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#69825 05/13/02 03:06 PM
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Saw Monsoon wedding over the weekend - absolutely beautiful movie, with great music. I really enjoyed the mix of English and Hindi in the character's speech, used completely interchangeably, as they went back and forth between the two languages within a single sentence.

It reminded me of the Spanglish I hear all the time, and of Franglais, and I was wondering if anyone knows a term for this particular mix? It seems it must exist, given the millions of people that speak both languages, but if it doesn't, let's make up one better than my proposal.


#69826 05/13/02 06:29 PM
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a term for this particular mix?

I believe it is usually referrd to as code-switching. Although it indicates a deep famliarity with at least two languages, it is regarded by some as linguistic laziness, choosing the easier route when faced with a terminology problem. Conversely it could easily be considered a simple matter of choosing the best word for a situation.


#69827 05/13/02 06:43 PM
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#69828 05/13/02 06:44 PM
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I believe it is usually referrd to as code-switching

I wasn't looking so much for a generic term for this backing-and-forthing as for a specific term for the mix of Hindi and English. I have Hispanic friends who call the language mix they speak "Spanglish." I just can't imagine that the Indians call it "code-switching" - but that ain't what you meant either.

I can see the argument for calling it laziness, but I see it also as inventing a whole new language as one goes along, with a certain set of tools at hand. Personally, I find it fascinating to listen to, and occasionally hear things expressed in Spanglish much more colorfully, or powerfully, or succinctly than either language alone could do. It's also fun.


#69829 05/13/02 06:45 PM
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Hinglish

Thank you, SilkM - I like it.


#69830 05/13/02 06:53 PM
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Merchant and Ivory, better known for their period drama's (ie, Howard'd End, etc) did one of their first films on the Indian movie business.. long, long ago.. even before Shakespear Walla, which was set in early post colonial india.
for while, these movies were broadcast on a local UHF station prime time on saturday night, and i would some time watch them.. they are funny and intestign, and better than mexican soap operas.. they are most definately better after a few drinks..


#69831 05/13/02 06:57 PM
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I think what you've got to realise is that in India English actually provides the grease that oils the wheels between areas that speak completely different languages. It is (or was, anyway) the officialese language. I know they were thinking about making Hindi the official language but the body count would be massive if they tried to enforce it.

Indians think nothing of intermixing their own language plus English, and they do it so seamlessly that even when they are talking among themselves they don't even notice when they do it. I have a bunch of contractor from India working across the cube farm from me. One is Sri Lankan (from Tamil Nahdu, though), one is from Madras and the others are from northern India. They don't have a single language in common except English - of a sort. When they speak it among themselves it is virtually impossible to understand. They have to change mental gears to talk to us. They slow down and they consciously add back in all the parts of speech they don't bother themselves with when they are talking to each other.

The thing that really bugs me is the shaking of the head to signify agreement.



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I ran into something similar. In Ireland I'd be walking into a pub (not, you understand, that I spent a lot of time in pubs, this is just an example!) and a man coming out would meet my eye and shake his head from side to side.

At first I thought it was a silent comment on my dress (bike shorts) or my beard, but eventually I figured out it was the equivalent of a greeting head nod.





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At first I thought it was a silent comment on my dress (bike shorts) or my beard

Mebee you were right the first time ... tell me more about the bicycle shorts


#69834 05/14/02 02:47 AM
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Hinglish

This is a fairly common variation... In Singapore it's called 'Singlish' (which could potentially contain blends from the four major language groups in that area - English, Chinese - covering any of the major dialects, Hindi and Malay). I'm not sure but I think Malaysia has the same thing, called (you guessed it) 'Minglish' - JessCC might be able to confirm that. Are you there, JessCC?


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