Translation 56. Michel Houellebecq’s Latest Publication

Posted 17 January 2017 by Brian Steel
Categories: Translation and Interpretation

Tags: , ,

Just interviewed on French television (FT2, 20 Heures), a more sympathique-looking and -sounding Michel Houellebecq spoke about his hefty new collection of essays and his current attitude to life and writing, Cahiers de l’Herne. (l’Herne is the publisher.)

Here are some references for his fans.

“Insaisissable, inclassable, irréductiblement ambigu : Houellebecq, infailliblement, nous échappe. Sauf, peut-être, dans le cas précis d’un Cahier de l’Herne, lieu idéal d’une approche plurielle et du mélange des genres. Nous retraçons ici la trajectoire d’un écrivain singulier en montrant les hésitations, les points de rupture, les multiples « bifurcations » qui contribuent à la construire. En entremêlant les textes rares ou inédits, les essais universitaires, les témoignages de proches, d’écrivains, d’artistes, de musiciens, d’amis ou d’ennemis (et tout l’éventail se situant entre ces deux extrêmes), il voudrait rendre compte de la complexité d’un auteur et d’une oeuvre qui ont pour ambition de sauver une époque – la nôtre – de l’évanouissement.”

If necessary, you can submit these references to the new improved Google Translate. For example:

“Ungraspable, unclassifiable, irreducibly ambiguous: Houellebecq, infallibly, escapes us. Except, perhaps, in the case of a Cahier de l’Herne, an ideal place for a pluralistic approach and the mixing of genres. We retrace here the trajectory of a singular writer by showing the hesitations, the points of rupture, the multiple “bifurcations” that help to build it. By combining rare or unpublished texts, academic essays, testimonies of relatives, writers, artists, musicians, friends or enemies (and the whole spectrum between these two extremes), Would like to account for the complexity of an author and a work whose ambition is to save an era – ours – from fainting. ”   (GOOGLE TRANSLATE)

Opinions of Houellebecq’s Soumission.

Translation 55. English Loanwords in Hindi. Addendum on Demonetisation (noTbaNdee)

Posted 14 December 2016 by Brian Steel
Categories: Hindi Language

Tags: , , , , ,

In the past 5 weeks of turmoil in India, the following English loanwords or phrases have been  heard or read in the Hindi media. They offer important additional evidence of the ever-present influence of English on the use and development of the Hindi language. Contributions (and corrections) from readers would be most welcome.

More background information on my Loanword collection is available here:

baileNs, (bank) balance

chek, or chaik, cheque, check (USA)

DebiT kaarD, debit card

ekaauNT, account

eTeeem, ATM (Automatic Teller Machine)

haaee kamaan, High Command (military)

haaee Deenomineshan (noTs), high denomination (notes)

haaipothesis, hypothesis

haikar, m, hacker

haiNDlar, m, handler (military, etc.)

iNkam Taiks, income tax

kaishles sasayaTee, f, cashless society [Also: les-kaish, less cash]

kareNsee, f, currency

kreDit kaarD, credit card

laain, line, queue, laain karnaa, to queue (EH) [English/Hindi hybrid form] [Hindi: qataar]

manee, money; remiTens manee, remittance money (from Indians abroad)

manee aurDar, money order

manee lauNDariNg, money laundering

noT, note, banknote

noTbaNdee, f, (bank)note cancellation, “demonetisation” (EH)

prauparTee, property

railee, political rally

rizaarv baiNk auf iNDiyaa, Reserve Bank of India (Also: aarbeeaaee, RBI)

sarkooleshan, circulation

smaarT fon, smart phone

Taiks, tax

vaaTs aip, or vhaaTs aip, WhatsApp (message softwARE (Int.)

vauleT, wallet

yoojars, or yoozars, users

(More to follow soon on English loanwords observed in the Hindi media between February and December 2016.)

Microsoft’s Intrusive Windows 10 Campaign Takes a Step Too Far. Apology Sought.

Posted 30 May 2016 by Brian Steel
Categories: Internet and Media

Tags: , ,

After a year of “heavy-handed nudging” (AP), Microsoft’s extraordinary campaign (waged from the cosy sanctuary of its users’ computers) to persuade Windows 7 and 8 users to update to Windows 10, has recently taken initiatives which have enraged many of its users. I am one of those misused users.

Because of Microsoft’s power over our PCs, for a year we have had to tolerate the irritating 24/7 presence of this massive M/S Campaign on the bottom  bar of our computers (looking like a large white flag of Truce while behaving like a Trojan Horse). With complete impunity, its Windows 10 Free Update offer popped on to our screens several times per week for our acceptance or rejection.

Recently, as the Internet now reports, Microsoft has become even more proactive in its “salesmanship” and coercion, and 2 days ago, I was on the receiving end of what I consider to be unwarranted interference and hassle from their Trojan warriors.

