This year’s annual update of the Oxford dictionary saw the inclusion of no less than 70 Indian words into the most popular dictionary in the world. From delicacies like “Gulaab Jamun” and “vada” to casual words like “jugaad” and “achcha”, the dictionary includes a wide range of words from Tamil, Telegu, Urdu, Hindi and Gujarati.
As early as 1965, due to the protest of non-Hindi states, the Union Government of India declared English as the official second language of this country. Now, India can claim to be the world’s second largest English speaking country with 10% of its population that is 125 million people having English speaking skills.
It can’t be argued that the diverse linguistic and cultural atmosphere in India has influenced the English language in India and gave form to the “Indian English”.
“Indian speech etiquette features a complex system of kinship terms and terms of address, in which age, gender, status, and family relationships are marked by a highly specific vocabulary with no direct equivalents in English,” said Danica Salazar, World English Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. She agrees that the language has been majorly influenced by the cultural and social atmosphere of the country after being for four centuries.
All the Indian words, which includes “Chamcha”, “funda”, “mirch masala” and often used words like “chup”, “ji”, “natak” are all “identified as distinctive to Indian English”.
It includes relations like “abba”, “mata”, “didi”, “bapu”, “anna” and “chacha”. Food items like “gulaab jamun”, “vada”, “bhindi”, “keema”, “mirch”, “namkeen”, “gosht” are on the list.
If searched after the 2017 update for the word “Dadagiri”, the dictionary will revert back “bullying behavior” and for the word “Chamcha” you’ll get “An obsequious person”.
Apart from this it includes common words like “desh”, “devi”, “chakka Jam”, “surya namaskar”, “bas”, “bhavan”, “diya”, “nagar”, “chaudhuri”, “bada din”, “sevak” etc.
This latest update is the evidence of India’s rapidly growing influence and popularity in the world. With more and more Indian people settling in states abroad, Indian languages are gradually becoming popular. Their words, going on with them, becoming a part of the language and state they are travelling to.
Even colloquial terms like “Jugaad” can now be used to form a proper English sentence. The dictionary defines Jugaad as “flexible approach to problem-solving that uses limited resources in an innovative way”. So now we can say “Emily’s last minute jugaad saved the day for everyone.” and it will be proper and complete sentence in English!