PM Modi speaks Hinglish and Indians speak Inglish

Former Prime Minister Vajpayee, a BJP stalwart, used to be proud about speaking in Hindi. He was a native Hindi speaker, and an accomplished Hindi poet.

Prime Minister Modi is also a BJP stalwart. He, too, speaks often in Hindi. But, his mother tongue is Gujarati, not Hindi. So, he does not hesitate to deviate from shuddh (pure) Hindi.

In a recent (February 2017) attack on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHyOes2_OlI , Mt. Modi, speaking in Hindi, said:

बाथरूम में रेनकोट पहनकर नहाने की कला तो

bathroom men raincoat phenkar nhaane ki kalaa to

There are two words of English in this phrase: bathroom and raincoat. That makes it Hinglish — Hindi with English words thrown in. Mostly, the English words used are nouns — not verbs, adverbs, or adjectives.

The Prime Minister was speaking in the Parliament. Here, the members probably are familiar with the English words. And, bathroom appears to be a commonly understood in cities. But raincoat? Not a commonly heard word.

And, in a campaign speech, Mr. Modi used the English word scam as an acronym for his opponents. And, the opponents replied with another acronym of scam.

Of course, since the British days, many English words have become normal Hindi words. Such as bank, school, station, train, teacher. And many Hindi newspapers use C M written in Roman script or Devanagari for Chief Minister, instead of the well-established Mukhya Mantri.

In short, spoken Hindi has been trending towards Hinglish for several years — now even the Prime Minister speaks it.

Hinglish should not be confused with Inglish. This is English used in the Indian way. It includes words such pre-pone (antonym of postpone), cousin brother, real sister, and other Indianisms. And, it includes use of English words in a way that is not common elsewhere. For example, in the US, someone may say, “Please reply as soon as possible.” In Inglish, it would be “Please revert as soon as possible.”

In the old days, Hindi proponents wanted people to speak proper Hindi. No more. Now, Hinglish is OK. And, educated Indians used to think that it necessary was to emulate the Queen’s English. No more. Inglish will do just fine. And, that’s a relief!

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