I had left my PC for some brief R & R. When I returned about 20 minutes later, I found myself facing a a black screen announcing UPDATING WINDOWS: 4%. Alarmed and mesmerised, I slumped in the chair for 20 minutes while the Windows 10 preparation files were loaded. Since there was no way that I, as a non-techie person, could stop this ghastly intrusion, I gradually came to accept that I would have to learn the arcane ways of the new Windows 10 and suffer the inevitable losses of TIME, programmes, etc. (all of which I had hitherto tried so hard to AVOID, by my FREE CHOICE of the NO option, in a free society).

And then, suddenly, a BLUE screen appeared with a lot of legalese jargon describing the Accept and Decline alternatives. The latter were heavily padded out by legal gobbledygook hinting at the extreme difficulties which might materialise for the user in the event of clicking the Decline button. I was alarmed and ready to Accept but still stared at this screen for several more minutes. The prospect was so unacceptable that, in spite of possible difficulties, I finally took a chance: DECLINE.

And, slowly, the situation was reversed and Window 7 eventually returned to my control.

Apparently without damage.

I was, and continue to be, extremely ANGRY with Microsoft for their aggressive actions and for the extreme distress caused to me.

*ADDENDUM.  I have now applied Steve Gibson’s (GRC)  Never 10 remedy and the M/S Trojan Horse has at last been driven from my bottom bar.

Yesterday I took a look on the Internet and found evidence of serious professional and public criticism of Microsoft’s  recent high-handed (euphemism!) measures.  For anyone seeking the real details, I recommend an article by Mark Hachman of PC World, who fills in some of the technical details of Microsoft’s recent behaviour: How to escape that forced Windows 10 upgrade you mistakenly agreed to. Sadly, it’s not as simple as it should be.’

PS Because I was not present when the M/S intrusion commenced, I cannot say whether Microsoft offered me any last minute way out of the update, which, in any case, was NOT requested by me.


Hindi Language Portfolio. 2010-2016. Brian Steel

Posted 3 March 2016 by Brian Steel
Categories: Hindi Language


Following the recent completion of my first book-length study  of Hindi for intermediate level students of Hindi as a second language (HSL), I have reviewed my Internet postings since 2010 and present them here in a more logical order for interested students, beginning with the potentially more useful postings. Other shorter postings which have been made to date on this still unfinished journey are listed as Part 2.

As the reader will notice, two websites are involved. The other obvious points are that my studies centre mainly on media Hindi usage and that my presentations are all in romanised Hindi (with my own practical transliteration scheme) and in English alphabetical order. I have found this method very effective as a shortcut for dealing with large amounts of written and spoken Hindi media information and other writing available on the Internet. Eventually, with this and other planned lexical work, Devanagari script may be added, if I can find a collaborator to undertake that laborious task.

Part 1. Studies of practical interest to students of HSL
In late 2012, I began a series of specific lexicographical studies on this page.

“This new web page reflects the course of my broadening interest in contemporary India as a whole and in one of its major languages, Hindi.”
In October 2012 I have finally felt able to begin to post a series of articles on the Hindi language based on my (determined) 4-year struggle to add Hindi to the list of languages that I can comprehend. I am now comprehending, but still quite slowly!
It is my hope that the series, Hindi Learning Hints, may be of some use to fellow foreign learners of Hindi, in particular to those for whom English is a native or major language. I hope that those who are further advanced in this process than myself, as well as any Hindi-speakers who may chance to see these articles, may be able to favour me with their corrections of my misunderstandings and errors, preferably at”

 2012 November (This post has had 5,100 views.)
Hindi Learning Hints. 1. The Versatile vaalaa Suffix (Introduction)

2013 May (This post has had 17,885 views.)
Handy Hindi Hints. 2. Selected Prefixes and Other Word Formation Elements [First Draft]
Shorter version: Translation 42. Learner’s Guide to Hindi Prefixes and word formation. Introduction
2013 June Handy Hindi Hints. 3. (This post has had 12,577 views.)
Hindi Suffixes and Word Formation
[2013, mid-June. Unpublished Draft: Hindi Learning Hints 4. 2,000 English Loanwords in Contemporary Hindi Media usage]
2013 December (This post has had 1,764 views.)
Hindi Learning Hints 5. Postpositions  (108+ Hindi Postpositions. A Comprehensive List for HSL Students. Draft.’)
2016 21 February Introduction to Book: English Loanwords, Abbreviations, and Acronyms in Hindi. A Romanised Guide to Hindi Media Usage
A further extract from this book:
Translation 53. English Loanwords in Hindi. Lexical References.

