescriptivist"? -- Avenue 12:02, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Note that many Indian English speakers don't even know that their pronunciation scheme is actually incorrect as compared to RP /different would be a better word; while it must be emphasized that it's considered nonstandard, it should not be suggested that RP is "better"/).
And I could cite all other sentences which label the vernacular varieties "incorrect". Spelling pronunciations are borderline cases but even those examples are quite possibly POV. --Adolar von Csobánka (Talk) 16:40, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
At the same time, this form of English is not considered "correct" even in India. Officially, British English is still considered the only "correct" form. So, for instance, Note that many Indian English speakers don't even know that their pronunciation scheme is actually incorrect as compared to RP /different would be a better word. But any Indian who does appreciate the difference, considers the Indian version "wrong" and not just "nonstandard" or "different". I think this should be taken into account. --HellFire 13:14, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
These varieties may be considered incorrect (or "wrong") by some, but this is simply irrelevant from a (descriptivist) linguistic point of view. That it has no official recognition (and that it is not a prestigious variety) is already implied by the word "nonstandard", and – as minor differences in pronunciation and lexis do not affect (harm) their speakers ability to communicate effectively (at least w/ those who speak the same variety) – there is no need to label them "incorrect" or "wrong". --Adolar von Csobánka (Talk) 15:34, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree that there is a POV slant to this article. It should not list mistakes in Indian English. It should be unique characteristics of Indian English. It is not a mistake it is just different. Mattisgoo 22:38, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
I've made a few quick changes to the article to remove some of what I considered to be POV comments. Unfortunately, I think the article still needs a lot of rewording and inline citations to avoid having the feeling of hearsay or opinion -- especially in the first few sections. Good luck to all who try. Mattisgoo 23:18, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree with your comment. This should be taken care of, since as it is, many parts of this article (especially in the detailed list of differences) give the impression of Indian English being deficient. Godd examples for a more careful use are e.g.: Creole_language or English-based_creole_languages Atoll 09:36, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Confusing Indian English with Indian vernacular colloquiallisms/slang[edit]

This article has become very long and unwieldy, and I find many of the examples added recently don't quite belong here. Let me explain:

1. I think this article lists many usage samples that really have little to do with Indian English, being simply examples of colloquial usage that is not English at all. Some of these are:

theek hai, oof, oh-fo, waah, yaar, macha, ki, maane

While these are certainly commonly heard in Hinglish etc, since the words are not English at all, but Hindi/Tamil/Bengali, this usage can hardly be called Indian English.

2. I would also like to make a distinction between modern youth slang and "true" Indian English. Some of the former are:

deadly, sexy, fundas

"True" Indian English, IMHO, is not slang that youth use among themselves with the full awareness that they are using non-standard English. Rather, it is the at times quirky, at times old-fashioned, and at times plain ungrammatical English that Indians often use WITH COMPLETE UNAWARENESS that they are using forms which might appear peculiar to the modern day American or Brit. It is these latter forms of usage that are interesting to study, often demonstrating the influence of vernacular languages, the influence of formal, old-fashioned manners, and the gentle euphemism that often characterizes Indian culture itself, or other systematic reasons behind their usage. Examples of "true" Indian English are:

"What is your good name?"; "How many issues you are having?"; "My all friends are like this only".

I therefore propose that this article be pruned to reflect the above stricter, narrower interpretation of what constitutes Indian English, rather than be a laundry list of every Hindi interjection and youth slang term that has come into Hinglish and the speech of very informal urban youth. Sticking to the narrow interpretation makes for a more readable article and preserves the features of interest that unite a lot of "true" Indian English.

Please discuss, and if you agree, let us come to some consensus to prune the article as necessary. Thanks!

--Splitpeasoup 03:29, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

I think I agree. Actually, yaar, etc., is worth its own article. Maybe we can move that stuff to Hinglish? Acsenray 21:22, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Excellent idea. --Splitpeasoup 21:45, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
I second this Doctor Bruno 02:00, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I agreeSticknstones 15:00, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Indian English is the colloquial language! What else could it be? It isn't officially a different language. It seems that Indian English has three elements. Obsolete phrases; obsolete words; and unique abbreviations or contractions. All signs of a old-fashioned and backward society and a very poor education system. Hopefully as Indian gets wealthier (having finally ditched Gandhian socialism) education will improve and Indian "English" disappear. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:49, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Influence of Scottish English on Rhoticity in Indian English?[edit]

This article makes the claim that the rhoticity and trilling of Indian English are influenced by Scottish English. Does anyone have any more information on this? I find it somewhat dubious, and would imagine the trilled 'r' of Indian English arises out of the phonology of the indigenous languages, but I have long wondered about the fact that Indian English retains rhoticity and how this could have come to be (presumably, Indian English developed out of the English of the mostly non-rhotic British colonialists; how was rhoticity rediscovered? From the orthography? That would be odd, but clearly something odd happened...). -Chinju 11:11, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

You are absolutely correct. I cant agree more.--Darrendeng 06:23, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Confusion between Indian english and hinglish[edit]

Contibutors and editors on this page have a big confusion between indian english and hinglish. I was in india for two years doing my research on Indian english. Indian english is British english that follows grammar of wren and martin not so common in UK these days. Whatever vernacular words and syntaxes added on the page as examples of Indian English here is actually hinglish (a combination of english and hindi and other vernacular languages) and it should be part of seperate page. My professor in India in New Delhi had very strict demarkation between two and i never saw his students mixing english with hinglish. I strongly request to clean up this page.--Sticksnstones 17:23, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

  • I totally agree with you. Lets take up the task of cleaning this article of the stuff that does not belong to this page. apurv1980 10:36, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
Even better, please get rid of all the stuff that is not referenced, per WP:V. Grover cleveland (talk) 19:28, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Edited the page[edit]

In Mathematics section I found a strange *operator* 'zar', which I have removed. 'Zar' is not a word, but a result of 's' occurring before 'are' — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:26, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

I have modified the page removing all the stuff which is not taught by any english teacher in any school in India. Slangs spoken by college kids are not part of Indian english but hinglish and should be part of that page. If anyone has any objections to my editing, lets have a debate over it. apurv1980 14:48, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

I strongly disagree with the removal of the bulk of the material, especially under the heading of "anomalous usage." These elements have nothing to do with "Hinglish" (which is the mixture of Hindi and English -- these terms are almost all purely English, only differing in particular from other dialects or varieties of English) and are not limited to "college kids" slang. That it is not taught in school is irrelevant. Much of the nature of a dialect or variety of a language has nothing to do with what is taught, but rather the actual use in a society. The elements removed by Apurv1980, in my view, are sufficiently widespread in Indian business correspondence and among the educated elite of Indian society (who are most likely to use Indian English in their day-to-day lives) as to be relevant to the descriptions and delineations of Indian English. For now, I am re-inserting the information. I welcome others' comments on the matter. Acsenray 22:57, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Differences in the English Language Throughout Asia[edit]

Cell phone or handphone? SMS or text? I've posted a brief intro about the differences in terms used for every day things in Asia in my blog at I would like to expand on the list and to do that I will need contributions from as many people as possible. Please do help me out by sharing your valuable insights. Thank you :)

Request Indian English assistance[edit]


I am a published author working on my second novel. There is a brief scene featuring a character speaking English with an Indian accent. I have been using the wikipedia entry on "Indian English" to help me write this section phonetically and idiomatically, but i'm sure I am making numerous naive and inaccurate representations. Would the author of that entry or anyone else on this board be willing to take a look at the short section and provide feedback? It's about 6 sentences long.

Thank you for your time. You can reach me at

Unique phrases again[edit]

I've just removed the following. While in England, it may not be common to use place names as an addendum to university names, it is quite common in the U.S. and Australia (perhaps because of sheer size of the countries, branch campuses develop). Anyway if anyone has a problem w/ this, the original text is here.

