Category Archives: language

indianisms, cont’d: Even I

(See explanation of Indianisms) / See all Indianisms

Even I for I too, I also. This one is hard to cite, since written references lack referents and context. In General English, even I means ‘I, out of all people’ or ‘contrary to expectations, I’ or ‘Surprisingly, I’: Even I make my own yogurt these days. In Indian English, it functions as I too or I… also:

Indian One: I am eating so much of parotha these days.

Indian Two: Even I am doing this.

The sense is not that ‘I of all people am doing this’, but ‘I do this also’. Here are some examples which I believe to be Indianisms that mean I also:

Hello madam, Few years back even i was having instant noodles daily as my evening snack, and also lays and kurkure. (source. The quote is in response to an article about the dangers of living off Maggi ramen noodles. Since we don’t know the background of the poster, even I in the sense of ‘I of all people’ doesn’t seem likely, but rather even I in the Indian sense: I also lived off ramen.)

You are right. Even I felt that twists and turns are coming too early in this show. It’s not even 50 episodes I guess. (source)

Even I used their website to get in touch with them and was amazed at the response time. they connected with me within seconds!! (source)

Even I too receiving calls from +9234… (source: here we see too along with ‘even I’.)

Even I would like to know the same thing. Plz suggest me. (source)

Even I am taking the Basic Course in Graphology from Mr.Mohan Bose and i completely agree he is a wonderful teacher! (source)

I bought a mobile[…] the person from Gizmo assured me that you will get the mobile in 2-3 working days.  Now even I am following up with the[…] team but they also are not giving me any satisfactory answer. (source)

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indianisms, cont’d: to clear

(See explanation of Indianisms)  / See all Indianisms

 

to clear for to pass, as an exam, test, etc. In American at least, one cannot “clear” an exam.

Examples:

Which entrance exam should I clear for getting a seat for B.Ed political science? (2011, source)

Two Muslims clear Indian Economic Service Exam 2010 (2011, source)

Within 5 Days of registration in this site, I have attemepted more than 100 Sample Test Questions and on the 5th day, I cleared the LLR test in Vadodara, Gujarat. (S. Battacharya, source)

“Students who are not able to clear HSC (science) board exams in these three trials will then be forced to prepare as per the new syllabus and appear for the exams”, Patel said. (source)

sir, i have not cleared the june exam…. so please do tell me whether i have to pay any fee or not for the december test…?? (R. Jain, 2011, source)

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indianisms: bucks

(See explanation of Indianisms)

Bucks for rupees, money. We certainly use ‘buck’ for dollar here in the U.S.; this use dates to the 1850s and there is speculation that it derives from ‘buckskin’, an American frontier currency (source). I can’t say if buck is current in other dollar-using countries, but it is certainly current in India, where no dollars are to be seen.

Examples:

You will find a couple of fantastic instruments on the market that could assist put massive bucks correct into your banking account. (2011, source)

College boys turn to sex for quick bucks (R. Jain, Times of India, 2011)

McDonalds veggie something[:] 20 bucks. (K. Anand, via Tehelka, source)

That will be 5 bucks in Bangalore, meaning almost 60 bucks per litre :protest::cussingblack::screaming: (K.R. Raj, 2010, source)

What’s so incredible in that, many people in India live on 20 bucks in pocket a day. (G. Motghare, via TOI, 2011)

Subway is giving chicken ham sub for 50 bucks this month. Sub of the day is also great at 75 bucks. (P. Karol, 2009)

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where have you bean?

It was back in 2007 when I last brought up this scintillating topic- how to pronounce ‘been’. I wrote back then:

I pronounce it /bin/. Absolutely the same as ‘bin’. Been/bin. How come no-one ever investigates this merger? I have heard British say the word the same as ‘bean’, as in baked beans. As in how have you bean. It sounds ridiculous to me, but I can’t offer an explanation as to why I pronounce it /bin/, except to say I’ve never said it any other way. (what is going on, 2007).

Well, today on a walk around Seattle, I saw a sign that takes it one step further:

Here we have the spelling ‘been’ to represent the word bin. It is surely true (at least in my ideolect, and I guess in this area of the U.S. as a whole) that been and bin are homophones. However, given their different orthographies, I would be surprised that anyone would mistake the two in their written forms– especially, someone, so attentive, to comma placement!

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indianisms, cont’d

(See explanation of Indianisms)

Grammar: article missing off of the U.S., the U.S.A., the United States, the States: in American, it is incorrect to leave off the article (‘the’) when referring to the U.S., etc. (except in adjectival uses, headlines, etc: Millions of U.S. weapons have been given to Pakistan.  U.S. President wanted for war crimes.). In India, the ‘the’ is almost universally ignored/dropped. This is quite common among English-language learners worldwide, but in India one hears it from the educated class as well.

Examples:

– You are from U.S.; you wouldn’t understand (told to me in India) = Am. from the U.S.

Reports are coming in that the new generation iPad, the iPad2, will see the light of the day in Apple Stores across US on April 2… = Am. across the U.S. (web, 2011)

Epaper of Pune Times of India is the most important resource from me, a Puneite in US, to read news about Pune. (web)

– Bro[,] i m of indian origin and i live in US and i do feel proud when something good happens in India but I have seen people achieve great heights here… (web)

I am an Indian living in US and personally, I find BBC to be the most reliable source of news about the country. (web, 2007)

[T]raffic density in India is very low as compared to US. In US 600 out of 1000 people own a personal car and in India 6 out of 1000… [A]hmedabad expressway looks like any other freeway in US… (web)

Mahesh’s uncle who stays in US was the first one to be informed about the death by the university authorities. (Times of India, 2008)

My sister stays in US with her family there. (web, 2006)

There is separate quota for H1B visa for people who have graduated from USA… You can stay in USA till the time you want, earn money and then return if you want to. If you want to get settled in USA , GRE is best or the only option for you. (web, 2010)

So I was up the whole time, since those of you know I live in USA… (web, 2011)

– I got this phone yesterday, it rocks. I lived in States, so 4g is also available with Sprint… (web, 2010)

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indianisms, cont’d: to expire.