Part 2. Chronological progress of my other postings about the Hindi Language
2010 August Translation 22. Cultural Content of Given Names. The Case of Hindi
2011 January Translation 26. An Online Hindi & Urdu Glossary of Bollywood films by Volker Schuermann
2011 August Basic Hindi Vocabulary for Lucky English-Speaking Learners
2011 December Hindi Acronyms are based on English phonetics
2012 June Translation 36. Free Internet Translation Software: The Contest between Google Translate and Microsoft’s BING Translator. Russian and Hindi
2012 September Translation 37. Arvind and Kusum Kumar’s magnum opus: the Bilingual Hindi and English Thesaurus
2012 October Translation 38. Hindi Learning Shortcuts. Introduction to a New Series
Translation 39. A Short Reference List for Hindi learners & Notes on the suffix vaalaa / ‘wallah’
2013 January Translation 40. Hindi-English-Hinglish, an Indian ménage à trois
and a shorter version
Translation 41. Hindi Learning Hints 4. English Loanwords in Contemporary Hindi

30 April 2014  Linguistic Glimpses of the 2014 Indian General Elections Through English Loanwords in Hindi
23 December 2014 Translation 49. French Loanwords in English. Pronunciation Guide for Hindi Speakers. Introduction
27 March 2015  Translation 51. Arvind Kumar’s Word Power in English
There is a wider Portfolio available on my site which includes other writings on India. To see this, insert “Portfolio” in my website Search SLOT.

Translation 54.On Language Scripts and Transliteration. With special reference to Hindi and Urdu

Posted 1 March 2016 by Brian Steel
Categories: Hindi Language


The following three pages of my recent book on English Loanwords and Abbreviations in Hindi (English Loanwords, Abbreviations, and Acronyms in Hindi. A Romanised Guide to Hindi Media Usage) may help those who have not read the book to understand my position on the possible uses of roman transliteration for Hindi and Urdu. The effective transliteration scheme that I have developed for romanising Hindi for certain Hindi learning purposes is given to readers in Chapter 5 of that book. The copyright material reprinted here is taken from Chapter 2 of the Introduction to the Loanwords book (pp. 28-30).(To avoid misunderstandings, I also intend to add this essay to my original presentation of the book posted on this website on 21 February 2016.)

On Scripts and Transliteration
If we pause for a moment to consider the principal communication problems presented by the contemporary use of different scripts for languages and the related problems of transliteration, a few assertions will seem particularly relevant for multi-scripted South Asia.
1. The most used basic script type is roman. (Diacritics are a separate issue.)
2.Typewriters and, more recently, keyboards and mobile phones were designed to use written roman alphabets and numbers. (Some adaptations have been made.)
3.Anyone who is roman script literate can access and read any other roman alphabet on the Internet, and even submit passages for translation to Google Translate or Microsoft Translate.
4.Without special facilities, users of languages with non-roman scripts are at a disadvantage in global communications
5.Transliteration from non-roman into approximate roman equivalents is one possible step towards readability, but here too there may be different degrees of difficulty.

Consequently, speakers of many languages with non-roman scripts (Devanagari, Perso-Arabic Nasta’liq, Tamil, Telugu, etc.) may be in a position of disadvantage when it comes to cross-cultural contact or the use of modern technology, unless they resort to the transliteration option, if there is one. Incidentally, it is said by some that the Nasta’liq script for Urdu needs to be reformed. For example, in a posting on the Columbia University Urdulist Forum in August 2015, Kamal Abdali suggested that “Urdu needs a script reform” and offered some reasons.

Evidence of use of roman transliterations in Urdu and Hindi:
From colonial times, there is ample evidence of the use of transliterated Hindi / Urdu:
“Hindustani in the Roman script was primarily for the use of the Christian missionaries and the army.” For the missionaries, the main advantage was to produce cheaper and more accessible Bibles and hymn books. (Tariq Rahman, From Hindi to Urdu. A Social and Political History, 2011, p.222)
“Apart from the judiciary, police and the administration, the British Indian army also used Hindustani but in the Roman script.” (T.Rahman, p, 272) For the army, the practical purpose was to facilitate communication between officers and recruits from different linguistic regions of India. This continued after Independence. This assertion is supported on the Indian side of the border in the well-known Hanklyn-Janklyn compilation (2008, p. 268), where Nigel Hankin states that Urdu (or Hindustani) written in roman script was the successful invention of the British Indian Army: “the writing of the common language for troops from all parts of India – Hindustani […] in roman script”. Rahman adds, “It was one of the factors which helped spread the kind of Hindustani which is close to Urdu and Hindi as used on the streets of Pakistani and North Indian cities.” (T.Rahman, 224)

Advocacy of roman script for Hindi and other Indian languages has been proposed on several occasions in the last 100 years but it has met with much resistance and opposition. Under the title ‘The Tower of Babel. The Roman script could help save our literacy problems’, Vasantha Surya published an opinion piece for a Chennai newspaper in February 1996 (probably the 10th). Her major points were:

  1. “Few of us are bilingual in terms of true fluency and competency in both languages.”
  2. “A multiplicity of languages does not automatically mean we are a multilingual people.”
  3. The plethora of Indian scripts is “one of the most obvious hurdles”.
  4. Back in the ‘60s a ‘Bharati’ or phonetically adjusted Roman script was advocated for the Indian languages.”
  5. “Imagine the advantages: anyone could learn a couple of Indian languages plus English (which so many badly want to learn) without having to learn three separate scripts!”