Reversions of "pain" and "fire" entries[edit]

I invite Yamamoto to discuss his reversions of these entries. Mirkhanshah 17:35, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Stress-timing, sing-song, etc.[edit]

The section about Indic languages being "sing-song" and/or lacking syllable stress seems confusing, and I'm not convinced it's accurate. My impression of what's really happening is that many (possibly most?) Indic languages use a lower tone or pitch on stressed syllables — in contrast to most English dialects, where stressed syllables are generally pronounced with a higher pitch. This causes other English speakers to think that the Indian English speaker is stressing the wrong syllables, because they respond to the pitch contrast and misinterpret the higher pitch immediately before and/or after the Indian English speaker's intended stressed syllable as if that were the real stress point. For example, whenever one former co-worker of mine (whose native language was Tamil) would say the word "machine", it invariably sounded to me like he was saying "mission"; he was in fact stressing the second syllable, as far as he was concerned, but it simply didn't sound that way to me because of his pitch contour. If someone would like to try rewriting this part of the article, please go ahead; otherwise, I'll try my hand at it if no one else wants to volunteer. Richwales 05:11, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

It sounds a lot like you're just going from personal experience. Do you have a source for this? Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 07:58, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Jesus, does every word on Wikipedia have to have a reference now? Who the heck is going to write a paper on something so trivial? I've observed this phenomenon too. I think most native English speakers will agree with it. Surely there must be some room on Wikipedia for very simple, uncitable, uncontested things that are the general consensus (as there is in any encyclopedia, or any scholarly publication at all for that matter). Or did you actually disagree with the above claim? Xezlec 04:24, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
In this particular a citation seems necessary. The claim made is too specific, and Original Amit 05:06, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
This page states it as a known fact, and gives some references that may or may not be related. Does this satisfy you? Xezlec (talk) 05:38, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
That's Hindi only. In my personal experience, Hindi and north-Indian languages have a different stress pattern from other Indian languages; and besides the article is about English, which may be consciously pronounced differently. Just to be clear: what exactly is being contested here? shreevatsa (talk) 06:06, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
FWIW, I went ahead and added whatever seemed right to me (and possibly contradictory to what I said above ;-)) If someone thinks this is wrong; feel free to change it. shreevatsa (talk) 07:24, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
In fact, there are linguists researching "so trivial" a topic. Here are some references supporting the claim that lower pitch indicates emphasis in Indian English rather than higher pitch. (Apologies if my etiquette isn't up to par, I'm a Wikipedia newbie.)
  • Moon found some evidence of low pitch accent correlating with emphasis in Telugu English and Hindi English (Russell Moon. 2002. "A comparison of the acoustic correlates of focus in Indian English and American English")
  • Indian English and South Asian English varieties in general use low fundamental frequency to mark an accented syllable.(Pickering, Lucy and Wiltshire, Catherine. 2000. "Pitch accent in Indian-English teaching discourse". Pages 173-183 in World Englishes Vol. 19)
  • Several research studies suggest that low pitch is associated with emphasis in Hindi-Urdu (Lars O. Dyrud 2001 "Hindi-Urdu: Stress Accent or Non-Stress Accent?"; Patil, Umesh et al. 2008. “Focus, Word Order and Intonation in Hindi-Urdu”. Journal of South Asian Linguistics, Vol. 1, Issue 1).
  • The suprasegmental devices for showing emphasis from the first language of a speaker are likely to influence their pronunciation of English (Kachru, Braj B. 2005. "Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon". Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong).
  • There is evidence that emphasis strategies are transferred from Hindi to English - such as the inclusion and emphasis of particles (Gumperz, John. 1982. “Language and Social Identity”. Cambridge University Press, UK).
Therefore it's not a stretch for linguists to theorize to what extent prosodic features of an Indian English speaker's first language are mapped onto their pronunciation of English. True, different Indian languages will have different prosodic systems, so we should stay away from attempting to generalise Indian English. Instead, descriptions might have to specify Indian English as spoken by people who have language X as their first language.Tavitsre (talk) 07:58, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

On another point to do with this section, it is probably better to describe Indian languages as "syllable-based" rather than "syllable-timed". The latter term is considered too crude a distinction (David Crystal. 1996. "The Past, Present and Future of English Rhythm".)Tavitsre (talk) 07:58, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Numbers of speakers[edit]

Unless I've missed it, there seems to be no mention in this article of how many people speak Indian English (which may or may not be the same as the number of people in India who can or do speak English). According to this article in the Guardian newspaper by David Crystal, there "must be" 350 million: "more than the combined English-speaking populations of Britain and the US". Does anyone have any recent figures? Flapdragon 12:59, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Poor content[edit]

This article has far too much unsubstantiated, and in my opinion, frivolous information. It doesn't reach anywhere near WP standards. Oops! I just remembered I'm on a wikibreak... Ta ta! Amit 16:45, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Error Regarding Non-Indian English[edit]

When explaining that Indian English uses expressions like "chai-vai" to mean "tea and stuff", the following claim is made:

This usage is not unknown in other English-speaking countries, e.g., Fran Drescher's autobiography "Cancer Schmancer".

This appears to be a misunderstanding. Although expressions like "Cancer Schmancer" exist in American English (I don't know about other dialects of English), this does not mean "Cancer and stuff". Rather, it means "I don't care about Cancer" or "Cancer is not a big deal to me". And the cluster "schm" is almost always used for this, rather than just some random initial consonant sound. I'm removing the above sentence from the article. If someone puts it back, please explain why. Xezlec 04:13, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I agree, as a native speaker of US English who has lived in India for most of the past 16 years. The cluster "schm" in "cancer-schmancer" means exactly what you say, and I believe it comes from Yiddish. The reduplication I hear in India is always with an initial w/v (or occasionally b?) and means "and similar stuff." But I don't hear it all that often in the English spoken by well-educated Indians, and I don't think I've seen it in the magazines and newspapers, though I believe I've seen it in novels, where authors are often writing in English conversations that are meant to be originally in another Indian language. —Preceding unsigned comment added by BeckyLadakh (talkcontribs) 10:56, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Any sources on Indian English intonation?[edit]

Does anyone here know any Wikipedia-citable sources describing the intonation (pitch pattern) of English as spoken by people from India?

I'm thinking in particular here of the pattern, apparently common to many languages of India, where stressed points in an utterance are marked by a lower pitch, followed by a rise in pitch in subsequent syllables. As a native speaker of English from North America, I would assert that this pitch pattern is confusing and often makes it sound as if the Indian speaker is stressing the wrong syllables (since most English dialects generally associate stress with higher, not lower pitch).

I attempted to mention this issue in the page on Non-native pronunciations of English, but I was shot down by other editors who wouldn't accept that my claim was sufficiently documented. I cited a source which discusses the pitch patterns of several languages of India, but this was dismissed as irrelevant on the grounds that the source did not talk specifically about these native intonation patterns being carried over into English or other second languages.

It seems that there aren't very many sources of information about intonation — perhaps because many writers don't take notice of it and/or assume (incorrectly) that it's "just natural" and doesn't need to be described. I'd be grateful if anyone could help me find something credible that talks about this intonation issue in Indian English. Thanks. Richwales 22:55, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Wells mentions it (work cited in the text):

"The questions of word stress, sentence accents, and intonation raise in acute form the problem whether certain typical pronunciation characteristics of Indian English should be regarded as belonging to an autonomous variety of English, with its own systems, structures, and rules, or as straightforward errors. 'A very common fault among Indian speakers', reports Bansal (1969: 143) 'is the incorrect stressing of English words, that is, differently from the usual RP pattern' (and, we might add, the pattern of other native-speaker varieties)... On rhythym, sentence accent (sentence stress), and intonation, I cannot do better than quote Bansal yet again (1969: 144). 'The sentence stress in Indian English is not always in accordance with the normal RP pattern, and the characteristic English rhythm is not maintained. The division of speech into sense groups and tone groups is sometimes faulty, and pauses are made at wrong places. The location of the intonation nucleus is not always at the place where it would be in normal English. The rising-tone sometimes used as the end of statements must sound unusual to the RP-speaking listeners'. Among his examples are I know `what you mean; ,Get me a `cup of tea, please (with no contrastive meaning intended); and `Don't take any `notice of them"

This is from Wells, Accents of English iii: 630-631. The work by Bansal he is quoting seems to be The intelligibility of Indian English, Hyderabad; Central Institute of English, 1969. Grover cleveland 03:39, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Use of Doctor for non-medical Phds[edit]

Is it normal to refer to people with Phds as "Doctor" in India. I went to a UK Mandir to meet the priest, who has a Phd in Sanskrit. I asked for Dr. Sherma and nobody seemed to know who I meant, so I said "the priest". Straight away they said, "ah, you want Shri Shirmaji". Is this normal in Indian Engish usage? -- Q Chris (talk) 10:17, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

yes, its normal to refer to people with Phds as "Doctor". And in some cases, people take offence if u omit that Jay (talk) 13:17, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

influence of global economy[edit]

Has the neccesity of speaking the language of their customers had any influence on the language of Indians employed by foreign firms for customer and technical service? The article notes that "hello, what do you want?" is a common Indian English telephone greeting but I think that most America English speakers would find it abrupt and rude. The few times I've dealt with Indian customer service reps I've been impressed by their knowledge of American idioms and colloquialisms (or perhaps they've just been faking it, like my sister when her teen-aged kids are talking). (talk) 23:39, 10 February 2008 (UTC)RKH

Indian call centre reps take classes which teaches them the American idioms and colloquialims that you mention. They also have courses which offer to teach them how to speak with an american accent instead of an indian one. Now, I do not know if this is common throughout the whole call center industry but if i were to make an assumption based on the feature i saw on an indian tv channell a few months back, I would say many reps do undergoe training to appear more 'western'. Saadbd (talk) 06:31, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Citation needed[edit]

