The peculiar joys of Indian English: He’s not on his seat, your good name?

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL January 21, 2015

timepassIt’s always easy to make fun of the way certain countries speak a foreign language but there’s a different issue to consider with Indians speaking English. The imperial import is not really a foreign tongue any more and Indians have made it very much their own.

In all sorts of ways, including with phrases that would be totally incomprehensible in Anglophones elsewhere in the world.

Indiatimes has compiled a list, but the only caveat is it is, by no means, comprehensive. What about that Indian peculiar, “he is not on his seat” when referring to the government official who’s away from his desk?

Anyway, here’s some of the list:

1. What is your good name?

A direct translation of the Hindi phrase “Aapka shubh naam?” Shubh means good.

  1.  I have a doubt.

Everyone else would understand that as having a question about something.

3. Passing out of college

To graduate.

4. First-Class!

Anything first-rate.

5. Do one thing.

Literal translation from the Hindi exhortation “ek kaam kar”, which is usually a sort of comforting suggestion that someone takes up your advice and act in a particular way.

6. Out of station.

Equals out of town.

7. Prepone.

Probably weird to most people but self-explanatory.

8. Doing the needful.

The task that needs to be done.

9. Like that only.

Reflects the tendency to add ‘only’ at the end of a sentence.