Separated by a common tongue

An earlier post here referred to “Indlish” – a blend of Indian and English. An alternative name that I picked up since is “Hinglish”. 

So which is it?  The score on Google, with links to the top site in each:

  • Hinglish – 104,000 (a Wikipedia reference)
  • Indlish – 2,900 (a link to a book)

 Maybe that tells the story.

The British government’s call for migrants to be able to speak standard English was the topic of a Telegraph article a while ago.  The article defined the following variants of English:

  • Hinglish (Hindi/Punjabi/Urdu-English)
  • Chinglish (Chinese-English)
  • Spanglish (Spanish-English) – also known as Tex-Mex

As stated earlier, this is in addition to Singlish (Singaporean English) and Manglish – Malaysian English. 

The article quotes a report that makes the wise statement that English “… is no longer the preserve of the English, who are ‘just one of many shareholders’ in a global asset”. 

One interesting feature of language in India is that many people are not literate in their own language, so English is just one more hurdle.  Apparently a recent project to subtitle songs in Bollywood films (in the same language as the film) has doubled literacy.

It has been observed that given the population, and developments in education, Indian English may well become the most common version of the language some time this century.


  1. I can write Singlish, and it sounds better in person.

    ‘Sure lah. I can speak English. You better hear me talk. Sure one, lah!’

  2. Oh, and the title of this article refers to the Churchill quote on the USA and Britain – “Two nations separated by a common tongue”.

    – Keith.

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