15 Quintessential Characteristics of Indian English

Planning a trip to India any time soon? Here are some quirks of the Indian English that you may experience during your stay here:

  1. Prepone – to schedule things ahead of time. An indigenous antonym to ‘postpone’.
  2. Secure marks – In India, we don’t get marks. We secure them. It is a common thing to say, ‘I secured 95%’ instead of ‘I got 95%’.
  3. Gymming – working out in (you guessed it) a gym
  4. Taking Tension – Getting Tense. E.g. ‘You are taking too much tension about this trip’.
  5. Pursuit of studies – It is a common thing to hear someone say, ‘I am pursuing engineering’ or ‘She is pursuing a degree in media’.
  6. Out of station – Not in town. ‘Schedule all my appointments after 10th June. I am going out of station’.
  7. Looking smart – You might hear people tell you, you are looking very smart today. No, they are not using x-ray vision to look at your brain. It is just the same as saying you are looking handsome.
  8. Good name – An indigenious translation of the Hindi word ‘shubh naam’. It is same as asking what’s your name?
  9. Years back – a long time ago. I bought this house many years back.
  10. Na – an added extra emphasis. E.g. ‘you don’t mind, na’ or ‘she likes it na’
  11. Rubber – Don’t worry, it means an eraser. Nothing more πŸ˜‰
  12. Pass out – Graduate. I passed out from school two years back.
  13. The Hierarchy of Promises – We, Indians have a strict hierarchy of promises. God Promise > Mother Promise > Father Promise. If someone says God promise, it means one must be speaking truth, because no one takes the name of God in vain! Mothers are also very important to Indians. We revere them above all others. Mother promise, is a literal translation of ‘Aai Shapath!’ or ‘Maa Kasam‘, both of which means, that if I am lying may harm befall my mother, something no Indian will ever wish upon his/her mother. Fathers, or ancestors, get the worst deal in this hierarchy, it is true, but even that oath holds a lot of weight! You may lie if you take an oath, failing which harm would befall you, but you can never lie once you take your parents or God’s name.

In a resturant:

14. One by Two – meaning divide the one dish we ordered into two equal portions, for the same price. E.g. ‘we will take sweet corn soup, one by two’. Other variations include: two by four, three by six, etc.

15. It got over – it is no longer available. E.g. ‘the rotis got over’ or ‘the chocolate ice-cream sundae just got over. It will take 20 minutes to make a new one’.

If you think of any more such indigenous usage of English, let me know. Till then, marvel at our quriks. What can I say? We are like this only.





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