70 Indian words in the Oxford dictionary

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Freestyle

November 4, 2017

/ By / Kolkata

The latest update of the Oxford English Dictionary has 70 new commonly used Indian words

Latest update of the Oxford English Dictionary has 70 commonly used Indian words

Be ready to find colloquial Indian words such as ‘Jugaad’ and ‘Gulab Jaamun’ in the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a widely regarded authority on the English language has always been a crucial reference for language connoisseurs, students and academics. Be it the pocket dictionary or the big fat one, we still get back to them when needed.

The Oxford English Dictionary updates itself four times in a year, to introduce the generations to new words. In the latest September update, 70 commonly used Indian words have been added to the dictionary.

English has always been an integral part of Indian culture for centuries and is currently, the official language of the country. Earlier, the dictionary had nine hundred words from the Indian language and now 70 more words like ‘Jugaad’ and ‘Anna’ has been added to the list.

Danica Salazar, OED World English Editor said, “Lexical innovations in Indian English demonstrate how its Indian speakers modify an adopted language in order to accommodate the traditions, values, and norms of their local culture. For instance, Indian speech etiquette features a complex system of kinship terms and terms of address, in which age, gender, status, and family relationships are marked by a highly specific vocabulary with no direct equivalents in English. This lexical gap is filled by borrowing such words from Indian languages (abba, Anna, bapu, chacha, didi, -ji, mata), or adapting existing English words (cousin brother, cousin sister).”

This new update has also taken the lingual diversity of India into consideration. Along with the most spoken language Hindi, other regional languages such as words from Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Urdu have also been added.

Another interesting fact about the colloquial words of India is that these words are also commonly used in other countries of the Indian subcontinent such as in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

“Seventy years after India became an independent nation, English remains both an official language and a living, changing variety with its own distinct identity. The seventy words newly added to the OED reflect not only the history of the country but also the many and diverse cultural and linguistic influences which have shaped and changed the English language in India,” added Danica

The selection of the new words involves monitoring the use of language so that the experts can identify and record the changes taking place. The company also accesses the vast databases of real-world language usage known as corpora, which includes more than 10 billion words from various sources such as magazines, newspapers and social media. After which the emerging words are tracked and patterns are analysed. The analysis revolves around the idea that whether the words are becoming more or less popular, and how they are used regionally.

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