Her final pragmatic and surely cogent point is that “Script, after all, is not identical with language, it is only a tool. Today, a script has to be easy to learn, and the easiest one available for general use is Roman.”

Twenty years later, there is ample evidence that the roman transliteration option, for special uses, is popular with many younger people in South Asia, for example on Internet forums and in mobile phone text messages. In the case of Urdu speakers and writers, who have a choice of transliteration from their Nasta’liq script to Devanagari, or roman, there seems to be little resistance to the transliteration option in the special areas of contemporary communications, providing a complete change of script is NOT advocated.. “[Urdu] is now used on the internet to write e-mail messages and chatting on Facebook or other chatrooms among both Indians and Pakistanis. Moreover, a number of personal writings on the internet (blogs) are in this script.” (T.Rahman, p. 224)

Rahman (p. 224) also offers interesting statistics from a Gallup Pakistan Poll of Urdu-speaking mobile phone users in 2009: “A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the country were asked ‘Usually which language do you use for sending SMS from your mobile phone?’ Thirty seven per cent (37%) said they send SMS in Urdu typed in English alphabet, 15% use Urdu typed in Urdu alphabet to send text messages whereas 17% said they type SMS in English. Twenty nine per cent (29%) do not send any SMS whereas 2% gave no response.” (Gallup 2009)

In the case of Hindi, recent evidence suggests that although younger generations of Indians do make use of the roman transliteration option in their communications – albeit with a bewildering variety of transliteration schemes – many Hindi speakers object to the practice on principle as unnecessary or demeaning and see it only as a fatal step to the replacement of the Devanagari script (rather than a convenient alternative in special circumstances).

Two well-reported incidents from India in 2015 showed overwhelming knee-jerk rejection of romanising and a great deal of nasty language on Internet forums and in media journalism or blogging.
A year ago, Chetan Bhagat, the bestselling novelist, hit some raw nerves with his strong suggestion on his ToI blog (Times of India 11 January 2015) that, in order to preserve Hindi, a changeover to roman script is advisable.
“English continues to grow like never before without any promotional drive. This is because it offers better career prospects, more respectability in society, a completely new world of information entertainment and access to technology. After all, you can’t even use a mobile phone or basic messaging apps today without a cursory understanding of English.
“Understandably, Hindi lovers and purists lament the new society where the youth shun their mother tongue and want to enter the English world as fast as possible. The more they impose Hindi, the more the youth rebel against it.”
He went on:
“Roman Hindi is already prevalent in Bollywood posters and in our advertising. Most Hindi movie screenplays are today written in Roman Hindi. Drive around any major city and you are bound to see a hoarding with a Hindi caption written in Roman script.”

Bhagat then took a big step further:
“We can save Hindi by legitimizing the Roman Hindi script. This will also have a unifying effect on the nation as it will bring English and Hindi speakers closer. It will also allow other regional languages to become more linked to each other and to English, by virtue of a common script.”
The fury and bad language of many respondents can easily be imagined.

Six months later, Congress politician Rahul Gandhi, another celebrity, aroused a similar roar of disapproval and denigration from the blogosphere for what reasonable people would count as either acceptable, or a comparatively minor, but closely related, offence. Since the prominent Congress politician is always pursued by a mob of photographers, one of the close-up video clips revealed a “scoop” that Mr Gandhi was holding the notes for a speech he was about to give. His Hindi notes were clearly seen to be written in capital roman letters. What many would surely see as a quite sensible preparation for a media event and maximum legibility in a confined space gave many trolls and cyber lynch mobs a field day. What made things worse, was that a journalist, Shoaib Daniyal, wrote this in his favour on Internet site scroll-in (14 August 2015): For once Rahul Gandhi shows the way: Hindi needs to discard Devanagri and adopt the Roman script. Thanks to the internet, Roman Hindi is already rather popular, probably more so than Devanagri.’ Daniyal added: “With Hindi, while Devanagri is the official script designated by the government of India, Rahul Gandhi is actually not alone in using Roman to represent it. In fact, it could well be argued that more Hindi is written in Roman today than in Devanagri, thanks to the internet and the script’s association with English, the prestige language of India.” Which of course led to some journalistic ripostes and more furious Internet comment.
In my obviously biased opinion, the present book [English Loanwords in Hindi] is proof of a further advantage of roman transliteration from Hindi’s Devanagari or Nasta-liq. Outside the academic study of Hindi and Urdu, romanised presentations can present shortcuts to learning the two languages for those who do not have the time (or stamina!) to master writing the non-roman script. It is for such students of Hindi as a Second Language (HSL) that this book and my other amateur Hindi language investigations are intended. Fortuitously, they could also be of use as shortcuts to academic students, in the preliminary and intermediate phase of their learning of Hindi/Urdu, as long as their teachers do not place my work on an Index Librorum Prohibitorum! My Loanwords and Abbreviations Glossaries (Chapters 4 and 5 of the book) could even be profitably used as class exercises in spotting my amateur errors! If they were passed on to me, I would benefit from receiving the results. A win-win proposition?
(From Brian Steel, English Loanwords in Hindi, pp. 28-30.)


