Like it or not, Hinglish is here to stay

January 11th, 2009 - 1:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Jan 11 (IANS) It’s called Hinglish, and linguists have declared after a two-day meet that the home-grown interspersing of Hindi and English is here to stay.Already Hinglish has become hugely popular in advertisers’ taglines, literature, movies, short message service (SMS), songs, graffiti and even everyday conversations.

And while Hinglish has its critics, most participants at a seminar here this weekend felt its popularity would only grow and grow.

“You can’t now think of speaking a sentence in Hindi without English words in it, I bet,” observes Rupal Trivedi, a graduate housemaker.

Asked for an example, Trivedi said: “Mere beta aaj school jaane me late ho gaya.” (My son got delayed going to school today.)

Some linguists call the phenomenon “chutnefying English” - or making a chutney of Queen’s language.

Hindi and English may have been once pitted bitterly against each other as adversaries, but now - thanks primarily to the younger generation - they seem to inhabit a common space, often complementing each other.

It is the Mudra Institute of Communications in Ahmedabad (MICA) that organised the conference on Hinglish, drawing an enthusiastic response.

Rita Kothari, a professor at MICA and the convener of the conference, said she wants to strengthen the concept of Hinglish and its acceptability.

An author in English literature and Indian culture, a translator and linguist, Kothari told IANS that Hinglish was going to stay because it was a fine mixture of Gandhi’s Hindustani with English words, not the chaste “Sarkari Hindi”.

Hinglish, Kothari said, would soon be the language of the urban Indian.

“It is about thinking differently and talking differently without even realising it. We now mix our mother tongues and English and don’t even realise it. It is important for us to see whether this new language has the ability to be pan-Indian in a way neither Hindi nor English has been,” she said.

Hinglish, other seminarists pointed out, was gradually spreading to even rural and remote areas via television, mobile phones and word of mouth, thereby slowly achieving an undeclared vernacular status.

“You can’t beat the usage of Hinglish. It is the language of the day,” said social worker Afroze Syed. “I feel it has become very popular and a must due to SMS culture.”

Jincy Ezhava, an administrative assistant at the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad), added: “I only use Hinglish to SMS my friends. Life would be simply impossible these days for the young to commuhnicate if there was no Hinglish.”

Urban planner and theatre personality Manvita Baradi argued that Hinglish could easily be used to communicate with people at large. “Anyway it has come to stay.”

Participants pointed out some of the more commonly Hindi words that have come into frequent use in English: airdash, chai (tea), crore, desi (local), gora (white person), jungli (uncouth), lumpen (thug), yaar (friend) and stepney (spare tyre).

Similarly, many English words have become a part of the Hindi language: reservation, a/c (air-conditioned), seat, conductor, driver, ticket, paper, telephone, television, right, left, pen et al.

Abhishek Gajjar, a Class 8 student in Ahmedabad, however is not for Hinglish.

“It is a serious abuse of Hindi, and I feel nobody has got any right to kill and murder a language which holds a long and rich history,” he said. “Let Hindi be there in its true and original form even as we learn English.”

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