Tuesday, December 05, 2006

do you speak Hinglish?

The largest community of English speaking people is not American, as one would believe, but India. English and Hindi have been happily mingling together for a centuries now, just like Fench and English did after the Norman invasions.

The fact that there are more people speaking English in India than Britain, America, Canada and Australia combined raises an important question about the way we teach grammar "rules" to foreign students.

If one billion people find it normal to say "are you liking your meal?", what right do we have to say it's wrong? Grammar is merely an attempt to find order in what we say, it wasn't there before language itself. So the majority rule applies - if most people say it - it must be right.

Even back in England, many people (myself included) say "I was, you was, he was, we was, they was", paying little regard to whether they should use "was" or "were".

English has also benefited from the influence of Indian speakers of English with the many news words that they have given us. There's an interesting article on the BBC about "Hinglish".

Hinglish article

1 comment:

José Luis Cabello said...

Really interesting.
I have added your blog to
I hope you don't mind (if you do tell me)
I have also added my own