Translation 53. English Loanwords in Hindi. Lexical References

Posted 22 February 2016 by Brian Steel
Categories: Hindi Language

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This useful collection of annotated bibliographical information on Hindi/Urdu is posted here both as a further sample of my book English Loanwords in Hindi and (for those who do not need the book) as a further contribution to my blog series on Translation and Interpreting.

The Bibliography of the multi-faceted book is divided into Lexical References and General Bibliography (4 A-4 pages).

Lexical References (annotated)

Agnihotri, Rama Kant, Hindi. An Essential Grammar, Routledge, London & New York, 2006.

Allied’s Hindi-English Dictionary, edited by Henk Wagenaar and Sangeeta S. Parikh (New Delhi, Allied Publishers Pvt., 2002 [1996.] [romanised],1167 pages ISBN 81-7764-357-6 Allied Chambers (India) Limited, Transliterated Hindi-English Dictionary, ed. Henk W. Wagenaar, New Delhi, Allied Chambers,1993 [reprint 2008], 1149 pp. ISBN 81-86062-10-6.
[romanised and alphabeticised, with a Glossary of Hindu Mythology (also romanised, pp. 903-1149)]
Bahri, Hardev, Rajpal Advanced Learner’s Hindi-English Dictionary, 2 vols. Delhi, Rajpal Publishing, ?2006. ISBN 978-81-7028-667-7
This is an excellent (romanised) reference book, possibly the most helpful bilingual romanised dictionary for intermediate and advanced English-speaking learners of Hindi.
It is the only romanised Hindi-English dictionary of those I consulted in which the lexicographer has methodically tried to cover this important aspect of the contemporary Hindi language. (An updated version would be a welcome improvement.)

DK Visual Bilingual Dictionary of Hindi, New York, DK Publishing, 2008. []
Based on a common template of English semantic areas and items (and photographs) for all the languages that the series covers, it is an excellent quick-reference source of many examples of technical anglicisms and everyday borrowings from English. One important caveat is that the Introduction informs readers: “Where no suitable Hindi words exist, or are not commonly used, we have retained the English words, but the romanization has been adapted to show how native Hindi speakers pronounce them” (p. 8).
Hindi/Urdu Flagship Program of the University of Texas (Austin) (Director: Professor Rupert Snell) Although the whole website is free for non-commercial use, this is a University level web-based series of teaching and learning aids for students and teachers who are aiming at an advanced professional competency in Hindi or Urdu. Among the large quantity of materials (including videos and Power Point presentations) is the series of podcasts on Spoken Thesaurus (also directed by Rupert Snell)

Kachru, Yamuna, Hindi, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 2006.
Kumar, Arvind, Arvind Word Power. English-Hindi. A Dictionary with a Difference, New Delhi, Arvind Linguistics Private Limited, 2015. (1350 pages)
Kumar, Arvind and Kusum, The Penguin English-Hindi / Hindi-English Thesaurus, 3 vols., New Delhi, (Arvind Lingusitics Private Limited), 2007.
McGregor, R.S., Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1993.
McGregor, R.S., Outline of Hindi Grammar, 3rd ed. Revised and Enlarged, Oxford University Press, 1995.
Niladri, Shekhar Dash, Payel Dutta Chowdhury, Abhisek Sarkar (2009). ‘Naturalisation of English Words in Modern Bangla’, Language Forum , Vol. 35, Jul- Dec 2009.
Platts, John T., A Dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi and English, London, 1884.
Rahman, Tariq, From Hindi to Urdu: a Social and Political History, Karachi, Oxford University Press, 2011. (Note: Professor Rahman’s website offers many downloads of his writings on this and other related topics.)
Schuermann: Volker Schuermann’s Bollywood Dictionary.
Available online:
Shabdkosh Forums: especially for Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati and Punjabi. (Shabdkosh also offers very useful online dictionaries.)
Snell, Rupert, ‘The Hidden Hand: English Lexis, Syntax and Idiom as Determinants of Modern Hindi Usage’, South Asia Research, 1990, 10, 53-68.
(For some academic institutions, available from
(To see a read-only copy: Google Search: C.L. Anand, The Constitution of India, choose the Google sample Item, which opens on this article (pp. 74-90). Or, Google Search: David Arnold and Peter Robb, Institutions and Ideologies. A SOAS South Asia Reader. Then open the item from “”.)
(This is a very important study, worth re-issuing, in which Snell presents a cornucopia of detailed evidence on the massive influence of English on Hindi. The rapid growth of borrowings and the spread of Hinglish over the followng 20 years was to reinforce his thesis, leading to his equally excellent survey (and Trojan Horse warning) in the edited results of the ‘Chutnefying’ Conference: ‘Hindi: Its Threatened Ecology and Natural Genius’, pp. 22-36, in Rita Kothari and Rupert Snell (eds.) 2011. [q.v.]
Snell, Rupert, Teach Yourself Essential Hindi Dictionary, USA, McGraw-Hill, 2011.
Snell, Rupert and Simon Weightman, Teach Yourself Hindi, [2nd. ed.], London, Hodder education, 2003.[There is a different first ed., Hodder and Stoughton, 1989.]
Snell, Rupert with Simon Weightman, Teach Yourself Complete Hindi, USA, McGraw-Hill, 2010.
Steel, Brian: On WordPress and, pdf/
Suntharesan, V., The Impact of Borrowings from English on Jaffna Tamil. (A Textbook for University Students, Language in India, Vol. 14, 6 June 2014. (A downloadable 125-page book)
Urdulist: Urdu listserv.

