These Indian Words Are Now In The Oxford English Dictionary

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It might seem like British English is the only language that assembles the much-preferred Oxford English Dictionary (OED). In reality though, the countless words garnered in the book also include those from different languages of the world. India too, has contributed a number of words to the dictionary from the many languages that are heard throughout the country.

The Better India has reported that over 900 words originating from and commonly used in Indian languages like Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Hindi, are part of the the word-pile of OED, and an additional 70 words have recently made it to the prestigious dictionary. The word Anna existed with its meaning as ‘a former monetary unit of India and Pakistan, equal to one sixteenth of a rupee’, but now Anna2 that is a fond term in Tamil and Telugu for an elder sibling or a brother, has been added too. Other newly added words include Abba, the Urdu word for father amongst other words like Achcha, Bapu, Bada Din, Bachcha, and Surya Namaskar.

According to this report by the Times Of India, the lexicographers at Oxford University Press, study the popularity graph and regional usage of global words; currently there are 10 million words in their data base before including them in the OED; currently they have 10 million such words in their data base, before including them in the OED. Danica Salazar, OED World English Editor stated in this report by TOI that, “Indian speech etiquette features a complex system of kinship terms and terms of address, in which age, gender, status, and family relationships are marked by a highly specific vocabulary with no direct equivalents in English. This lexical gap is filled by borrowing such words from Indian languages (abba, anna, bapu, chacha, didi, mata), or adapting existing English words (cousin brother, cousin sister).”

To see these familiar words make their way to a globally acclaimed dictionary is certainly a matter of pride.

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