I have removed all citation needed for the section Idioms and Popular phrases. PLEASE NOTE THAT HAVING A CITATION FOR EACH AND EVERY WORD ON WIKIPEDIA IS AN IDEALISTIC, WISHFUL THINKING. This section had citation needed for each and every line!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In the future, please use careful discretion to make citation demands, and only for individual controversial cases. Additionally, I have also made changes in other sections, adding and clarifying on dress, non-veg, frock, foreigner, Mohammadan, full-pant, etc. Cygnus_hansa (talk) 09:53, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

"make a move now" also used in NZ English[edit]

to mean "I'm leaving now/soon". ie "I'd better make a move, it's getting late" means "I'd best be off now, it's getting late" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:16, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Section on colloquial usage[edit]

The section on colloquial usage is certainly written by someone from IIT (or a similar institute), and in no way represents Indian English. Should the section be pruned/deleted? --Robin (talk) 20:52, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes. Everything without a reference can be mercilessly deleted. shreevatsa (talk) 13:49, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Indian numbering system[edit]

No mention of the Indian numbering system? What about lakh, crore, et all? They're all everyday words in Indian English.... --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 10:26, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

That is not Indian English. It doesn't belong in this article. (talk) 22:15, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
i feel 'lakh' and crore do need to be mentioned here since its not just used as a slang/substitute. It is used by Newspapers and TV News channels and is not considered wrong Jay (talk) 13:21, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
The word 'lakh' can be found in Kipling (Kim for example). Some very good English literature was written by English people who either grew up in India or lived there for a long time. They helped introduce Anglo-Indian, as the dialect was known at the time, to the rest of the world. Zyxwv99 (talk) 23:40, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

I just made some very bold edits, please review[edit]

There was a lot of content in this article that had built up over time that was not pertinent to Indian English. Someone who comes to this article may be coming here because they heard a non-english word such as "prepone" that was spoken by several indian speakers who were otherwise speaking English. That is what Indian English is... Please familiarise yourself with what Indian English is before you add Hindi, Hindi Slang, Hinglish, etc to this article. Those topics belong in other articles.

This article needs a ton of work to make it readable, but the first step is to remove the material not directly related to Indian English. There some Wikicops who are so eager to revert my bold changes that they did so before I even had finished. I ask you to listen to what I am saying and understand that over time some articles build up a lot of excess junk. I tried to remove it. (talk) 22:08, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

You seem to be doing the right thing, so I'll assume good faith. Also, I removed your warnings.  :-)  Fyyer  22:16, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree this article contains a lot of cruft. I strongly approve of any attempt to improve it. But I note that you've removed all the sections about pronunciation, about how Indian English is spoken. (Including much content that was sourced.) Removing sourced content and keeping unsourced hearsay is never a good idea. We should probably restore some or much of the phonology section, following this discussion. However, please feel free to trim the other sections; it's long overdue. Shreevatsa (talk) 22:56, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
For other languages where pronunciation of English is the main difference over native speakers, there is no wikipedia page (eg German English or French English). Pronunciation is not what makes Indian English what it is in my opinion.... it is the grammar and word definitions (including many words that western English speakers would not understand, like "prepone", or "co-brother", as well as archaic english like "do the needful")). To put it another way, it is not pronunciation that would make Indian English speakers difficult to understand in western english speaking countries - it is word choice and grammar... that is the main difference over standard english. Pronunciation differences might be a minor sidenote in some cases, but more likely it belongs in some other article. It certianly should not make up 50% of the article in my opinion. Maybe I am wrong, and if so, put it back in.. but we need to focus strongly on what Indian English really is... first and foremost it is word choice and grammar. That is still not made clear even in the current article. (talk) 23:17, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
We also need a good section on the evolution of Indian English... how it evolved from British English into what it is now. (talk) 23:37, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
And what makes you the arbiter of what Indian English "really" is? Everyone thinks their pronunciation is perfectly fine and not worth mentioning, don't they? :-) (And if you're judging by what makes "Indian English speakers difficult to understand in western english speaking countries", in my experience it is overwhelmingly phonology.) Look at some of the articles about other varieties of EnglishAmerican English, Canadian English, Australian English — phonology is featured at least as prominently as grammar/vocabulary in each. That said, I agree with you that this article should definitely not be about "Hindi, Hindi Slang, Hinglish, etc", and this article needs to be made a lot clearer. Regards, Shreevatsa (talk) 23:43, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Indian English is not defined by pronunciation, it is word choice and grammar. I think you are referring to accent perhaps? Those other article have similar issues, but frankly Indian English is a much more major topic than Canadian English since it has so many speakers. It ought to be a better article! When someone wanst to learn more about Indian English it is almost always NOT "why does that person sound different?" but more "why does that person use words I am not familiar with?" and "why do other english speakers who look to be indian seem to understand them"? and "how come they seem to be speaking in english but some words are not in the english dictionary"? Instead the first thing they saw when they came to this article was a massive tome about very technical pronunciation differences. That's why I am saying that pronunciation should be a minor part of this article, or maybe its own article. (talk) 23:51, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
You're repeating what you said the first time, with no substantiation. "Indian English is not defined by pronunciation, it is word choice and grammar." -- why? (I agree that it ought to be a better article, of course.) Shreevatsa (talk) 15:14, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

You people are reverting everything I did, including unrelated edits I made that has nothing to do with dialect (see Indian Numbering System above, English Authors of Indian descent, etc). If you have to revert, revert the parts that are contentious, not everything. If you are not willing to accept the bold edits that this article needs, and instead aquiesce to every cut and paste from obtuse scholarly articles, this POS article will never be readable. Grow some balls. This article reads like Munci's PHD thesis, not an encyclopedia article. If you put the dialect stuff back, I am probably going to move it into its own article to keep it from filling up this article. (That is, if I feel like wasting any more time on this POS article) (talk) 17:22, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Read WP:CIV, please. People will revert everything because that's the most convenient thing to do (especially for an awful article like this, which no one wants to waste time on). The article was left alone for a few days, so that you could make your improvements, but when nothing happened, someone was bound to reach for the revert button. Again, I agree with you that the phonology section is not a shining example of great writing, and it has unsourced crap too, which ought to go. But ultimately the consensus is that any article about a language dialect should include some information about phonology. If you're interested in improving the article, reinstate it and trim it properly yourself, or create a new article, or whatever. Otherwise someone will just do the easy thing and revert everything "for now", and that's how the article will stay for a long time. Shreevatsa (talk) 21:49, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
I did a bunch of edits, not just the phonology section. User Munci much after the fact painstakingly reverted ALL of my edits (this was not easy after all the time had passed). He did not only revert the part in contention. That does not seem right. ANYWAY, how do you feel about moving the phonology stuff into it's own article? And if so, what shouldd the title be? (talk) 17:40, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
I really don't think there's enough credible information to make a new article, but Phonology of Indian English or something like that would work. See the American English article for an example. Shreevatsa (talk) 20:37, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

I put all of the phonology material back in, but moved it to the last section of the article. (talk) 06:26, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

General remarks[edit]

And informative article would require not only description of the syntax of South Asian English, but also of its phonology and perhaps even its morphology (where distinctive). A list of popular expressions is fine, but these will need to be sourced; some of them, for example, are not unique to South Asian English. Not all are archaic in other Englishes as suggested somewhere in the article. (I have fixed the page Do the needful as an example.)

One of the features of spoken South Asian English that a non-South-Asian native speaker of English will likely notice first is its sounds, which include the pronunciation of individual words as well as the pattern of stresses and intonation in sentences. Although much is made of the retroflex consonants of South Asian English (as indeed of most South Asian languages with the exception of Burmese, Pushto and a few others geographically peripheral languages), the stresses and intonation are equally distinctive, and should certainly be described here. (That is, of course, if sources are available for such description, which they likely are.)

A native speaker of English not familiar with spoken South Asian English might find it harder to understand than say the spoken English of a Dutch, German, (and even Greek and Egyptian, although not French) speaker of English as a second language. This is because the stresses and intonation in those languages are more similar to Standard English than are those of most South Asian languages. (Intonation is often noticed first by a listener, and learned first too by a native speaker. Notice, for example, the exaggerated intonation of children's speech in any language, a habit encouraged by society, in part, so that the children get it right.) I will add a few things here and there when I have time, but I agree that this article needs to be vastly improved.