English Loanwords in Hindi

Posted 21 February 2016 by Brian Steel
Categories: Hindi Language


This is a presentation of my new book: English Loanwords, Abbreviations, and Acronyms in Hindi. A Romanised Guide to Hindi Media Usage. The 3 documents of this reference book are offered for private study for US$5, payable via Paypal. Delivery is by email.


[Addendum. 1 March: On Scripts and Transliteration]


Hindi is the major official language of India, but it is only spoken or understood by a large minority (perhaps half a billion) of the country’s 1.2 billion citizens. Some of the other major Indian languages spoken are closely related to Hindi, notably its closest sibling Urdu, as well as Punjabi, and Gujarati. Most other major South Asian languages, especially those spoken in South India, like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam come from different language families and use different scripts. Because of this very wide linguistic diversity, English, which was introduced into India at a crucial time in its development, has ended up, 250 years later, as the lingua franca of the whole country, as Indian English. How this came about and with what consequences for the Hindi and Urdu languages is the wider subject of the introductory chapters (Part 1) to what is basically a quick-reference romanised lexicographical aid for learners of Hindi, with lists of English abbreviations, acronyms and loanwords in the Hindi media.

The book consists of 155 A4 pages in .pdf format and lists over 3,000 English loanwords (or borrowings) in contemporary media Hindi as well as 600 Hindi abbreviations and acronyms based phonetically on the letters of the English alphabet. All this is presented as evidence of the prolonged intrusive relationship between English and Hindi (as well as with several major languages of the Indian subcontinent – now South Asia – some of which were listed above).

This abundant harvest of lexical items has been gathered over several years of listening to and reading Hindi media materials as well as a wide reading of books and Internet articles in Hindi and English on contemporary India. Since most of these lexical items are not offered in current bilingual Hindi-English dictionaries, they are presented here as a practical reference supplement for fellow English-speaking students of Hindi as a Second Language (HSL). The book is, therefore, potentially of use to HSL students interested in studying the Indian media (as well as the language of administration, commerce, politics, sciences and social sciences). It might also serve as a stimulus to the present generation of Hindi lexicographers and Machine Translation (MT) researchers that more attention to this substantial (and ever-growing) part of the Hindi lexicon (and other South Asian lexicons) could result in improved bilingual dictionaries and translation aids for: Hindi-English, Hindi-Chinese, Hindi-Czech, Hindi-German, Hindi-Japanese, Hindi-Russian, etc.

To speed up consultation and comprehension, all of the Hindi lexical items are presented in romanised spelling (following a practical transliteration system of the Devanagari script). As a further “shortcut” to students, the items are arranged in the alphabetical order of the English language (a-z).

The secondary aim of this book is to offer brief but necessary background information on the extraordinary 250-year relationship between English and the major South Asian languages, which has produced not only large numbers of English loanwords but a distinctive and flourishing new variant of World English, Indian English (IE), as the ongoing lingua franca of the whole of linguistically complex India, especially in the principal language registers of the media, administration, politics, law, education and science. Not only did this English infiltration and, later, permeation of Indian languages last 200 years during colonial control but, following India’s hard-won political Independence 68 years ago, English has continued to influence native Indian languages (albeit with periodic bouts of regional and national public debate and controversy).

