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Hinglish, a portmanteau of Hindi and English, is the macaronic hybrid use of English and South Asian languages, involving code-switching between these languages whereby they are freely interchanged within a sentence or between sentences.[1] While the name is based on the Hindi language, it does not refer exclusively to Hindi, but "is used in India, with English words blending with Punjabi, and Hindi, and also within British Asian families to enliven standard English."[1][2]


Since the time of British Raj, there has been a history of Indic words making place in English. Raj is a Hindi word for 'rule', "British Raj" itself is an example of one of the earliest Hinglish words. Guru, yoga, ghee, pyjama and thug are a few examples. Similarly, many English loan words also came to stay in India. Time, Late, School, College, District, State etc. are example of few words which have naturalised in Indic languages, long before the word Hinglish came into being.

In recent years, due to an increase in literacy and connectivity, the interchange and mixing of languages has reached new heights, especially in social media, leading to the recognition of Hinglish.

Going mainstream[edit]

Columnist Devyani Chaubal was the first author to use Hinglish in her work.[3] Author Shobhaa De then began to use Hinglish elements in her books and columns in the Indian magazine Stardust.[3] Other authors who have used Hinglish extensively in their novels are Salman Rushdie and Upamanyu Chatterjee.[4]

Over the years, Hinglish has been effectively used in Indian advertising in advertising slogans, like Pepsi's 1998 slogan Yeh Dil Maange More! (This heart desires more!), Yehi hai right choice, Baby (This is the Right Choice, Baby), Yeh Hai Youngistaan (This is the country of the young).[5]

In 2003, a trend of Hinglish pop songs was popularized by DJ Aqeel whose Tu Hai Wohi became a success. Other Hinglish songs soon followed like "Chadti Jawani Meri Chaal Mastani" by Harry Anand which samples the "The Ketchup Song" and Kaanta Laga by DJ Doll.[6][7]

In 2005, Baljinder Kaur Mahal (pen name BK Mahal) wrote a book called The Queen's Hinglish: How to Speak Pukka[8] published by Collins.

A full-fledged Hinglish Novel was published by Richa Devesar in March,2015.[9]

A dictionary for Hinglish has also been published.[1]


This is more commonly seen in urban and semi-urban centers of the Hindi-speaking states of India,[6] and is spoken even by the Indian diaspora.[citation needed] Many speakers do not realize that they are incorporating English words into Hindi sentences or Hindi words into English sentences.[citation needed] David Crystal, a British linguist at the University of Wales, projected in 2004 that at about 350 million, the world's Hinglish speakers may soon outnumber native English speakers.[10]

Hinglish is also affecting the English spoken in the United Kingdom, with the adaptation of words and expressions used by Indian immigrants and their offspring into colloquial English in the United Kingdom.[1]

Aspects and examples[edit]

Hinglish refers not just to the use of Indic language words into English, but vice versa also.

Example of using Indic Words in an English sentence: How to Speak Pukka.

Some examples of Hinglish vocabulary are:[1][11]

  • airdash: going somewhere in a hurry
  • pre-pone: the opposite of postpone, to bring something forward in time
  • co-brother: brother-in-law - Co-brother, to be very precise, is the sister-in-law's husband
  • Eve teasing: street sexual harassment
  • glassy: wanting a drink
  • timepass: a distraction to pass the time
  • badmash: naughty person

Hinglish is also the way English is pronounced by people speaking Hindi. Example of Hinglish:

  • 'juo' for you
  • 'pphunny' for funny,
  • 'pphOOr' for four/for,
  • 'iskool' for school,
  • 'ispade' for spade and other twin consonants starting with the letter 's' at the beginning of a word.

The above pronunciations are typically used in rural areas.[citation needed] The urban population uses the Indian English pronunciation.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Coughlan, Sean (8 November 2006). "It's Hinglish, innit?" (PDF). BBC News Magazine. Archived from the original on 25 February 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Hinglish is the new NRI and global language". The Times of India. 2 February 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Kasbekar, Asha (2006). Pop Culture India!: Media, Arts, and Lifestyle. Popular Culture in the Contemporary World. ABC-CLIO. p. 93. ISBN 978-1851096367. Retrieved 13 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Kasbekar 2006, p. 94
  5. ^ "Pepsi ads: From 'Yehi hai right choice' to catering youngistaan". The Economic Times. 15 Dec 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Thakur, Saroj; Dutta, Kamlesh; Thakur, Aushima (2007). Davis, Graeme; Bernhardt, Karl, eds. "Hinglish: Code switching, code mixing and indigenization in multilingual environment". Lingua et Linguistica. Journal of Language and Linguistics. 1.2: 112–6. ISBN 978-1-84799-129-4. 
  7. ^ A. Vishnu (6 August 2010). "Age of `hinglish' remixes". The Hindu. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Goerlandt, Iannis (2009). Literature for Europe?. Rodopi Publishers. p. 162. ISBN 90-420-2716-9. 
  9. ^ "Tricity gives birth to first novel in Hinglish". The Times of India. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Scott Baldauf (November 23, 2004). "A Hindi-English jumble, spoken by 350 million". Christian Science Monitor. 
  11. ^ O'Brien, Jane (13 December 2012). "Learn English online: How the internet is changing language". BBC News Magazine. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]