Lastly, I would prefer the page name changed to South Asian English (rather than Indian English) for many reasons that I won't elaborate on now, but that almost any one can divine upon a moment's reflection. Regards Fowler&fowler«Talk» 12:52, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

While I appreciate your effort in improving the article (it sure needs a big facelift), I am a bit concerned about your opinions judging by the edit summaries you have used while deleting some of the material. For example, I don't think it was suggested anywhere in the article that all the expressions in Indian English are outdated expressions from other Englishes, only that some of them are. And yes, P.G. Wodehouse is widely read in India. Cribananda (talk) 17:24, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, it certainly was implied that many expressions are. What else does the sentence, "Older British writers, such as Thomas Hardy and P.G. Wodehouse, who made creative and comical use of now-obsolete forms of colloquial language, might be surprised to hear the phrases and expressions that they parodied still in everyday currency among speakers of Indian English" mean? Wodehouse, in any case, didn't parody those expressions; neither was his humor that of stock phrases. The slang of Bertie Wooster and the formal diction of Jeeves were very much current in Edwardian Britain when the books began to be written. I removed the Wodehouse material because it is inaccurate. Wodehouse, for example, has never entirely gone out of fashion in either the UK or the US (where he finally settled). The BBC alone has been producing the Jeeves-Bertie Wooster serials for over 50 years now. Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, now better known for Kingdom and House, was just one pair of a long line of actors to take on the roles.
I did, by the way, read part of the S. Tharror story that was cited in the edits I removed. Some of the material there sounds apocryphal to me. It is unlikely that an educated Briton, let alone an author on a literary panel, would ask how the name "Wodehouse" was pronounced, unless they were being facetious. As for Wodehouse being popular in India, sure he probably is popular among the private-school-educated crowd. But, seriously, how large a segment of India's English speaking population of approximately 90 million does this group constitute? 1%? And what stock Wodehousian expression is now a common expression in Indian English? Can we have an example or two?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not making fun of Indian English, only making sure that it receives accurate representation here, one not fronted by the self-descriptions of an elite group of speakers. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 07:08, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
PS Let me also suggest that clues to the expressions of Indian English (as has also been suggested above) will likely lie in the native languages of the (historical) speakers, since some of these expressions have never existed in English. My guess is that the expressions were formed, or gained wide currency (and I'll have to look for sources for this) in the second half of the nineteenth century, when, in the aftermath of Wood's Education Dispatch of 1854, first the East India Company and then the British Government (through the Secretary of State for India, the India Office, and the Viceroy) opened thousands of primary-, middle- and high-schools in British India. The British were already aware of various regional and even religious differences in the evolving Indian English, as I found, to my surprise, in footnotes of volume 2 of Smith's Anglo-Vernacular Reader for the East Indies, written for middle-school students, and published in 1880. Some footnotes, for example, remarked upon particular tendencies among "Hindoo" speakers, contrasting them with those of "Muhammadan" speakers and so forth. Consider, for example, a more advanced reader, Wollaston's Indian Reader: Designed for the use of students in the Anglo-Vernacular schools of India (1877). Where, in this reader, can one find expressions that could have spawned those of current Indian English? I couldn't find even one from the article's list. Here is a typical example. In other words, it doesn't seem that they were being taught the Indian English expressions of today. And, here are two more readers/grammars of the same vintage:
I'm very confused by what you are trying to do here. If you are assuming that I'm here to defend Indian English as perfectly grammatical, but simply a remnant of the archaic British English, you are mistaken. The article does not try to do that either. I think it's pretty clear and undisputed that it is the native grammar that plays a significant role in both Indian English usage and phonetics. Anyway, please go ahead and edit the article, I'm sure a lot can be done. Cribananda (talk) 17:47, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
No, I'm not really arguing with you, but rather questioning some of the assumptions of the article or of its talk page, and generally also trying to open up the discussion a little. I myself will be on Wikibreak until July 1, but will look at some sources while away. I can help with grammar and phonetics issues, but not with the examples. In addition, as I've already stated before, I think it will be a good idea to redirect Indian English to South Asian English. There seem to be four or five "South Asian English"-related articles on Wikipedia. The best sourced (although still incomplete) is Regional_differences_and_dialects_in_Indian_English; in addition, there are Sri Lankan English, Indian English, Pakistani English, and Burmese English. I believed that the Wiki community would be better served if all these articles were redirected to South Asian English. There would also be no confusion (for an average reader) with "American Indian English" (example 1: American Indian English, example 2: America's second tongue: American Indian education and the ownership of English, 1860-1900, and example 3: O Brave New Words!: Native American Loanwords in Current English. Thanks for your reply and look forward to more discussion in July. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 18:43, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

I think the other articles are fine to be merged as South Asian English but Burmese English is too different for it be merged too I feel. Munci (talk) 16:23, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Idioms and popular words/phrases[edit]

There are many items on this list that are simply British as opposed to American English: make a move, top marks, graduate, housewife... -- (talk) 13:07, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

- Please do not add offensive phrases and idiomatic expressions. It get embarrassing to share the article with children, colleagues, and others.

While i agree that some content is not relevant, many of the listed usage words/phrases/expressions still exist today. The article definitely needs to be cleaned up. Thanks User:Indian_English —Preceding undated comment added 05:22, 4 January 2010 (UTC).

Incomplete sections[edit]

First of all, this is an excellent article. I really enjoyed reading it. I don't know much about this subject and found this fascinating. I do; however, have a couple of requests:

There are two sections early in the article about common phrases in Indian English:

-Use of yaar, machaa, abey, arey in an English conversation between Indians, mainly by people of native Hindi-speaking origin; 'ra', 'da', 'machaa' is more frequently used in the South.

-Use of "baazi"/"baaji" or "-giri" for the same purpose, as in "business-baazi" or "cheating-giri." (Also prevalent mainly in Hindi-speaking states.)

Unfortunately, none of these terms is explained -- so now I know that these terms exist, but unlike the other examples, I have no idea what they mean or what significance they have.

Can some knowledgeable person please fix this? Thanks Bogomir Kovacs (talk) 12:36, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

To be honest, I think this is a terrible article and makes for painful reading. :-) But no one ever gets around to fixing it, and it's good you enjoyed it, in any case. I don't want to look at the article right now, so I can explain here if you like. The words in the first set (yaar, machaa, abey, da, ra) are comparable to English 'dude'/'buddy'/'man', in that they are usually terms of address. 'Baazi' or 'giri' are Hindi suffixes that refer to the doing of something, comparable to, say, the "-ship" in "one-upmanship" or "stewardship" and the "-ery" in "piratery" or "cookery". They are certainly not Indian English per se; perhaps they are worth keeping in a section on code-switching. Shreevatsa (talk) 15:34, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

American bias[edit]

It seems to me (A native British English speaker) that many of the quoted examples of Indian idioms are also common in British English. The article therefore (in its present state) would be useful to people wanting to understand Indian English, especially Americans, but misleading to a scholar looking for reliable source material. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:52, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

I noticed that too. For example:
Rubber - Pencil eraser
Flat - 'Apartment' / 'Apartment house'
"Railway Station" - Train station.
"expire" - To die, especially in reference to one's family member.
Amount - a sum of money, such as "please refund the amount." or "the amount has been billed to your credit card."
Admittedly, "Amount" might be OK (I'm not sure) and "expire" is a bit iffy because of "especially in reference to one's family member" Zyxwv99 (talk) 23:46, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

I also found that:

bunk a class - To skip class without permission.
club - To merge or put two things together. "'Just club it together'"
coaching classes and tutorials - Cram school.
mess - A dining hall, especially used by students at a dormitory. 'Mess' is also used in reference to eateries catering primarily to a working class population. Originated from the military term of similar meaning.
railway station - Invariably used, whereas "train station" has become more popular in some BrE.

I am British and used to say 'bunk off', not really 'a class' we say 'a lesson' more than a class. 'Club' is used like 'club together and buy something'. I say 'coaching classes' or 'tutorials' but NEVER 'Cram school'. It feels grammatically wrong, like it should be 'cramming school'. I said called the dining room a 'mess' on a ship. Railway station is used more formally than train station. I found that we do use some of these statements and the alternatives seemed a bit American. In the first examples I say amount, and I only ever say rubber and flat, not eraser and apartment. I would only say apartment when referring to a holiday apartment. Sweetie candykim (talk) 11:18, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

I am an American and I think that the word "amount" when used as described might be unusual at most. I think it would at least be understandable. Also, it is my understanding that a flat is a type of apartment. Sam Tomato (talk) 18:53, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm British as well, but over 60 and there has been a "drift" of some terms in BrE and even American English in recent years. For example "Sitting at the Railway Station, got a ticket for my destination..." was quite normal American usage. Also it's still common with my age group to say "he's done a bunk", meaning absconded or fled, that would not be used by younger people. "Flat" is also used somewhat in North America, for example to describe the large suburbs of "French Flats" in Montreal and some other Canadian cities, being charactaristic rows of two storey walk-up apartments or flats with their own staircase opening to the street. --MichaelGG (talk) 02:07, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

what is right?[edit]

1. If people from UK and USA learn Indian national/regional language, they can't have the same accent like the Indians.
2.The expected pronunciation of English language can't be based on the pronunciation of U.K. or U.S.A. people. We can't call it standard because, it is not defined before origination of language. But it is evolved over the years. This evolution is different in India.
3. English language differs in it's script and pronunciation of it. This could be the main reason behind the very different accents of English all over the world.
4. Over the years, no. of people in the world who are speaking so called Indian_English are more than who are having English as their native language.But it doesn't mean that then based on majority Indian_English will be considered as a standard because majority people are using it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:48, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

