In 2018 the British Council is celebrating 70 years of working together with it’s partners in India. A wide programme of activities is planned to mark this anniversary, with an overarching aim of highlighting the positive cultural influences and exchanges between India and the UK during this period, and in future. The 70 Words from India project aims to highlight how the English language has evolved and advanced, with the inclusion of words of Indian origin.
70 Words From India’s aim of course, is to highlight how the English language has evolved and advanced with the inclusion of words of Indian origin. But, the use of English of course, is no longer just the preserve of the British and other major English-speaking countries, who use it as their lingua franca. In the September 2017 update to the Oxford English Dictionary, for example, 70 new Indian words were added to an already existing 900 entries, “identified as distinctive to Indian English“. These were drawn equally from: Telugu, Urdu, Tamil, Hindi and Gujarati. This is not a new phenomenon either. First compiled by Colonel Henry Yule and A.C Burnell, is the iconic dictionary Hobson-Jobson, which is the original lexicon from 1872, and remains a go-to source for colloquial, Anglo-Indian words and phrases.
|Photo Credit: http://thedabbler.co.uk/2013/07/review-hobson-jobson-by-sir-henry-yule-a-c-burnell/|
Words of Indian origin, like: bazaar, curry, polo and yoga, are obvious ones to guess. But how many know of the true heritage of other evocative words, that sound so quintessentially British; Words like: balaclava, blighty, bungalow, chintz, cummerbund, gymkhana, hullabaloo and pyjamas? In modern times, familiar sounding, yet old-fashioned words are still re-appropriated: Whether it is British chef, Jamie Oliver, saying his food tastes “Pukka”; or Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly, saying everything is feeling “Tickety-Boo”. The words are reassuringly familiar, and continue to delight and trip off the tongue, but many of us have rather lost sight of their original cultural heritage, today.