Part 1. Background Information
Chapter 1
When Languages and Power Collide. British English Infiltrates Hindi, Urdu and other Languages of the Indian Subcontinent
History 101
Parenthesis: The Continuing Search for the Origins of Hindi and Urdu:
Some basic bibliographical pointers
The Creation of Modern Hindi and Modern Urdu
The Countdown to Independence and a Confrontation between Languages
Chapter 2
Indian Languages and English. The Postcolonial Period
Historical Background
Hindi, English and other Indian Languages: Current Factors         
Changing Standards: The Question of Postcolonial Bilingualism
Indian English(es)
Introducing Hinglish (etc.)
Notes on other Indian Languages and Indian Englishes
On Scripts and Transliteration

Part 2. Reference Sections. The Romanised Glossaries

Chapter 3
A Sample of English Permeation of Indian Life and Languages: Evidence from Media Hindi
Chapter 4
English-based Initials, Abbreviations and Acronyms in Hindi
Transliteration System
Romanised Hindi to English
Appendix of Abbreviations and Acronyms in English Alphabetical Order
Chapter 5
English Loanwords and Hybrid Forms in the Hindi Media.
A Romanised Glossary of over 3,000 Terms
Transliteration System
Abbreviations used
Romanised Glossary of English Loanwords and Hybrid Forms in the Hindi Media
Bibliography (with some annotations)
Lexical References
General Bibliography

Chapter 1
(page 6) On 31 December, Queen Elizabeth I of England granted a charter to a group of 100 London merchants of the East India Trading Company (EIC) to trade with India and The East. Through the East India Company, England (later Britain) gradually acquired power over large areas of the Indian subcontinent, with relatively few British soldiers and administrators. The expansion of the East India Company was slow but effective. For the first 100 years or so, it was one of four European coastal traders in India, but subject to control by the Muslim rulers.
1640-1696: Three separate trading posts (‘Presidencies’) were set up in Madras (1639), Bombay (1666) and Calcutta (1696).
1700- : Mughal power begins to wane.
(page 11) From 1860 on, activity by protagonists of both Hindi and Urdu (with their respective scripts, Devanagari and Nasta’liq) advocated a return to the “pure” vocabulary of the basic sources: Sanskrit, and Persian and Arabic, respectively.
[R] Stuart McGregor (2003, p. 949-950) further reports: “The use of modern Hindi, and the cultural significance of its Devanagari script in the context of the relative dominance of Urdu in public life, became an issue at Benares [Uttar Pradesh] and elsewhere.” In 1866, “the Muslim leader Sayad Ahmad Khan expressed doubts – usually said to mark the open emergence of the “Hindi language movement” – regarding whether Muslims and Hindus would be able to work together, through Urdu, toward the development of a new India.”

Chapter 2
(page 14) At the end of the British Raj, as a long term result of the enthusiastic adoption and fulfilment of Macaulay’s educational ‘Minute’, the position of English in the administration of the Indian subcontinent and in the running of daily urban life was well entrenched. In fact, Indian English had become the national lingua franca in India and its presence in the extensive Indian print media was becoming a tangible cultural and economic asset for India. English, which was spoken fluently by a large number (if not percentage) of upper middle and middle class Indians, was functioning in partnership with major regional Indian languages (Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, etc.). In the north and northeast, its major partner was Hindi (along with its closest sibling languages, Urdu, Gujarati and Punjabi). As described below, Hindi was declared the first official language of the Republic of India, with provisions for English to be kept as an official national language for official purposes only for 15 years (until 1965). In newly independent Pakistan, English’s partners were Urdu and Punjabi and other important local languages. (See entry below under 1963.)

Chapter 3 Sample Evidence
(p. 31) From the very beginning of the close contact between English and Indian languages, through constant hearing (and, for some, reading) of English titles for East India Company administrators and, later, the terminology related to administration, law enforcement, justice and the army, etc., the English terms have seeped into and permeated Indian life. Even since Indian Independence in 1947, familiarity with the sound and (on public signs) the look of English, as well as the amount of English loanwords used in Hindi and other Indian and subcontinental languages, has greatly increased. Who in India does not know the major terms used in krikaT or films, or those many others dealing with the relve?

In this postcolonial period, and particularly after 1990, with rising prosperity, a boom in consumerism, globalisation and mass communications (most notably with the Internet and the mobile phone, now the smaarT fon), Hindi (like other major Indian languages) has adopted a constant stream of English loanwords and phrases and loan translations (or calques) and a few hundred phonetically English abbreviations. Nowhere is this proliferation more visible than in the visual and audio mass media.
(p. 45) A few early Borrowings and Impositions, IMS (Indian Medical Service)
aaee.pee.see., IPC (Indian Penal Code: 1860-), ICS (Indian Civil Service: 1858-1947) (Replaced by IAS.)