These days, one doesn't talk of "right" and "wrong" but merely different dialects, registers, varieties. What's appropriate (/normal/prestigious) for one dialect may not be apt for another, etc. So the answer to your question ("what is right?") is that the question doesn't make sense. Shreevatsa (talk) 14:47, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
This question makes sense. This article looks biased. What is right? Nobody can answer it, and that's why it is important question. The main problem with English is that, this language is not spoken as it is written. Indian languages are based on Sanskrit. In Sanskrit script( Devnagari ),You have to read the words as they are written. Which is not the case with english. " Internet" is read as "Innernet". Many more examples can be given. —Preceding unsigned comment added by AbhijeetDh (talkcontribs) 15:33, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
If nobody can answer a question, it's often not a meaningful question. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate ways in which the varieties of English spoken in India differ from other varieties of English, which (like anywhere else) is often because of influence from local languages. The purpose is not to demonstrate "common mistakes", which seems to be what it has become. Wherever you see bias, please be bold and fix it. (Wrt your other comments: (1) Spelling pronunciation has no bearing on grammatical differences, (2) Not all Indian languages are based on Sanskrit, (3) Sanskrit was traditionally written in many scripts and standardised on Devanagari only in recent centuries, (4) Although most Indian languages do have mostly phonetic spellings, all of them involve pronunciation that does not correspond to spelling and must be learned. For example Hindi drops terminal 'a's (schwa apocope): कल is pronounced kal rather than kala as in Sanskrit, even though the two consonants have the same vowel. It also has notoriously complicated schwa syncope rules: consider पकड पकडा पकडना, which are written pakaḍa pakaḍā pakaḍanā, but pronounced pakaḍ pakḍā pakaḍnā, where the vowel/schwa after 'k' comes and goes. Consider also the noun (heartbeats) धडकनें and verb (to beat) धडकने, written almost identically dhaḍakaneṃ and dhaḍakane but pronounced dhaḍkaneⁿ and dhaḍakne, with different schwas being deleted. Of course, all these changes are natural to native speakers, and just goes to show that spelling is no barrier against learning pronunciation of words.) Shreevatsa (talk) 16:02, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

The examples given are not logical. The examples given proves the point raised above.

W.r.t. to fourth point, its clear that problem lies when writing "कल " in English. If you are using devnagari script,"कल" can not be read in multiple ways. But if you write "Kal",it can have multiple pronunciations. Word written in most of Indian script, have unique pronunciation. If a word is written "पकड़", it should be read as Pakad only. But in english if a word is written as "pakada" it can be read as pakad,pakada etc.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by AbhijeetDh (talkcontribs) 05:56, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

In my opinion at least, it is wrong to use "no." instead of "number" unless there is a limited amount of space. Also, "who are having English" should be "who have English" or "with English". Also, "majority Indian_English" should be "majority of Indian_English" and "standard because majority people" should be "standard because the majority of people". Yes, it is really scary to think that the English language should be used in the uncorrected manner just because the majority uses it that way. Sam Tomato (talk) 18:46, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Indian languages have /θ/ (as in "thin") and /ð/ (as in "the")[edit]

The article says: All major native languages of India lack the dental fricatives (/θ/ and /ð/; spelled with th). Usually, the aspirated voiceless dental plosive [t̪ʰ] is substituted for /θ/ and the unaspirated voiced dental plosive [d̪], or possibly the aspirated version [d̪ʱ]. is substituted for /ð/.[14] For example, "thin" would be realized as [t̪ʰɪn] instead of /θɪn/.

Can someone correct this? Thanks. -- (talk) 12:46, 26 July 2010 (UTC)


Currently listed among the Indian English idioms is Caesarean, is commonly used for Caesarean section.

What the? Calling it a Caesarean is pretty common among English speakers everywhere. This doesn't really belong on a list of specifically Indian idioms.

Ordinary Person (talk) 23:02, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. I've deleted the entry. Azzurro2882 (talk) 16:15, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Deletion of sections 'Grammar Quirks' and 'Interjections and casual references'[edit]

I don't see why incorrect Indian English grammar needs to be mentioned in an encyclopaedia. The 'Grammar Quirks' section could might as well be renamed "commonly used incorrect English used by Indians." I think it should be deleted. The "Interjections" section, while less inappropriate than the "Quirks" section, also does not belong to an encyclopaedia, in my opinion. Azzurro2882 (talk) 16:20, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

People not from India need to be able to understand the English used by people in India and the people of India need to know what English might be difficult to understand by people outside of India. Are you saying that the people of India do not want to understand? Sam Tomato (talk) 18:35, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Increased use of Subjunctive?[edit]

One trait I often notice in Indian speakers of English - that I don't see mentioned in the article - is a tendency to use the subjunctive much more often than I would expect from a speaker of NA or RP. (e.g., "We would run some tests tonight and let you know the result" or "I would be out of the office next week" when there is no implied condition or hypothetical). Have others noticed this trait? And, if so, is anyone in a position to comment on whether it reflects grammatical forms found in Indian languages, or to comment on whether it represents a consistent distinction that happens to be drawn in a different place than NA/RP but that still has a bright line between situations that call for 'will' versus 'would'? Willhsmit (talk) 22:51, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

I am a programmer, not a language expert, but I have been editing technical articles written by other programmers in India for a few years. So I do not understand what a subjunctive is but otherwise I have noticed that what you describe here is accurate. My impression is that it is a misunderstanding of verb tense; "would" is past tense yet the people of India use it when they should be saying "will" for the future. It would really, really help me to have an authority I can refer to that will help them understand. Sam Tomato (talk) 18:26, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
Also I wish people would use quotes instead of apostrophes when quoting. In other words, 'will' versus 'would' should be "will" versus "would". British people are most likely to use apostrophes instead of quotes. Misuse of apostrophes began in an effort to save ink, which is currently irrelevant in many ways. Sam Tomato (talk) 18:31, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

New additions[edit]

I added these but then thought twice about it and decided to post them here first. My boss and 5 coworkers use Indian English and these are two things I've noticed they've said. I have a few more that I can't think of right now. Do they seem okay to add?

  • "Why because" instead of "because" (i.e. "I went to the store why because we were out of milk.")
  • "Since" used to indicate duration of time (i.e. "I've been here since a long time.")

easytoplease (talk) 01:41, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

The first statement isn't Indian English. It's incorrect English. Not too sure about the second line. Azzurro2882 (talk) 03:24, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

It's a problem related to morphology. In Hindi, the double conjunction "kyoo kee" is used to specify a reason. In English, only a single conjunction is used in such context. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:16, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

How about "only" as in "I will be here only", meaning "I will still be here"? I've also heard it as in "I will be at home only", i.e. "I'm not going anywhere". That one makes more sense in American English. easytoplease (talk) 23:06, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Most of the Indians speak incorrect English. An English website that operates from India had omitted the necessary conjunctions in a sentence that contains three verbs related to each other. If news papers and websites use the non-standard/sub-standard language, it is not difficult to imagine the English proficiency of a low educated man. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:01, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

"Since" used to indicate duration[edit]

"Since" should not be used to indicate the duration of time. You can say "I have been here since 1983" but you should not say "I have been here since 30 years". "Since" can be used to indicate the starting point but not the span of anything. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:11, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Indian English users do not follow the difference between "since" and "for". "Since" means "from that point" or "from the starting point". It is semantically and grammatically incorrect to use "since" to indicate duration.

Mispronounciations and odd usage[edit]

These are some more odds I have noticed.

