Archive for the ‘Hindi Language’ category

Translation 60. A Brief Update on the continuing Gap in Machine Translation Quality between Google and Microsoft BING. Hindi to English. September 2017

9 September 2017

Based on 2 very short extracts from http://www.jansatta.com/national/attack-on-shiv-senas-modi-government-in-gauri-lankesh-murder-case/425725/

Extract 1:

shiv senaa ne aaj bhaajapaa ke netritv vaalee keNdra sarkaar par karnaaTak kee patrakaar gauree laNkesh kee hatyaa ke saNbaNdh meN taanaa maarte hue kahaa hai ki vah jaannaa chaahtee hai kaheeN is desh meN ek nishchit vichaaradhaaraa vaale logoN ke khilaaph bolne vaale logoN ko chup karaane ke lie ek gupt sisTam to naheeN chal rahaa hai.

1. Google Translate

“The Shiv Sena today taunted the BJP-led central government about the murder of Karnataka journalist Gauri Lankesh and said that he wants to know whether to silence those who spoke against people with a certain ideology in this country. A secret system is not running.”

2. Microsoft BING

“The Shiv Sena has today said the BJP-led centre on the government to assassinate the murder of Karnataka journalist Gaurī Lankesh, he wants to know that he is nowhere to make a secret system to quiet people who speak against a certain ideology people in this country is running.”
*
Extract 2.
soshal meeDiyaa par log likh rahe haiN ki kisee vichaaradhaaraa ke khilaaph likhne vaalee mahilaa patrakaar kee is tarah se hatyaa loktaNtra kee hatyaa hai.

Google:
People are writing on social media that a woman journalist who writes against any ideology is killing the democracy like this.

Microsoft Bing:

People are writing on social media that murder of a female journalist who is murdered by a ideology is killing democracy.
*
So, although raw Google Translate is still quite clearly ahead of Microsoft BING, the promised improved new Google system does not seem to have been activated. Please bring it on a.s.a.p. And Microsoft, please keep up the worthwhile competition.

[Reference to my previous comparison of Google and Microsoft Hindi to English Translation]
https://briansteel.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/translation-36-free-internet-translation-software-the-contest-between-google-translate-and-microsofts-bing-translator-russian-and-hindi/

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

21 August 2017

 

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.

 

 

Translation 57. The Propagation of Hindi. Kaushal Srivastava’s Recent Contribution

30 June 2017

 

 

Over a number of years since his retirement from a teaching and research career as Professor of Physics in India, UK, USA and Australia, Dr. Kaushal Srivastava has enthusiastically carved out a special niche in contemporary Hindi literature as a writer of bilingual Hindi and English poetry and short stories, with a focus on 21st  century globalisation and multiculturism, with particular reference to India and the Anglosphere.  (Bibliographical details are given at the end of this article.)

His latest volume of poetry (Kavita Saagar. Naye Yug Kee Tasveer) adds a valuable new dimension to his work by showing how the use of a simple roman transliteration system for Hindi’s Devanagari script can expand the readership, and the spread, of the Hindi language (both in northern India and in the enormous Indian diaspora). He is especially interested in the needs of those whose ability to read and write Devanagari is limited. In his praakkathan (Preface) he himself acknowledges a debt to Google Transliteration, just as many others, including myself, acknowledge the boon of Google Translation’s magical instantaneous transliteration of roman script into Devanagari to further our studies.

Dr. Srivastava is in very good company. In a 2016 blog and e-book, I quoted prominent Indian intellectuals Ramchandra Guha and Harish Trivedi on the relevant subject of the decline of full bilingualness in contemporary India.

As a quick reference to Wikipedia’s article on Devanagari Transliteration will show, the various (mainly academic) transliteration systems of Devanagari to roman are effective but much too complex for quick writing or typing (for example in text messages or social media).

The attraction of Srivastava’s simple basic transliteration system is immediately obvious in this new bilingual book of poetry, which should inspire other poets and short story writers to follow his example. It is also to be hoped that Urdu writers will be able to find a similarly simple but effective transliteration system from Urdu Nastaliq script to roman. This would help Hindi speakers to read Urdu more easily and to appreciate how very similar the two languages are.