kalekTar, District Officer and Tax Collector (1772)
kaNTooNmeNT, Hist. cantonment (suburban township set aside for military, esp. housing)
abbrev. kaNT. (Hobson-Jobson gives a 1783 reference .)
sivil laains, “the residential neighborhoods developed during the British Raj for its senior officers. These townships were built all over the Indian subcontinent and were allotted to civil officers in the respective countries.”(Wikipedia)
gavarnar janral, Governor General (1773) Replaced in 1858 by vaaisraay, m, Viceroy.
rezideNT, Hist. Resident, Ambassador (British representative to an Indian State or kingdom)
jublee, f, Jubilee; DaaimaND jublee, f, Diamond Jubilee [Queen Victoria]
mejar janral, major general; janral, general; brigaDiyar, brigadier; karnal, m, colonel; kapTaan, captain;
Chapter 4. (37 pages)
(There two separate parts: Hindi to English and an Appendix of English to Hindi.)
This collection of Hindi acronyms, abbreviations and their meaning has been accumulated during several years of reading and listening to Hindi media, consulting a number of reference books and making many Google searches. The result is a sample of 600 acronyms, well over 90% of which are based on the phonetics of the English alphabet and (mostly) refer to the original English words of the entity referred to, e.g. aaee.aaee.Tee(s), IIT(s) (Indian Institute(s) of Technology).

To avoid confusion, it should be emphasised that, while there is no suggestion that the Hindi (or other Indian language) speaker knows the full English “content” of the abbreviation (if seen, read or heard in daily life), he or she is probably able to identify the entity referred to by the abbreviation (i.e. the appropriate “meaning” of the (anglicised) reference). That is precisely why acronyms and abbreviations are so useful in all languages, as a sort of “shorthand”. They obviate the need to know the full and sometimes much longer reference.
(Part 1)
For Hindi acronyms with initial English A [ay as in may], see under e-.
aaee [= English I]

aaee.o., IO (India Office) (Hist.)
aaee.o.e., IOA (Indian Olympic Association)
aaee.o.see., IOC (Indian Olympic Committee)
aaee.pee.e., IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)
aaee.pee.el, IPL (Indian Premier League) (Cricket), IPS (Indian Police Service: 1860-), IPKF (Indian Peace-Keeping Force)
aaaee.pee.pee.e.aaee., IPPAI (Independent Power Producers Association of India)
aaee.pee.see., IPC (Indian Penal Code: 1860-)
aaee.pee.see.see., IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

(Part 2: Appendix)
IO, India Office (aaee.o.) (Hist.)
IOA, Indian Olympic Association (aaee.o.e.)
IOC, Indian Olympic Committee (aaee.o.see.)
IPA, International Phonetic Alphabet (aaee.pee.e.)
IPC, Indian Penal Code: 1860-) (aaee.pee.see.)
IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (aaee.pee.see.see.)
IPKF, Indian Peace-Keeping Force (
IPL, Indian Premier League) (Cricket) (aaee.pee.el)
IPPAI, Independent Power Producers Association of India (aaaee.pee.pee.aaee.)
IPS (Indian Police Service: 1860-) (
Chapter 5. 3,000 English loanwords and hybrid terms (60 x 2-column pages)
(This includes an Introduction which includes basic information on abbreviations and discussion of the transliteration scheme chosen.)
The previous chapters of this book have given a brief historical and social account of the protracted and enforced relationship between, on the one hand, Hindi, Urdu and other South Asian languages, and English on the other. The eventual consequences were the emergence of Indian English(es) and a Hindi language (and other South Asian languages) permeated by English borrowings (or loanwords), loan translations (or calques) and other hybrid linguistic features. The survival and intensification of this close relationship following Independence and Partition and continued cross-fertilisation on both sides has also been outlined.

Contemporary Hindi, the most widely spoken language in India, is the officially endorsed language of India. It is Constitutionally promoted by the Government’s Department of Official Language (DOL). (See Rashmi Sadana, 2012 for a report on its activities.) Indian English is the associate official language as well as the lingua franca of India.
kameNT, comment
koee kameNT naheeN, No comment.
kameNT deN, Comment. (Int.) (EH)
kameNT karnaa, to comment (Int) (EH)
kameTee, f, committee
selekT kameTee, f, Select Committee
kamishan, comission
kamishan, (euphemism) bribe
kamishnar, commissioner
kamishnaree, f, office and rank of Commissioner (EH)
kamiTee (or kameTee), f, committee
kamiTmaNT, commitment
kaMpaas, m, compass (HB)
kaMpanee, kaMpnee, f? company
bahuraaShTreey kaMpanee, multinational company (EH)
kampanees aikT, Companies Act
kaMpas, campus
kaMpeN, campaign
kampeNseshan, compensation
kampeNseT karnaa, to compensate (EH)
kaMposT, m, compost
kaMpyooTar, computer sp
kamraa: See SiNgal, Dabal and Tvin.
kamyoonalism, communalism
kamyunikeshaNs, communications
kamyunisT, communist

The Bibliography (which includes some annotations) is in two sections:
Lexical References
General Bibliography
I hope that is sufficient for you to decide if this book could be of use to you.
For other earlier items of possible interest to HSL learners, see here.