  • "Minuscule" spelled and pronounced as "misincule".
  • "Millennium" used as synonym of "million". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:33, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Consonant and Vowel inventory??[edit]

Does someone have some information on the consonant and vowel inventories for Indian English phonetics? It's important stuff. We need a chart. (talk) 05:39, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

So what exactly is Indian English?[edit]

This article seems to be about the way Indians, in general, speak English, and not about native Indian English speakers. As a native English speaker from India, I find this article inaccurate, and frankly, quite offensive. I might be part of a extremely small minority of Indians who consider English their first language, but shouldn't this article be about "proper" Indian English? Even the lines that are cited (especially by "JC Wells", a 1982 publication) seem to be about how Indians incorrectly pronounce and speak English. So I'm beginning to wonder if this article is about how Indians stereotypically speak English, or about the Indian dialect of English. Azzurro2882 (talk) 03:47, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Well, based on Sedlatschek's book, there's no consensus on what it is! Tijfo098 (talk) 08:28, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
The empirical research in this area is rather sketchy, but there's no shortage of theory-laden views. Sedlatschek (p. 2) "The conceptualization of IndE as a linguistic entity has posed challenges, and its existence as a variety in its own right has repeatedly been questioned. Although linguists nowadays agree widely that IndE has established itself as an “independent language tradition” (Gramley/Pätzold 1992: 441) not to be mistaken for an impoverished version of the ‘Queen’s English’, the question of just how unique or different IndE is as compared to other varieties of English is open. Should IndE be treated as an autonomous language system (Verma 1978, 1982)? Should it be treated as “‘normal English’ with more or less learner-specific deviations” (Schmied 1994: 217)? Or should it be treated as a “modular” (Krishnaswamy/Burde 1998), “national” (Carls 1994) or “international”(Trudgill/Hannah 2002) variety? It is surprising to see that in spite of the plethora of publications from theoretical, historical and sociolinguistic perspectives (cf. Carls 1979; Leitner 1985; Ramaiah 1988), comparatively little empirical linguistic research has been conducted on the structure and use of IndE that would help us put the available hypotheses to test." (p. 32) "there is to date no comprehensive dictionary or style guide that would document the extent of lexical-grammatical nativization in the Indian subcontinent and be up to the standards of present-day lexicographical research". (p. 40) "The available descriptions of IndE are marred by several shortcomings that a new description of IndE must set out to minimize. The major weakness of feature-list descriptions of IndE lies in their presentation of data in a decontextualized fashion without documenting the stability of individual items, their domains of use and their overall relevance for IndE as a linguistic entity. The available IndE usage guides are mostly based on introspection rather than factual research and tend to disregard (and, in the case of Yadurajan 2001, also occasionally disrespect) local usage norms, which is likely to instill a sense of linguistic insecurity in users rather than provide ‘guidance’. Corpus-based descriptions of IndE, on the other hand, have been more successful in pinpointing the status of individual Indianisms, suggesting inroads of nativization, and illustrating external influences, for example from AmE. However, the areas investigated have so far been restricted mostly to the written domain, and cross-varietal comparison has often been limited to BrE and AmE." Tijfo098 (talk) 08:34, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
Azurro, Indian English isn't kutti pi assuming the allusion that Indian English is about native speakers and further assuming that it is implied that these native speakers are Anglo Indians, if I am jumping the gun and that is not what you mean, I withdraw the statement, so the strike through. Indian English could be English based on the latest edition of Wren and Martin, as edited by N. D. V. Prasada Rao, Tijfo since you must be watching this place another IE reference. For example we have railway and highway, and petrol, lift, flat, tiffin, hotel, picnic, strike, corruption, wagon, dickey, dinner, bumper, mud guard, shut down, zero budget, holy cow, rock oil, with laws and the like made every day, neologism would be created, which would eventually gain acceptance. Yogesh Khandke (talk) 00:34, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
More words: Wash, bath room, WC, terms like sofa cum bed, hall for sitting room, kitchen cum dining, Ladies bar, item song, etc.Yogesh Khandke (talk) 01:29, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
As one who has a degree in English linguistics, I take it as a dialect. There's African American Vernacular English, British English, Minnesotan English, etc. To me it seems that a discussion of a dialect focuses on the differences it has from the reference language. They have to be pretty general. I theoretically speak Minnesotan English, but it doesn't mean I use all of the idioms or pronunciations. It's just kind of a gathering of examples. I feel bad that you are offended and hope I haven't added to that. easytoplease (talk) 23:20, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

This article itself is a joke. The whole article must be deleted. Errors related to syntax, phonology and morphology done by Indian English speakers are classified as Indian dialect of English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:31, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Even some of the Anglo-Indians speak incorrect English if they learn the language in the school. My neighbours are Anglo-Indians and even they do pronounce "birth day" as "birt day". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:04, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

I am an editor of technical articles written by people in India. People outside of India need to know what a fresher or a snap, when used in the manner that only the people of India use them, is. Also, the people of India need to know what words such as those are only used in India. Sam Tomato (talk) 18:15, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

I still have never gotten an explanation of what they mean by "different-different" and other words duplicated with a hyphen to separate the duplications. Sam Tomato (talk) 18:13, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Delete the Idioms and popular words/phrases section[edit]

This section is filled with nonsense. Delete it, start from scratch with actual citations. (talk) 16:30, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Completely agree! I'll hide it right now, if people can find cites for any they can be moved out to view. —SpacemanSpiff 16:34, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Divergent usage[edit]

I have just read this article for the first time and admit to no knowledge of Indian English except for dealing with Indian contract IT staff from Bangalore.

However, the 'Divergent usage' element seems to contain a considerable percentage of items, which as described here, are perfectly normal 'British' English usage and I'm at a loss to see why they are listed as divergent. These include the usage of:

  • Kindly
  • Even
  • Hero
  • Dialogue
  • Timing
  • Amount
  • Damn
  • Dress
  • Engagement
  • Graduation
  • Flyover
  • Godown
  • Gully
  • Mugging up
  • Tiffin
  • Into
  • Like nothing or like anything
  • Ragging
  • Thrice
  • Double and triple (in phone numbers)
  • "The same" instead of "it"
  • Word pair "up to" into upto.

I would suggest that the section is therefore, as written, not fit for purpose. At a minimum it should be described as differences from American/International English. DickyP (talk) 19:51, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

I would suggest that this section be tabularised and for those words/phrases for which an equivalent Contemporary/American/International English word/phrase exists, it should be provided. User:shantnup —Preceding undated comment added 06:23, 26 December 2011 (UTC).

Time to delete this bogus pageNew page name?[edit]

I'm sure the point I'm about to make has been made upstairs by others; in fact, I think DickyP seems to be making it as well. I claim there's nothing called Indian English. To be sure there are words or expressions that are sometimes used by Indians when they speak English that are peculiar to the subcontinent, but this list is quite short. These expressions are either slightly older expressions of British English (such as thrice), or words of Anglo-India (such as tiffin, station) or are expressions that are considered ungrammatical by the more fluent Indian speakers themselves. The English spoken in India (the standard variety) is not syntactically different from Standard British English. There is no grammar of Indian English, no dictionary of Indian English. This page is simply a list of expressions, many ungrammatical, that native speakers of Indian vernaculars use when they speak English as a second or third language. It's time to either delete this page, or change its title to a more accurate one, such as: List of words or expressions ... Fowler&fowler«Talk» 11:29, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

No to deletion, Yes to name change. Continuing this discussion to decide on a better name would be more accurate and productive. Simply because, some expressions used by Indians have completely different meanings, most obvious example being fired (yelled at, or scolded) vs fired (employment termination), which I've heard first hand, on many occasions. --IncidentFlux [ TalkBack | Contributions ] 11:51, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
Likewise, my own Indian co-workers sometimes use somewhat-odd expressions... and have explicitly used the term "Indian English" to describe such oddities. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:06, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
OK, I've changed the section title. I guess I see the need for such a page, but I'm troubled by the banner in this talk page which proclaims: this article uses Indian English. None of the colloquial expressions that are used in spoken English in India are considered correct in written Indian English. None of the pages that purportedly use "Indian English," are divergent any way from standard written British English. So I'm perplexed what the banner means. Perhaps I should conduct the discussion on the talk page of the template, as someone suggested. But talk pages of templates seldom attract many editors. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 06:17, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
New article name could be more regional, such as 'South Asian English expressions', it would include variations on English by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Since there are many similarities and usage overlap between them, in some cases. Don't think there are that many variations yet, that each country needs their own article. Banner seems overkill, it might sense years down the line, but not at the moment, but I'd like to hear from others on this as well. --IncidentFlux [ TalkBack | Contributions ] 10:42, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
A big NO to the proposal. There's nothing "bogus" in this page name. GHits, books and scholar clearly show that the original claim was a bad faith nomination. Shovon (talk) 11:16, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid, Shovon76, there's no reliably published dictionary of Indian English, nor, more importantly, is there a grammar. The published dictionaries are retitled facsimile reprints of Hobson-Jobson (a hundred year old glossary of Anglo-Indian (in the 19th century meaning of the word) terms). The on-line versions are personal ones compiled by people who are recalling family lore. These compilers are clueless about the global history of these words. For example one "dictionary" in Shovon76's list has words such as "gum boots," which can be founf even in dictionaries of American English. According to the same on-line dictionary, "allright" in Indian English means okay, but the second meaning in Webster's is "yes, agreed : very well," which is the same thing. Other words such as "fags" for cigarettes and "fagged out" for tired are older slang words in American and British English respectively. There are very few expressions (e.g. "batch-mate") that are localized to the subcontinent and they are usually expressions of "South Asian English," not just Indian English. As Ravinder Gargesh says in his article, "South Asian Englishes,", in the Handbook of World Englishes, "There is at present no prescribed or defined standard of English in South Asia." It is very difficult then to understand what the sentence, "This article uses Indian English" means. More pertinently, for the purposes of a written Encyclopedia, is there a difference between, Standard written English and "standard" written Indian English? If so, I'd like a reference for it. I think IncidentFlux's proposal of changing the name to "South Asian English expressions" is a good one. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:41, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
According to me, we should prepone this decision. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:05, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Doubts on "doubt"[edit]

I am a European who frequents some online discussion forums where many participants are from Asia and in particular from India. A very common and somewhat confusing idiom I see over and over is the word "doubt" used roughly to mean "question" or "problem". Is this peculiar to Indian English, or does it trace to a translation from some particular language of India (e.g. Hindi English)? I gleefully note one occurrence elsewhere on this page as of today (although by the time somebody reads this, it might have been edited out).-- era (Talk | History) 06:42, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

The Anglo-Indian of Rudyard Kipling's time[edit]

Shouldn't there be a separate topic for the variety of English known as Anglo-Indian (not to be confused with the people known as Anglo-Indian)? It seems to have been spoken by the English in India since the days of Queen Elizabeth (when the Mughal Empire ruled) and by anyone who did business with the English. Entire dictionaries have been written about it. Many of its words became part of general English and were incorporated into the OED (e.g., "ruttee"). Once India and Pakistan gained independence, it evolved so rapidly (in two different directions) that it became something very different. Zyxwv99 (talk) 16:33, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Non-Comparative "Less"[edit]

My Indian colleagues use the word less instead of few or little, e.g. in phrases like "Two man-months are too less to implement this feature." or "We are very less people here this week."

