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Now, learn English the 'Queens Hinglish' way!

Baljinder Mahal, a teacher from Derby has compiled a dictionary of 'Hinglish' - a hybrid of English and South Asian languages.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2006 11:53 IST
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A British teacher has compiled a dictionary of 'Hinglish' - a hybrid of English and South Asian languages, used both in Asia and in Britain.

Are you a "badmash"? And if you had to get somewhere in a hurry, would you make an "airdash"? Maybe you should be at your desk working, instead you're reading this as a "timepass".

These are examples of Hinglish, in which English and the languages of South Asia overlap, with phrases and words borrowed and re-invented, the BBC reported.

It's used on the Indian sub-continent, with English words blending with Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi, and also within British Asian families to enliven standard English.

The dictionary of the hybrid language has been gathered by Baljinder Mahal, a teacher from Derby, central Britain, and is published this week as The Queen's Hinglish.

"Much of it comes from banter - the exchanges between the British white population and the Asians," Mahal told BBC.

"It's also sometimes a secret language, which is being used by lots of British Asians, but it's never been picked up on."

The collision of languages has generated some 'flavoursome' phrases. If you're feeling "glassy" it means you need a drink. And a "timepass" is a way of distracting yourself.

A hooligan is a "badmash" and if you need to bring a meeting forward, you do the opposite of postponing - in Hinglish you can "prepone".

But there are also much older crossovers between English and the languages of the Indian sub-continent, with many words imported from the soldiers and administrators of the British Raj.

These well-used borrowed words include "pundit", originally meaning a learned man; "shampoo", derived from a word for massage; "pyjamas", meaning a leg garment, and "dungarees", originating from the Dungri district of Mumbai.

Even the suburban-sounding "caravan" and "bungalow" - and the funky "bandana" and "bangles" were all taken from Hindi words.

The pick-and-mix approach should be embraced, not resisted, said Mahal. It was natural and inevitable that languages will adapt and change to their environment.

"There might be puritans in any culture who say you can only be the master of one language, and that you shouldn't try to cross two languages. But do we only have one fixed identity? I don't think so, I think we can step in and out of different identities - and we can do the same with languages," Mahal told BBC.

"People might say this is my language, this is way it has always been. Well, it hasn't. Shakespeare's English was different from Chaucer's. The evolution of language is never going to stop," she added.