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From Anna to Abba, 70 Indian words added to Oxford dictionary

As per the latest list of inclusions, 70 new Indian words from Telugu, Urdu, Tamil, Hindi and Gujarati languages have been added to the dictionary.

books Updated: Oct 29, 2017 16:30 IST
PTI
Several most-commonly used words in India like ‘jugaad’, ‘dadagiri’, ‘achcha’, ‘bapu’ and ‘surya namaskar’ are now part of the Oxford dictionary.
Several most-commonly used words in India like ‘jugaad’, ‘dadagiri’, ‘achcha’, ‘bapu’ and ‘surya namaskar’ are now part of the Oxford dictionary.(Shutterstock)

From endearing words like ‘Abba’ and ‘Anna’ to Indian delicacies like ‘gulab jamun’ and ‘vada’ can now be found in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

As per the latest list of inclusions, 70 new Indian words from Telugu, Urdu, Tamil, Hindi and Gujarati languages have been added to the dictionary.

Several most-commonly used words in India like ‘jugaad’, ‘dadagiri’, ‘achcha’, ‘bapu’ and ‘surya namaskar’ are now part of the Oxford dictionary, the OED said in a statement. Many of the words describe food and relationships, such as ‘anna’ (elder brother), ‘abba’ (father), ‘gulab jamun’, ‘mirch masala’, ‘keema’, ‘funda’ and ‘chamcha’. Oftenly used terms like ‘timepass’, ‘natak’ and ‘chup’ also have their meanings in the dictionary now.

The September 2017 update adds to the 900 items already covered by the dictionary and “identified as distinctive to Indian English”. “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,” said Danica Salazar, OED World English Editor.

The words were added to the dictionary as Indians have “a highly specific vocabulary with no direct equivalents in English,” the OED said. The four centuries that the English were present in India have left an indelible mark on the language, Salazar said. It is clear that the shared history between Britain and India has left behind a legacy of loanwords and other lexical innovations that have greatly enriched the English word stock, she said.

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, she said. The OED publishes four updates a year in March, June, September and December respectively.

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