In comparisons, they usually say lesser. AFAICT all of my (south-)Indian colleagues use it that way. I find it quite remarkable, but I never saw it mentioned anywhere else (not in this article, either). I don't know if it can be considered a feature of Indian English. Is it? --史慧开 (talk) 09:47, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Use of "there/not there"[edit]

One of the first things I noticed about English as spoken in India after arriving there was the use of "is [not] there" to mean what an American English speaker would more normally express as "we [do not] have". Go into a store and ask for milk and the answer could easily be "Milk is not there." Rtmyers (talk) 03:12, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

English medium schools in India do not train their students in using the verbs (have, has, had). So, most of the English medium students use "there/not there" instead of "have/has/had". Even my bother did use the sentence "3G connection is there in my phone" instead of the sentence "My phone has 3G connection". The first sentence is grammatically wrong and the second one is right.

That's the problem with lack of proficiency in English. It is not solely related to the regional dialect. Even in India, a hardware shop's owner can display the board containing the sentence "Floppies are not available" instead of using the sentence "Floppies are not there". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:06, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Indian English question[edit]

My question is, why do speakers of Indian English often type in all capital letters? (Example) I patrol Recent Edits and notice it all the time. Is this acceptable English for India-related Wikipedia articles, or should I be reverting it?- Gilliam (talk) 13:41, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Well, being a very exprienced 'wikipedian' you should know that troll peoples come from all places, whether they are americans/indians/chinese/russians here in wikipedia and try to vandalize/distrupt it with writing all sentences in captital letters, and lots of other method. Now, you are generalizing that one indian (or more) came and wrote all words in capital letters now mean that ALL indian english speakers often type in capital letters?! What if a american/chinese/russian whatever comes and write all words in captial, then you make a statement that, why all americans/chinese/russians often type in all captial letters, right? I didn't expected that you, a exprienced editor here in wikipedia will attack indians this way. Shame on you!

Capital letters should be used only for these following purposes:

  • To begin a sentence (Only the first letter of the first word should be capital).
  • To use it as the first letter of a proper noun. (The word "language" is a common noun and the word "Telugu" is a proper noun. The first letter of the word "language" needed not be capital since it is a common noun. The first letter of the word "Telugu" must be capital since it is a proper noun. )

It is unnecessary and also grammatically wrong to use all capital letters in a word or a sentence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:15, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Using "but" before a sentence[edit]

I have seen many Indians who use "but" before a sentence. Example: But, I will drink milk today though I woke up late.

It's grammatically wrong. The conjunction "but" must be used only between two sentences. It should not be used before a sentence. You can use "however" in such context. Example: However, Timothy may go to Sydney on a plane since he missed the train.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:49, 13 June 2013 (UTC)


Under the section “Phonology”#“Consonants”, it says, “Standard Hindi and most other vernaculars (except Punjabi, Marathi & Bengali) do not differentiate between /v/ (voiced labiodental fricative) and /w/ (voiced labiovelar approximant).” This contradicts the articles Punjabi, Marathi and Bengali, which all say that said languages do not distinguish /v/ and /w/. Error of information?--Solomonfromfinland (talk) 15:50, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

"V" is voiced labiodental in Hindi. "W" is not found in Modern Hindi. Please read the book Modern Hindi Grammar by Omkar N. Kaul.

Broken links[edit]

Many, probably most, of the external links are broken. Sam Tomato (talk) 18:01, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Long ago, I added some external links and subsequently those links were deleted by Indian English users. Indian English is not a real dialect. Many Indians use English with grammatical errors and claim it Indian English. If we expose the facts about Indian English, these people get frustrated. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:26, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

The given link of Jason Baldridge's article is missing. I found his article here [5].

Not a Facebook page for tourists[edit]

I've removed inaccuracies in the lead and added some history. I'd like to emphasize that this is an encyclopedia page about the history, phonology, morphology, and syntax of Indian English. English has been in use on the Indian subcontinent since the first half of the 19th century. Indian English is increasingly treated as a dialect of English. Not only does it find mention in the Oxford English Dictionary, but it is also, during the last decade, the subject a number of lexical and phonological studies. They are the sources that should be used. This page is not just about expressions of Indian English that tourists or visitors to India find curious or entertaining. Besides, in many instances, they get it wrong. Please use the scholarly sources below or the OED to cite your edits. Best regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 12:59, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

PS Here are some examples of Indian English usage (though by no means exclusive) that are to be found in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

  • academic (noun): U.S., Canad., and Indian English. In pl. Reading, thinking, and study as opposed to technical or practical work.
    • Examples:
      • 1974 Anderson (S. Carolina) Independent 18 Apr. 4 b/1 ‘They must be good in academics as well as coordination,’ she said.
      • 1991 Hindu (Madras) 6 Dec. 27/2 For 14 years he immersed himself in academics and was a fine achiever.
  • accomplish (verb, transitive) To make complete or perfect; to fit out or equip. Also with with. Now chiefly Indian English.
    • Examples:
      • 1970 S. K. Kochhar Secondary School Admin. (2008) 222 We can only have the best work-man if we accomplish him with the best tools.
      • 1992 H. L. Chopra in V. Grover Polit. Thinkers Mod. India XVII. lxiii. 488 His insatiable thirst for knowledge accomplished him with all modern standards of scholarship.
  • airdash (verb intransitive) Indian English, to make a quick journey by air, esp. in response to an emergency or crisis; (also occas. trans.) to send (a person) on such a journey.
    • Examples:
      • 1973 Hindustan Times Weekly 25 Mar. 1 Governor B. K. Nehru, who airdashed to Shillong yesterday, flew back to Imphal today.
      • 2002 Hindu (Nexis) 14 Jan., It is time for the Prime airdash to London.

These are not listed in the article. On the other hand, some poster boys (or whipping boys) of Indian English usage, such as "do the needful," are still occasionally used in BrE (albeit humorously, eg. 1992 J. Torrington Swing Hammer Swing! xiii. 118, I went over to the drinks cabinet to do the needful.)

Mainly, though, if you can't cite usage (that you think might be Indian English) to something reliable (such as the sources listed above), please don't add it to the article. You are welcome to discuss it here. Best regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:03, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Indian English is not a real dialect. The grammar and phonology used by Indian English speakers is suggested by their native languages. I am a non-English speaking Indian and I haven't seen any people (except Anglo-Indians) who speak English in their day to day lives. African-American Vernacular English (Black slang) can be considered a dialect because it is a native language for a community in a region, but Indian English is an acquired one and not related to nativity.
I also disagree with Wikipedians' comments on retroflexion of "t and d" in Indian English. For native English speakers, "t and d" are only dental. Most of Indian English speakers do not have conversations with native English speakers. Therefore Indians think that "t and d" are retroflex in English. It is not true that alveolar consonants in English sound like retroflex to Indian ears.
I also disagree with the comments of Fowler&fowler. English has been in use in India since the inception of trade by British East India Company. However, it is not used by many Indians in their daily lives. Even if some Indian English speakers try to imitate British accent, their English can't be called a dialect. I read English books in the library but do not speak English at home. Many Indians do not even go to libraries and they are not aware "how English is used by native English speakers".

