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  #1  
Old July 25th, 2001, 08:35 AM
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American and Indian English, Language Difference

American and Indian usage of English can foul up life for you in the US, warns Amir Tuteja

I have lived in the US a little over 30 years now, and am thoroughly Americanised in the usage of English. I come across the Indian version from frequent contact with the Indian embassywallas, Indian students and visitors from India. There are so many differences big and small, in the meaning and pronunciation, in the usage of the same language - English - between Americans and Indians, that it can be amusing and even embarrassing at times.

Many moons ago, the first time I went to McDonald I did not know what was meant by the phrase "to go" ( which means to take the food away and not eat there ). The girl at the counter asked me "to go?" and I thought she was asking me to leave! I was upset and retorted " I have come here to eat, why should I go?" It took some explaining on both sides before I could place my order.

Americans are very verbose in saying things, which in themselves are somewhat different from those in India. One almost always says "How are you doing?" when you meet an acquaintance, and the accepted reply is usually "Pretty good" and not just "Fine".

The reply to "Thank you" is "You are welcome" and not "Mention not". But if you say thanks to someone like a sales girl, she is more likely to say "Uh-ha".

Unlike in India,"Excuse me" deserves an answer like "No problem".

When you are about to part, sometimes, you have to play games of getting in the last word. Expressions like "see you later", "have fun", "take care", "have a nice weekend","don't work too hard", come in handy.

I am also reminded about the use of the expression "Really". This is used to mean "Oh, I see". For example, if somebody asks you where do you work, and you answer "government", pat comes the exclamation "Really!", which a first few times sounds like they do not believe you.

There are a lot of words and phrases which are used differently. A funny example is that an "eraser" is never called a "rubber", because the latter is slang here for a contraceptive!

An Indian friend at a restaurant, when asked, if she would like anything more at the end of the meal, answered: "No, I will just take the bill". You should have seen the look on the waiter's face - of course, she should have asked for the check which she could have then paid with a bill(s).

Many American pronunciations are different from the British ones used in India. For instance, one pronounces "schedule" as skedjule". Also "coupon" is pronounced as "q-pon". When the "i" is preceded by an "m" or a "t", it is pronounced as "my" and "ty" - for example the words "semi" and "anti". When it is preceded by a "d", unlike in India you do not say it as "die", but as "dee", for example the word "divorce".

An elderly Indian couple have been living in this country for the last 20 years or so. This incident occurred a few years ago. They were in one of those huge parking lots at a department store. On returning to their car after shopping they realised they had a dead battery on hand. So they looked around and the lady spotted a man about to get into his truck. She told her husband that she would ask that man if he could help them. She approached him. The lady said, "Hi". The man replied "Hi, may I help you." The lady said "Yes please, could you please give me a jump".
At this the man was rather shocked, and sort of taken aback. He appeared to turn red, until he noticed the elderly gent in the car. Then he laughed and remarked that "Oh you mean that your car needs a jump start". The lady remarked "That's what I said".
Later in the car when the puzzled lady narrated this incident to her husband, he almost drove off the road roaring with laughter. It was only after he explained what "jump" meant, that the lady turned red. In fact we discuss this incident almost every time we go to dinner at their place. By the way, she has never been to that shopping complex ever since this incident out of fear of bumping into that man!

Tailpiece : In the US you give someone a "call" not a "ring" on the telephone. A newly arrived Indian went to the university library looking for a job, and had a long discussion with the lady in charge. While leaving he told her, "Well I'll give you a ring tommorrow."
The lady was so stunned that she didn't speak for a few minutes, and then blurted out, "Isn't it a bit early for that?"
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Old July 25th, 2001, 08:47 AM
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One more thing, never say Biscuits here. It has different connotations here.

Glucose biscuits would be cookies here!

Biscuits is actually dog biscuits!
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Old July 25th, 2001, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Super Girl
One more thing, never say Biscuits here. It has different connotations here.

Glucose biscuits would be cookies here!

Biscuits is actually dog biscuits!
nice add up SG
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Old July 25th, 2001, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SHEENA
nice add up SG
Today IA is working in English literature

This difference is b'cause we follow the British English and here american use American English + local slangs (not the literature english) same way as we speak Hindi (in India or elsewhere)

bol beeru 1-1 cup chai chalegi kya.........
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Old July 25th, 2001, 09:15 AM
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another one guys ..

Please dont use the word "fag" for cigarettes. As in .. lets go get some "fags" .. or I smoked a "fag" this morning ..

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Old July 25th, 2001, 09:30 AM
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Many such things..

Ladyfinger is okra
brinjal is eggplant


so on..
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Old July 25th, 2001, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by GpeL
Many such things..

Ladyfinger is okra
brinjal is eggplant


so on..
nope !!!!!,GpeL ji these two words r used in indian convents also.
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Old July 25th, 2001, 10:06 AM
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bhindi..

Quote:
Many such things..

Ladyfinger is okra
brinjal is eggplant


so on..


nope !!!!!,GpeL ji these two words r used in indian convents also.
What GpeL ji means is that a brinjal is not known as brinjal here(USA)but as eggplant..in india we know of both terms...convent school mein hi kyun didi??!!
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Old July 25th, 2001, 10:33 AM
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Re: bhindi..

Quote:
Originally posted by shahenshah


What GpeL ji means is that a brinjal is not known as brinjal here(USA)but as eggplant..in india we know of both terms...convent school mein hi kyun didi??!!
Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!! for calling me DIDI,1st time koi sharif banda nazar aya hai board par.

thank u very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old July 25th, 2001, 11:30 AM
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Now who the heck is Amir Tuteja??????
The article is full of exagerrations.

Anyways, another thing i noticed was the way teenagers talk here. The words Good and Bad have been replaced by BAD and sucks. BAD means good.

Britney sucks, but Janet is bad
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Old July 25th, 2001, 11:44 AM
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plus I think Tuteja was an ignorant ass before he came to the US. He seems to have come from an extremely remote village, not having watched a single american movie, or read a novel by an american author till he stepped on the american soil.
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Old July 25th, 2001, 11:57 AM
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Big-G lot of FOBs are like tutejas only.People coming from metros might be good like you but coming from the remote or small places you bet they don't know nothing about american english.
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Old July 25th, 2001, 11:59 AM
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IA bhai.... sorry yaar...itna gussa mat ho...majaak kar raha tha yaar...kamaal hai yaar....
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Old July 25th, 2001, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Big-G
he stepped on the american soil.
why did he shtep on it ?? he couldnt jump long enuff >>
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Old July 25th, 2001, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by khopdi


why did he shtep on it ?? he couldnt jump long enuff >>
He couldn't have jumped you silly boy...the grass was greener on the other side.
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