New Delhi: “I’m against the term Indianized English,” says Pingali Sailaja, a linguist who teaches English at the University of Hyderabad. The phrase Pingali prefers is Indian English, a term she has used as the title of the book she penned on the subject.
“A certain attitude comes through when you say Indianized English — that Indian English is somehow a substandard variety not equal to British or American English. But we should stop thinking of it as a substandard variety and think of it as a variety comparable to other varieties of English.
Pingali explains that when the British came to India back in the 1600s, Portugese was the dominant language being used to impart Western and Christian education. “Slowly this was taken away by the British and replaced with English,” she says. “Indian English developed because when languages interact inevitably things are going to change. When Indians use English the will inevitably use it their way.”
According to Pingali, Indian English is its own variety, identifiable by distinct structural properties related to sounds, words and sentences.
Listen to our podcast to hear her talk about the characteristics of Indian English.
Also listen to Gunjan Bagla, author of Doing Business in 21st Century India, talk about Indian English as its own genre, and its implications for identity.
Click here to read Mint’s education series on English in India