Praveen-vizag (talk) 01:33, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

A dialect or regional variety of a language doesn't have to be one spoken by first language (L1) speakers, it can be spoken and sustained by second-language (L2) speakers as well. Until well into the 20th century, English was L2 for some in Ireland (the Irish L1 speakers), Scotland (Scots L1 speakers), Wales (Welsh L1 speakers). The speakers of Anglo-Cornish, a dialect of English spoken in Cornwall, were once (in the 17th and 18th centuries) L2 speakers as well, being L1 speakers of Cornish. (This was the case even though these languages are Germanic languages with historical links to Old- and Middle-English.)
We say very clearly at the outset that India is an L2 country, that the proportion of Indians who speak English with reasonable facility are probably no more than five per cent. But 5% of 1.2 billion is 60 million people, larger than the population of many L1 English countries. Regardless of what we personally think about the nature Indian English, the reliable sources treat it as a regional variety of English which over time (now nearly 200 years) has evolved distinctive syntax and pronunciation. If scholarly books are written on a subject, per Wikipedia guidelines, it becomes notable. That's all there is to it. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 03:39, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

An acquired one cannot be compared with a native dialect even if it is used by many. In my street, only one family speaks English at home. They are Anglo-Indians (scions of the Englishmen who settled in India during the British era). Cockney isn't used by many. It is confined only to London and nearby. Still it is called a dialect but Indian English is not. Read this discussion here [6].

Praveen-vizag (talk) 06:29, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Even many Indian teachers are not aware "how English is used by native English speakers". I had a discussion with an Indian teacher on Indian English question. He was reluctant to agree that many Indians aren't proficient in English. He said "The problem specified by you is about off-shore projects. There is no much problem with Indian English in teaching and seminars". There could be a proficient English speaker from an AAVE spoken zone in the USA but not from India.

Praveen-vizag (talk) 07:21, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Anecdotal evidence, whether in the form of what happens on your street or what people say in blogs, is irrelevant for Wikipedia, though it may be very interesting in other contexts. If reliable third-party sources exist on a topic, it becomes notable and worthy of inclusion in Wikipedia. Scholarly sources are the most reliable of sources (see WP:Reliable Sources#Some_types_of_sources.) That scholarly sources on Indian English exist is undeniable. Examples are listed both above and in the references. Indian English is therefore a notable topic. A "dialect," is a regional variety of a language; it doesn't have to be L1. Wikipedia's page Dialect lists Standard Indian English as an example of standard dialect. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 09:29, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Mr Fowler, you are not aware about the teaching system we have in India. There are teachers in India who have B.Ed. certificate but not aware about spelling rules in English. These teachers cannot train their students in using correct phonology and syntax. Come to India and speak with some Indian students and teachers. Then you may understand about the problem with Indian English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:23, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

If an Indian uses "astonish" instead of "surprise", it does not mean "astonish" is an Indian English word. Read the book "Constructs of Indian English" [7]. Praveen-vizag (talk) 10:36, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

I suggest you take that up with the authors of the books listed above or with the Oxford English Dictionary, whose 2013 draft edition has some 700 expressions of "Indian English," including some listed in the article. You are wasting both my time and likely your own. This is not the forum for those discussions. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 10:46, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

I am a student in economics and my medium of instruction is English. I have more to do with standard English but not with sub-standard variants like Indian English. An economist need not be a lexicographer but he should be aware about the standard use of the language he uses for his study. Praveen-vizag (talk) 10:53, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

What was the valid evidence shown by the Wikipedians to prove that alveolar consonants sound like retroflex to Indian ears? Is there any biological difference between British ears and Indian ears? English is an official language in India. It is used in government offices, police stations and courts here. Inside the court, I can understand "what the judge dictates to the clerk in English" but a villagefolk may not. We have such technical problems with usage of English in India. Still some people insist that India is an English speaking country and there is a dialect called Indian English. Wikipedia relies on sources but Wikipedians have responsibility to check the credibility of those sources. Praveen-vizag (talk) 11:54, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Although during the sensitive period of language acquisition, the infant brain is open to all sounds, its phonemic sensitivity gradually decreases thereafter to allow it to concentrate on higher order structures of the surrounding (L1) language such as stress patterns and intonation. Indian languages, especially Dravidian languages, don't have alveolar stops (neither laminal-alveolar nor apico-alveolar), only retroflex (subapical-palatal). Most Indians learn English as L2, when they are past the sensitive period of language acquisition and consequently hear sounds in other languages through the phonemic prism of their first language. British speakers of L2 Hindi (such as some linguists) have the same problem, but in the reverse. It has nothing to do with British or Indian ears, but everything to do with development of the human brain. Immigrants from India in the US or Britain, even though they live among L1 speakers, are not usually able to distinguish clearly between alveolar stops and retroflex. Adult immigrants are seldom able to clearly reproduce alveolar stops even after decades. A nine month old child on the other hand, doesn't have to be told where to place his tongue, whether to use the tip, the blade or the underside, etc. They can faithfully reproduce the sounds spoken in their environment (with help from their parents of course). That Indian speakers use retroflex sounds is simply a distinguishing feature of Indian English, not a mark of sub-standard usage as you seem to be implying. Again, this is not a forum for airing personal beliefs. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 13:26, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

It's not my personal opinion. My native language is Telugu. Our language has no alveolar consonants but it has dental and retroflex varieties of coronal consonants. We were taught English by Indian speakers of English and therefore most of us often use retroflex varieties while pronouncing coronal consonants in English. Not only Wikipedia, some other websites also cite that Dravidian languages have no dental consonants. As a speaker of a dravidian language, I stress that coronal consonants doesn't necessarily sound like retroflex to speakers of my language. If someone puts the misguiding information in Wikipedia from a non-credible source, I can't help. I even own a website on Telugu grammar and phonology. According to Wikipedia's link policy, I cannot promote my own website here but another user can add the link of my website in Wikipedia. I can wait till then. Praveen-vizag (talk) 15:11, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

I'm afraid no one can add material from a web site in the article, especially not one on Telugu. Only peer-reviewed reliable sources are allowed on Wikipedia, which the website is not. This is my last reply. You very obviously have an axe to grind, are shifting the warrants of your arguments, one minute a student of economics eager to learn standard English, another a linguists of Telugu. Whatever you are, please read up on WP:Policy. If you don't abide by policy, you stand in danger of being blocked. Meanwhile, I will examine the reference to alveolar stops etc in the article. Someone else added it, but I will look at the sources and either add the supportive ones, or remove the statement. Best regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:49, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Even I am not afraid. Here is the internal link on Telugu phonology [8]. Wikipedia would gain nothing if it blocks me. People of my linguistic group (Telugu) use both varieties of coronal consonants in their day-to-day speech. I disagree only with the statement that alveolar consonants sound like retroflex to Indian ears. I have no disagreements with other comments on phonology.

Praveen-vizag (talk) 16:26, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Retroflexion is not the only reason for odd pronunciations in Indian English. Indian languages have less vowel sounds and diphthongs compared to European languages. Therefore cot and caught are merged in Indian English. It is easy to avoid retroflexion. Just move your tongue towards the teeth and avoid curling it back. Then a dental plosive comes from your mouth. Avoiding cot and caught merger is a difficult task for Indians but avoiding retroflexion is not. Praveen-vizag (talk) 22:23, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

These are not my words but from another scholar [9]. Praveen-vizag (talk) 10:22, 29 March 2014 (UTC)


I think there is a need to discuss the origin of Indian English. The language of the rulers and the ruled has not been the same in India for the past 2000 years. In ancient India, Sanskrit was the language of ruling classes and Prakrit was the language of the ruled. In the middle ages, Persian was the language of the ruling classes and now so is English. I visited a town in Maharashtra. There are no English sign boards in that town except on banks, police station and railway station. The language used for official purposes is not often used for colloqial use. This is the current position of English use in India. Indian English speakers often use redundancies like "revert back" and "reply back" but official records used in government offices do not have such words. Indian English is a colloqial language but not a standard dialect. Therefore I was surprised when I was informed that there is a dialect called "Standard Indian English". In B.A. English syllabus, we have lessons about British English and American English. We have no lessons on Indian English because a colloquial language is not attributed importance by any university. However, we need to know "why Indian English users commit grammatical errors". An American English speaker can understand British English because there are few grammatical differences between American and British Englishes, but he cannot understand Indian English which is highly influenced by the grammar of the mother tongue of the speaker. Praveen-vizag (talk) 11:10, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

It is not possible to standardise Indian English. Indians have Hindi as lingua franca. Since 1947, India has been socially and culturally not connected with the Great Britain. Therefore, Indians need not rely much on English for inter-ethnic communication.

Removed long unsourced lists[edit]

I have removed the long lists of unsourced expressions of Indian English. This article is not the List of expressions of Indian English; rather, it is about the history, syntax, and phonology of the dialect. Eight years ago, when I arrived on Wikipedia, books Indian English were few and far between. But now, as I have demonstrated above, a number of reliable studies exist.

Random long lists, in any case, serve no purpose in an encyclopedia article. Examples can be added judiciously in the relevant sections of an expanded Indian English article in order to illustrate notable (syntactical or lexical) features of the dialect. But that requires a grammatical description of those features first. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 02:31, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

I think the sentence "My all friends are like this only" is a syntactic error. It is not just related to expression. Praveen-vizag (talk) 15:11, 29 March 2014 (UTC)