From 'Chai' to 'Namaste': 10 Indianised English Words Now in the Oxford Dictionary

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 Language is a living entity that evolves with time and incorporates words from various cultures. The Oxford Dictionary, known for its comprehensive coverage of the English language, has embraced Indian culture by including several Indianised English words. In this article, we will explore 10 such words that have made their way into the Oxford Dictionary, enriching the lexicon with a touch of Indian influence.

1. Chai:

Derived from the Hindi word for tea, 'chai' has become a popular beverage worldwide. In the Oxford Dictionary, it is defined as "a type of Indian tea made by boiling tea leaves with milk, sugar, and spices." 

2. Jugaad:

'Jugaad' is a Hindi word that signifies finding innovative solutions using limited resources. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as "a flexible approach to problem-solving that uses limited resources in an innovative way." 

3. Namaste:

'Namaste' is a Sanskrit word used as a greeting or farewell. It represents respect and reverence. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as "a respectful greeting or farewell with the palms pressed together and fingers pointing upwards, used by Hindus and others in India and South Asia." 

4. Guru:

The word 'guru' originates from Sanskrit and refers to a respected teacher or master. In the Oxford Dictionary, it is defined as "a spiritual teacher or guide from India, often a Hindu or Sikh."

5. Papadum:

Papadum is a crisp Indian flatbread made from lentil flour. The Oxford Dictionary defines 'papadum' as "a thin, crisp Indian bread made from lentil flour and often served as an appetizer." 

6. Bapu:

'Bapu' is a term of endearment in Hindi, meaning 'father' or 'papa.' It is commonly associated with Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation. The Oxford Dictionary defines 'Bapu' as "a title of respect given in India to Mahatma Gandhi."

7. Bhai:

'Bhai' is a Hindi word initially used to refer to a brother, but it has evolved to mean a friend or buddy as well. The Oxford Dictionary defines 'bhai' as "a brother or a close male friend, especially in Indian English."

8. Chutney:

Chutney is a sauce or relish made from fruits, vegetables, and spices, commonly used in Indian cuisine. The Oxford Dictionary defines 'chutney' as "a spicy condiment made from fruit, herbs, and spices."

9. Natak:

'Natak' is a Hindi word for 'drama' or 'play.' In the Oxford Dictionary, 'natak' is defined as "a drama or play, especially one performed in India."

10. Chaiwala:

'Chaiwala' refers to a person who sells or serves tea in India. It became a part of the Oxford Dictionary in June 2022, symbolizing the blend of Indian and English cultures. It is defined as "a person who sells tea (and sometimes other drinks), typically on the street or from a small roadside establishment."

The inclusion of Indianised English words in the Oxford Dictionary demonstrates the rich cultural exchange between India and the English-speaking world. These words, such as chai, jugaad, namaste, guru, and others, represent the unique contributions of Indian culture to the English language. By embracing and incorporating these words, the Oxford Dictionary acknowledges the significance of Indian language and culture in the global linguistic landscape.

These Indianised English words reflect the diverse aspects of Indian life, ranging from culinary delights like papadum and chutney to social customs like namaste and guru. They bring a touch of Indian flavor and cultural context to the English language, enriching its vocabulary and promoting cross-cultural understanding.

Moreover, the inclusion of these words in the Oxford Dictionary highlights the global recognition of Indian culture and its impact on various aspects of society. It showcases the influence of Indian traditions, values, and practices in shaping English language and fostering intercultural connections. 

By incorporating these Indianised English words, the Oxford Dictionary not only preserves linguistic diversity but also acknowledges the importance of cultural diversity. It encourages a more inclusive approach to language and promotes a deeper understanding of different cultures and their contributions to the global society. 

Furthermore, these words serve as a reminder of the ongoing evolution of language. Languages are not static entities but rather living and dynamic systems that adapt to changing contexts and influences. The inclusion of these Indianised English words in the Oxford Dictionary reflects the evolving nature of language and its ability to incorporate and embrace new expressions and ideas.

In conclusion, the presence of Indianised English words in the Oxford Dictionary signifies the cultural fusion between India and the English-speaking world. Words like chai, jugaad, namaste, and others have transcended their original contexts and become integral parts of the English language. They highlight the interplay between language, culture, and society and promote a more inclusive and diverse understanding of the global linguistic landscape. As language continues to evolve, it is important to celebrate and appreciate the contributions of different cultures, fostering a sense of unity and appreciation for our shared human experiences.

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