“And because of the population and our colonial past, a day is not too far away when the English speaking accent of the Indian, shall be the recognised form of pronunciation .. simply because a very large number of people shall be speaking so .. interesting ..” (DAY - 3075)
Sir, in fact, that ‘day’ has already dawned when large number of Indians, settled in the West, especially in U.K. and the U.S., proved their proficiency in English language, particularly their word power and grammar, even if with their own inimitable accent, were recognized by linguists as speaking IndE language. Linguists nowadays agree widely that IndE has established itself as an 'independent language tradition' not to be mistaken for an impoverished version of the 'Queen's English. In his lecture, 'What are your views on the trajectory of Indian English?', David Crystal, the renowned linguist, puts the figure at 300-400 million, a figure that’s on the order of the population of the United States. He also clarifies the difference between Hinglish and Indian English. Unlike Hinglish, which he explains is a blend of Hindi and English, Indian English can be defined as any of the forms of English characteristic of the Indian subcontinent. Hinglish is increasingly common in India and beyond – novels have even been written in the language. The British Council's Steven Baker, resident in India for the last ten years, tells us more:
Although examples of Hinglish date back to the 19th century, with evidence of poetry and verse from that period written in a mix of Hindi and English, it did not gain widespread popularity until much later. Author Shobha De, known as 'the Jackie Collins of India', began to use Hinglish in her writing in the 1960s. It was not until the late 1990s, however, with the arrival of music channels like MTV and India’s own Channel V, that such combining of Hindi and English really exploded.
India has the largest youth population in the world and, as you might expect, the main users of Hinglish can be found within this age group. One place where Hinglish is ubiquitous is in the Bollywood film industry, which prospers from young cinema-goers. It is not just its characters’ code-switching between the two languages within a single line of dialogue; there’s also been a recent trend with Bollywood film titles to embrace a hip combination of the two tongues. Examples from the past few years include Ek Tha Tiger (Once There was a Tiger), Love Aaj Kal (Love Today Tomorrow) and Shaadi Ke Side Effects (The Side Effects of Marriage). Why simply attach a '2' to a sequel when you can come up with a title like Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara (Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Again). Although once seen as a spoken variety of the language, the appearance of Hinglish on film posters and in advertising has resulted in a growth of Hinglish in print.
The 2012 Bollywood film English Vinglish features veteran Indian cinema star Sridevi as an Indian housewife in New York, who enrols on a 30-day English course after struggling to navigate the Big Apple. The film’s title makes use of the feature of reduplication where the root or stem of a word is repeated with a minor change in its form. So in the English language where we attempt to 'razzle-dazzle' with our 'easy-peasy', 'super-duper' 'boogie-woogie', India prefers to take 'chai-vai' (tea and snacks) at the 'kursi-vursi' (chairs and other furniture) while everything is still 'garam-garam' (very hot).
India’s most recent export, the Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra, who plays the lead role in the ABC drama series 'Quantico', has been in the headlines as much for her accent as for her acting. Crystal concludes his argument by saying that language spreads because of power. If India becomes an even more significant global power, he states that a once relegated variety of English will be perceived as 'sexy'. Sounding something like Priyanka Chopra may well become the preferred variety of English that we all aspire to.
With regards and best wishes