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Hinglish

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Hinglish

Commercial Hinglish: the advertising slogan of Domino's Pizza in India

Definition:

A mix of Hindi (the official language of India) and English (an associate official language of India) that is spoken by upwards of 350 million people in urban areas of India. (India contains the largest English-speaking population in the world.)

Hinglish includes English-sounding phrases that have only Hinglish meanings, such as "badmash" (which means "naughty") and "glassy" ("in need of a drink").


See also:

Etymology:

A blend of the words "Hindi" and "English"

Examples and Observations:

  • "In a shampoo advertisement currently playing on Indian television, Priyanka Chopra, the Bollywood actress, sashays past a line of open-top sports cars, flicking her glossy mane, before looking into the camera and saying: 'Come on girls, waqt hai shine karne ka!'

    "Part English, part Hindi, the line--which means 'It’s time to shine!'--is a perfect example of Hinglish, the fastest growing language in India.

    "While it used to be seen as the patois of the street and the uneducated, Hinglish has now become the lingua franca of India’s young urban middle class . . ..

    "One high-profile example is Pepsi’s slogan 'Yeh Dil Maange More!' (The heart wants more!), a Hinglish version of its international “Ask for more!” campaign."
    (Hannah Gardner, "Hinglish--A 'Pukka' Way to Speak." The National [Abu Dhabi], Jan. 22, 2009)


  • "Prepaid mobile phones have become so ubiquitous in India that English words to do with their use--'recharge,' 'top-up' and 'missed call'--have become common, too. Now, it seems, those words are transforming to take on broader meanings in Indian languages as well as in Hinglish."
    (Tripti Lahiri, "How Tech, Individuality Shape Hinglish." The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 21, 2012)


  • "A testimony is the average north Indian's response to the language of the conquering British. They transformed it into Hinglish, a pervasive mishmash beyond state control that has spread from below so that even ministers no longer aspire to imitating the Queen. Hinglish boasts of 'airdashing' to a crisis (famine or fire) lest newspapers accuse them of 'being on the backfoot.' A vivacious mixture of English and native tongues, Hinglish is a dialect pulsating with energy and invention that captures the essential fluidity of Indian society."
    (Deep K Datta-Ray, "Tryst With Modernity." The Times of India, Aug. 18, 2010)


  • "[Hinglish has] been called the Queen's Hinglish, and for good reason: it's probably been around since the first trader stepped off the ships of the British East India Company in the early 1600s. . . .

    "You can hear this phenomenon for yourself by dialing the customer service number for any of the world's largest corporations. . . . India has literally turned its English-speaking ability, a once embarrassing legacy of its colonial past, into a multi-billion-dollar competitive advantage."
    (Paul J. J. Payack, A Million Words and Counting: How Global English Is Rewriting the World. Citadel, 2008)


  • "This mix of Hindi and English is now the hippest slang on the streets and college campuses of India. While once considered the resort of the uneducated or the expatriated--the so-called 'ABCDs' or the American-Born Confused Desi (desi denoting a countryman), Hinglish is now the fastest-growing language in the country. So much so, in fact, that multinational corporations have increasingly in this century chosen to use Hinglish in their ads. A McDonald's campaign in 2004 had as its slogan 'What your bahana is?' (What's your excuse?), while Coke also had its own Hinglish strapline 'Life ho to aisi' (Life should be like this). . . . In Bombay, men who have a bald spot fringed by hair are known as stadiums, while in Bangalore nepotism or favouritism benefiting one's (male) child is known as son stroke."
    (Susie Dent, The Language Report: English on the Move, 2000-2007. Oxford Univ. Press, 2007)


  • "'Titles are to movies what fragrance is to flowers,' says the ever-poetic Mahesh Bhatt, who gave us Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke and Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahi. . . . The director went from middle-of-the-road titles in the '80s (Arth, Saaransh, Naam) to youthoriented movie names in the '90s (Aashiqui, Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahi, Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke) and catered to the Hinglish audience at the turn of the millennium (Murder, Gangster, Jism, Crook)."
    (Bharati Dubey, "Lots in a Movie Name." The Times of India, April 10, 2010)

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