I would respectfully suggest that, in the revised edition of this work, it would be preferable to give a very short explanation of the transliteration system chosen. In the meantime, since Dr. Srivastava’s  painstaking translations speak for themselves, interested readers should go straight to the roman versions of the poems to see the details. The following short extracts will give a good idea of the usefulness of the system. In the three extracts, readers will notice the vowels aa, ee, and oo, as well as consonants Na, NNa, Ta, Tha, Ra, Sha and Ta. Other symbols used by Srivastava in the book are ii, uu, RRi, Da, Dha, Rha, and Ma. (He also uses capital letters for proper nouns and in titles.)

Note: In my own lexicographical work and especially in the documentation of a few thousand English loanwords in Hindi, I have used all the above, as well as one or two more roman vowel combinations and a few more capital letters (taking advantage of the fact that Devanagari does not use capitals). I intend to reveal my system in a later blog.

Samples from Dr Srivastava’s book

2.14 VarShaa Raanee BaRee Suhaanee

griShmakaal meN tapatee dharatee sookhe baag bageeche

phooloN ke sundar chehroN par paR gae kaale dhabbe,

sooraj kee teekhee garmee ne kiyaa haal behaal

peene ke paanee par bhee aayaa saNkaT kaal,

bheeR bharee saRakeN jaise lagatee haiN khaalee-khaalee

khatma ho rahee tejee se khetoN kee hariyalee.

*

4.8 Teen Akelee LaRakiyaaN  (Verse 7)

agale saptaah ek shaadee samaaroh meN gayaa

vahaaN teen yuvatiyaaN apane puruSh-mitroN ke saath theeN,

preeti-bhoj raNgeen thaa

saboN kee nazar un yuvatiyoN par thee,

ek buzurga pitaa ne un yuvatiyoN se kahaa

‘beTee, paarTee meN akelee mat aayaa karo

samaaj kee dRiShTi kutsit hai.’

2.13 Jalavaayu Parivartan

yah hai Melbourne kaa vistrit praangaNN

jisakaa prakriti karatee hai anupam shriNgaar

isake aabhooShaNN haiN

Dandenong pahaaRiyoN par hariyaalee kee shriNkhalaa

door-door tak phailaa sunahalaa samudra taT

aur chaturdik lahalahaataa vrikshoN kaa vriNd.

jise kaee baar milaa hai

sarvashreShTha vaishvik shahar kaa sammaan

jo hai Australia ke mukuT kaa chamakataa ratna,

yahee hai hamaaraa Melbourne!

[Suggested amendments: melborN, DaNdeenoNg, ausTreliyaa]

Kaushal K. Srivastava’s bilingual poetry:

Kavita DarpaNN, New Delhi,Vani Prakashan, 2013.

English Translations:  Beyond Blue Oceans. One World, One People, Kindle edition, 2013. ISBN-10: 149279970X  

Kavita Kalash (SaaNskritik SaNgam kaa DarpaNN), Kindle edition, 2014. ISBN-10: 1502909855

English Translations and Adaptations: Reflections: Poetry of Composite Culture, Kindle Edition,  Amazon.com, 2014.

Kaushal Kishor Srivastava, Kavita Saagar, Naye Yug kee Tasveer. (In Devanagari and Roman scripts), May, 2017.  [Sea of Poetry, A Picture of the New Age /Era.]  ISBN-13: 978-1544088259. ISBN-10: 1 544088256. Available from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.in, Amazon.com

 

 

Kaushal Srivastava. Hindi Poetry in Devanagari and Roman Scripts.

18 June 2017

The latest volume of Hindi poetry by Indian-Australian Dr Kaushal Srivastava presents a pioneering new feature which will be highly appreciated by many readers whose command of written Devanagari is limited. This especially includes students of Hindi as a Second Language (HSL), of whom I am one. It also includes many young (and not so young) Indian Hindi speakers.

Details:

Kaushal Kishor Srivastava, Kavitaa Saagar, Naye Yug kee Tasveer.

(In Devanagari and Roman scripts)   ISBN-13: 978-1544088259. ISBN-10: 1 544088256

Available from Amazon.co.uk  and Amazon.in

*

For more background on the Hindi and transliteration questions, please see my 2016 essay.

To be expanded in a forthcoming blog.

 

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

14 December 2016

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.)

Hindi Language Portfolio. 2010-2016. Brian Steel

3 March 2016

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 ompukalani@hotmail.com”

 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.’)
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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
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There is a wider Portfolio available on my wordpress.com 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

1 March 2016

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.)