BITS and Pieces

Get global. Get ahead.

The ‘both-handed’ writer

From my personal experience of having learnt a few foreign and some Indian languages, I can tell you how there are times when one simply does not remember the (right) word or phrase to convey something. And therein lies the beauty of Indian English, the language we hijacked from right under the watchful eyes of the people who call it their own.

When speaking in languages that are foreign to us, we all pause, fumble or even struggle to find the right word. However, when we speak English, no such predicament befalls us. The audaciously confident lot that we are as speakers of Indian English, we effortlessly avoid the word we don’t know by replacing it with a group of words that mean the same thing.

This is something that dawned on me when, the other day, I heard someone proclaim with immense pride how their son was able to write and do much else with both his hands. Now, to a native speaker that would have simply meant having a son who was ambidextrous.

So while there is nothing wrong in flaunting our English or saving the day with a group of words, sometimes to be understood internationally and almost always to build the kind of image one aspires to, it would be worth our while to learn all the right words.

Finally, as much as a certain Mr Tharoor could be the butt of some linguistic trolling, don’t we all love it when he, speaking the kind of English that only he can, shows the natives how to win a debate J

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Sandeep Nulkar Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, BITS Private Limited Sandeep Nulkar heads one of India’s largest translation and localisation companies. He is a linguist by passion, businessman by choice and author by circumstances. Over the past decade, he has been working closely with the corporate world and with students and the academia to bring credibility and recognition to the Indian translator within and outside India.