Translation 59. The use of English Loanwords in Narendra Modi’s 70th Independence Anniversary Address

 

In February 2016, as part of my ongoing research on Hindi lexicography, I published an e-book and separate blogs about the history of the relationship between English and Hindi in India.

Since then I have continued my study of Hindi media and my already large collection of English loanwords in contemporary Hindi has increased by a further 1,500. At the time I made the point that the list is so long and the constant additions so frequent that important English loanwords should be considered by Hindi lexicographers as relevant additions to be included in future Hindi to English Dictionaries (or Hindi to German / French / Chinese, etc.).

Last week’s official preliminary transcript of the Indian Prime Minister’s 56-minute Hindi Address on the 70th Anniversary of Indian Independence offers fascinating evidence for further consideration of the phenomenon of English loans and also of the current relationship between Hindi and English in India (as well as other major Indian languages and English).

Since his successful years as Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made excellent use of Information Technology and social media to communicate with his supporters and the general public. His predilection for pithy Hindi slogans and maxims is supplemented by a penchant for examples in English, like his annual international “vaaibraNT gujaraat” Global Summits. During the three years of his current Prime Ministership of India, P.M. Modi has increased his IT contributions and his involvement with social media.

Although P.M. Modi’s choice of Hindi as his main channel of public communication in India is justified by Hindi’s status as official language, it should also be remembered that there are hundreds of millions of Indians who do not speak or understand that language. For these citizens (and also for many Hindi speakers), English, as the de facto lingua franca of India, continues, after 70 years to play an increasingly important role. This is specifically noticeable in central language fields or registers like technology, sciences, administration and education, as well as in the media and the world of advertising. (As I have pointed out in my 2016 studies, and earlier, the basis of most Hindi abbreviations and acronyms is English phonetics: pee em, en Dee Tee vee, aar bee aaee, bee je pee, etc.)

In the Devanagari version of the 6,500 word, 56-minute Address, P.M. Modi includes the following standard English loans in Hindi, adapted, as is usual, to Devanagari script (which is here transliterated into my basic system of roman script for easy keyboard use and reading). Newcomers to the topic cannot fail to notice the extraordinary versatile nature of Hindi phonetics in adapting quite closely to the English sounds.

aspataal, baiNkoN, eyarporT (or earporT), garaNTee, gais griD, iNTarvyoo, kaMpaniyoN, keroseen, kilomeeTar, naurth eesT, ek nayaa iNDiyaa, noTbaNdee, noTis kiyaa, peTrol, phaiktarariyoN, phaurm, rajisTreshan  (rej-?), rel, relve sTeshan, rikaurD, skool, Taiknaulojee, Tan (ton or tonne), TauyleT, Tren, ‘van raiNk – van peNshan’, yoonivarsiTiyoN.

Such borrowings are typical of daily media (and general) usage in India. However, what  really drew my attention to the official published Devanagari version of P.M Modi’s Address was that:

He chooses a larger number of less familiar English words and phrases to refer to concepts which he wishes to emphasise in his political agenda. These consist mainly of technical management terms, new proposals and coinages. As stylistic choices by the author (presumably for highlighting the concepts), these English words replace common Hindi equivalents.

and

Curiously, on P.M. Modi’s website (and possibly on the tele-prompter?), these words are written not in Devanagari but in English letters, often with initial capital letters. This is a departure from the normal procedure for dealing with English loans in Hindi (as part of the language) by printing Devanagari approximations of their pronunciation in Indian English (as shown in the samples given above).

What some observers may conclude is that the inclusion of English terms (rather than Hindi words) in their English script could indicate the author’s special gesture to connect with those many Indians for whom the Devanagari is unintelligible. In other words, to get parts of his political message across in spite of the Hindi “barrier”. And also to benefit from the special status that English enjoys in contemporary Indian life.

*

The terms presented in this way in the Address are as follows, in English alphabetical order. A number of traditional transliterations from Devanagari in my roman system are listed in square brackets. This is how the borrowings would usually be presented in the print media.

99   (pronounced “naaiNTee naain”)

address

Bank Accounts khulate haiN  [baiNk akaauNTs]

banking system [baiNkiNg sisTam]

Cancel kar diyaa [kaiNsal]

cash vaalee arthyavyavasthaa  sp? [kaish]

check-post [chek-posT – recently superseded by the Government’s jee es Tee]

Co-operative Federalism aur ab Competitive Co-operative Federalism [koauparaTiv feDaralizam aur ab kaMpeTiTiv koauparaTiv feDaralizam]

Cyber ho yaa Space ho  [saaibar / spes]

Debates [DibeTs]

Demand aur Technology

Dialysis [Daaiailisis]

Digital [DijiTal]   Also: Digital Currency and Digital Transaction

Double (se bhee zyaadaa!) [Dabal]

Efficiency

expert [eksparT]

Foreign Direct Investment

form [faurm]

formal economy

Gallantry Award

GEM naam kaa Ek porTal banaayaa hai

Good Governance (an old favourite with CM and PM Modi)  [But the transliteration guD gavarnaNs is more usual.]

Governance kee process ko simplify karnaa [proses or prosais  / siMplifaaee] Here, and elsewhere in this list, one notices examples of the very frequent hybrid loanword + karnaa Conjunct Verb structure, endlessly productive, as Professor Rupert Snell has pointed out.

GPS System [jee pee es sisTam]  (Note the English phonetics which dominate the majority of Hindi acronyms and abbreviations. I have a collection of 600.]

GST [jee es Tee]

hamaare desh ke In Uniform meN rahane vaale logoN ne balidaan kee paraakaaShThaa kee hai

income tax return [iNkam Taiks riTarn]

infiltrators

infrastructure

Is prakaara se roll-out honaa [rol-aauT]

IT [aaee Tee]

labour field [lebar feelD]

Labour laws

LED Bulb [leD balb or el ee Dee balb]

Left-Wing Extremism [lefT viNg eksTreemizam]

loan  [lon]

Maternity Leave

nature of job

New India [nyoo iNDiyaa] (used several times to announce the author’s project)

Operation

Prepaid bhugtaan [preepeD] (a hybrid phrase)

uske dvaaraa government procure kar rahee hai

Quit India Movement  [Bhaarat chhoro aaNdolan]

research [risarch]

RuPay Card [kaarD]

shell kaNpaniyaaN

Smart City

Soil Health Card [for farmers]

speed

supply: apnaa maal supply kar saktaa hai, apne product supply kar sakataa hai

supply chain [saplaaee]

Surgical Strike [sarjikal sTraaik. Much used this year in the Indian media.]

surrender kiye

Team India [Teem iNDiyaa]

Technology kee madad se

Technology ko intervene karte huE

Technology meN Ek miracle hai,

to sirph vo projekTee vilaNb naheeN hotaa [elsewhere: projekTaa]

training [TreniNg]

Transparency [TraaNspareNsee]   and transparency laane meN saphalataa milee hai

Transport  and Transportation

har Uniformed Forces, koEE bhee ho, sirph Army, Air Force, Navy naheeN, saare Uniformed Forces

water-way

website launch kar rahee hai

Women Empowerment

maanav working hours

World Class Universities

*

Other references:

The Doordarshan video of the Narendra Modi 70th Anniversary Address on 15 August 2017 is available on You Tube.

On Hindi transliteration.

 

 

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