(See explanation of Indianisms)

To expire for to die, as in a person. I don’t believe we can ever say in American that a person has “expired”.

Examples:

– My dog expired. (overheard in India)

Sri V. M. KALIPRASAD, Assistant Engineer (Graphics), The Hindu, expired on 27-2-2003 (The Hindu, obituaries, 2003).

With profound sorrow, it is brought to the notice of all the Jain community that Shri S.K. Jain… and Ms. Nandita Jain, Deputy Managing Director, Times of India Group of Newspapers expired in a helicopter crash… (Jain Ahimsa Times, 2001)

Gaurav, on the other hand, a resident of Bhiwandi, was admitted to Wadia hospital on September 7… According to hospital sources, he expired within a couple of hours of being admitted. (S. Tatke, Times of India, 2009)

Of course, I was hired, being the last reporter that the legendary Behram Contractor (editor of Afternoon) would hire. He expired 3 months after I joined (I had nothing to do with that!!). (Phayul.com, 2011)

Fighting for a noble cause she [Annie Besant] expired in India on September 20, 1933. (web)

She expired four days later on 15.1.1991 but not before she made two dying declarations… (Delhi High Court murder appeal, 2006)



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French as she is spoken.

On some Monday nights when I am in Seattle, I go to a “pub quiz”, or perhaps “trivia night”, at a Capitol Hill vegan restaurant/bar called “the Highline”. (I’m not sure what the name refers to, but there seems to be some sort of freight train theme in the place, so perhaps it’s a tribute to Paragons of American Industry such as Burlington Northern – Santa Fe et al). The place is run by long-haired dreadlocked crusties, though the trivia night attracts primarily heavily-tattooed former straight-edgers and recently-turned-21 scenesters.

As I say, this is a vegan place, and the type of food served is chiefly sandwiches, along with things like potato salad and french fries. Normally the music is b-grade 80s regional hardcore, and sometimes early UK crust à la Rudimentary Peni. My associate Collin has told me that sometimes fistfights break out among the patrons in there. What do you think vegans brawl over? Who’s more compassionate?

The trivia night is already a little strange, as free pitchers of beer are awarded by the bartender to teams who have racist or sexist names. I’m not good at coming up with these, so I abstain and get berated by my team-mates, who cry “You’re costing us a pitcher!”. Secondly, there are usually a few teams full of tattooed 21-yr olds who look up all the answers on their cell phones and then shout them out. Finally, the quizmaster is fond of asking questions where the answer is based on something he saw on the internet, not on his personal knowledge or greater reality.

Take for example last night. One of the rounds was “French”: despite the host’s admitted inability to converse in said language, he gave us ten questions in which he would say a word or phrase and ask us to write the French translation. Being a French speaker, I naturally lept at the occasion to put my knowledge to use, and my team-mates grinned and rubbed their hands together fiendishly, knowing that we had the round ‘in the bag’.

Question one: the host, Dustin, let loose: “How do you say in fashion, stylish in French?”

Observe my response: à la mode.

Imagine my rage when I heard that answer was incorrect, and that the correct answer was chic. Friends, I do not dispute that chic means in fashion, stylish, but it is also undeniable that à la mode means in fashion, stylish. The quizmaster, who doesn’t speak a word of French, disqualified à la mode since it was not what the internet told him. The team next to us, which comprised a bunch of plus-sized teens with tattoos, alongside a fiftysomething Moroccan immigrant who claimed to be a French speaker, told us disdainfully: “A la mode means on the side.” Three of four of them jumped in, proclaiming “Yeah dude! It means on the side!”. We asked the Moroccan woman who claimed to speak French, and she told us “A la mode means on the side!”.

Exhibit A: Google translate. Not the most reliable of translations, in general, but read ’em and weep:

Exhibit B: à la mode loc adj [vêtement] fashionable, in fashion… (Larousse French-English Dictionary, 1993)

Exhibit C: online dictionary:

à la mode

  1. Fashionable; in the current style or fashion. (Wiktionary, 2011).

(They also note: (US) Served with ice cream-!)

Exhibit D: Press clippings.

– Les mots à la mode: webcam. J’sais pas si c’est vraiment à la mode, mais j’ai envie d’en causer. (Lacroute, Le Monde, 2011).

MEANS: Words in fashion, Cool words: I dunno  if it’s really in fashion, but I want to talk about it…

DOES NOT MEAN: Words on the side. I dunno if it’s really on the side… / Words served with ice cream.

– Héroïne, cocaïne : “Le snif est à la mode” (Le Monde, 2010)

MEANS: Heroin, cocaine: Snorting is cool/stylish/in fashion.

DOES NOT MEAN: Snorting is on the side. Snorting is served with ice cream.

– Vie de chiens à la mode. (Le Monde, 1997).

This is a sort of play on words, but we can say it means something like “Dog style”, not “Dogs on the side” or “(US) Dogs served with ice cream”.

– L’appareil photo Canon 5D, très à la mode en ce moment, existe depuis deux ans. (Libération, 2011).

MEANS: The Canon 5D camera, very fashionable/cool/stylish at the moment, has already been out for two years.

I could go on for a while, but you get the picture.

We won the game in any case, pauvres cons (that means ‘worthy opponents’ in French).

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