No I’m not quoting Alanis Morissette. Although thinking about it now maybe she was also thanking them for their contribution to the English language as I am about to here. However I highly doubt that. But who am I to say.
Anyhow, why am I thanking India? Well you may not know it but without Indian languages such as Urdu and Hindi, to name a few, the English language would not be the same as we know it today.
With words such as Guru, Karma, Dungaree and Yoga we really do have a lot to thank India for it would seem. Just how much exactly, well let’s find out.
In the rest of the English-speaking world we just call a house a house, or sometimes a home, but in England they are quite picky with giving each type a specific name. A house with only one level and no attachments is called a bungalow.
- from बंगलाbanglA and Urdu بنگلہ banglA, literally, “(house) in the Bengal style”
We were all babies and some of us may have slept in a little bed made just for you when you were little, without India we may never have had a name for this tiny baby bed we call a cot.
- fromKhāt, खाट, a portable bed.
We can thank India for helping us name the Jungle too.
- from जङल्jangal, another word for wilderness or forest.
Perhaps you’re a thief or a pirate. Either way you can also thank India for every time you got lucky and get away with the loot.
- fromLooT लूट, meaning ‘steal’. Robbery.
Every time you step out of the shower feeling fresh because you just washed your hair and life couldn’t be much better than at that moment, don’t forget to thank India for the word Shampoo.
- Derived from Hindustani chāmpo (चाँपो [tʃãːpoː]), dating to 1762.
And at the end of the night when you are about to get into bed and you reach for those warm fuzzy clothes we call Pyjamas, yip you can thank India there again.
- from Hindi, पैजामा (paijaamaa), meaning “leg garment”, coined from Persian پاى “foot, leg” and جامه “garment”
English, if you don’t already know, is a language made up of many other languages that came before it so there are many other cultures and languages to thank too. For today though whilst you sit upon your veranda (from Hindi baramdaa बरामदा) happy that you are not in a Typhoon (from Urdu طوفان toofaan. A cyclonic storm), think across the world to the land that also gave us curry and Gandhi and say a quiet, little, “Thank You India”.