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This blog is an attempt to keep my writing interests alive. It is my sincere hope that someone, somewhere will find these interesting, useful and a value to their life, in some small way. I wish everyone that reads my blogs ends up living a full, rich life.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Come on India, INDglish kum !

That we are a country of people capable of speaking English, is something I am very proud of. 
In my work, I have interacted with people of various non-native English nationalities - Czech, Chinese, French, German, Singaporeans, Japanese, to name a few - or maybe that is the complete list :-).  Anyway, that is not the point.  
While almost all of these individuals from different countries that I have met, speak impeccable English, one cannot say the same about majority of the rest of their country, I guess.  But that is not true with India.  One can go to almost any part of India (urban, to some extent) and strike a conversation in English.
It is not a secret that this talent of our people has been a primary reason for the economic, industrial and technological growth we have seen in India and by India in the rest of the world.  Personally, I know from my professional circles and interactions that this is a trait that is not only appreciated, but even respected.  

One thing that strikes me is the fact that most of the time work place conversations happen in English, in India.  Come to think of it, I think the reason for that, is that, there is no one single language we could talk in, in a group of working Indians, especially in cities like Bangalore.  To me that is a great plus!
Before I tell you where I am going with this, I want to make sure that you don't mistake me.  I am as proud and passionate about Indian languages as I am about English.  Given a chance I will want to be proficient (not just know) in as many Indian languages as possible.  I approach any Indian language with eagerness, broad mindedness and awe! 

It is a gift that we were born in this country.  It pains me when we see politicising of our languages, vernacular levers used to instigate people and divisiveness advocated in the name of language.  Simply stupid ways for personal gains!
Now, while we are good English speakers, I don't think we, as a country, are GREAT English speakers.  [I know there are great linguists in India, I am not talking about them - I am talking about the common man, the "mango" man, आम जनता]. :-) 

How do we change from being "good" English speakers to "great" English speakers?  I think if we can start a campaign or spread awareness about some common, simple mistakes we do, we can change.  Maybe we should pass around these common errors and "right answers" through our social networks?
I am open to suggestions.  I am keen on starting this, if you are interested, let me know, with a comment on this post, a tweet, a facebook entry or any means you can.
Hope this is a cause you believe in!
BTW, I have listed what I believe is the No. 1 fumble I encounter.  
  •  ... one of my ... [singular noun]
e.g: He is one of my best friend.
Correct: friends
One other: 
  • None of ... [plural noun/pronoun] [plural verb]
e.g: None of us eat vegetarian.
Correct: eats
Feel free to add yours.
Liku thatu and muchu moru!  
Have fun!


  1. Also how about creating a list of words that are incorrectly used? For example the word "doubt" is most used by Indians to mean "question" (as in "I have a doubt, sir") - but in reality it means "lack confidence in".

  2. Sure, not a bad idea - though your example above could be an extreme! :-)
    Anyways, I will keep at this, so we can follow up. Am looking for a better way to track this in a collaborative way - any suggestions? Google Wave? (ha! ha!)

  3. I have received a few from others. Adding them to the list:
    "Don't let these "small small" comments distract you ;)"
    "I normally wince when I hear 'facecut' and 'updation'."
    "i cook myself nowadays"

  4. I had a school principal who routinely complained that some kid could not "cope up" with the workload...

  5. Got this from @Sridhar:
    "loose" vs "lose". The other one is "You're" vs "Your". LOL - KNR

  6. See this blog:
    Interesting someone else is thinking of things I am too!

  7. Heard at a product review presentation "a couple of three" as in "I have a couple of three suggestions" or "It's one of a couple of three things".