American and Indian usage of English

kanchi Goldie

Joined: 25 May 2004
Posts: 1645

Posted: 24 September 2004 at 4:18am | IP Logged

American and Indian usage of English can foul up life for you
                  in the US, warns Amir Tuteja
                  Call, don't ring!
I have lived in the US a little over 30 years now, and am
thoroughly Americanised in the usage of English. I come across the 
ndian version from frequent contact with the Indian embassywallas,
Indian students and visitors from India. There are so many differences big and small, in the meaning and pronunciation, in the usage of the
same language - English - between Americans and Indians, that it can be amusing and even embarrassing at times.
Many moons ago, the first time I went to McDonald I did not
know what was meant by the phrase "to go" ( which means to take the food away and not eat there ). The girl at the counter asked me "to go?" and I thought she was asking me to leave!
I was upset and retorted " I have come here to eat, why should
I go?" It took some explaining on both sides before I could place my

Americans are very verbose in saying things, which in themselves
are somewhat different from those in India. One almost always says "How are you doing?" when you meet an acquaintance, and the accepted reply is usually "Pretty good" and not just "Fine".
The reply to "Thank you" is "You are welcome" and not "Mention not". But if you say thanks to someone like a sales girl, she is more likely to say "Uh-ha".Unlike in India,"Excuse me" deserves an answer like "No problem".When you are about to part, sometimes, you have to play games of getting in the last word. Expressions like "see you later", "have fun","take care", "have a nice weekend","don't work too hard", come in handy.I am also reminded about the use of the expression "Really". Thisis used to mean "Oh, I see". For example, if somebody asks you where do you work, and you answer "government", pat comes the exclamation "Really!", which a first few times sounds like they do not believe you.
There are a lot of words and phrases which are used differently. A funny example is that an "eraser" is never called a "rubber", because the latter is slang here for a contraceptive!
An Indian friend at a restaurant, when asked, if she would like anything more at the end of the meal, answered: "No, I will just take the bill". You should have seen the look on the waiter's face - of course, she should have asked for the check which she could have then paid with a bill(s).
Many American pronunciations are different from the British ones
used in India. For instance, one pronounces "schedule" as "skedjule".
Also "coupon" is pronounced as "q-pon". When the "i" is preceded by an "m" or a "t", it is pronounced as "my" and "ty" - for example the words "semi" and "anti". When it is preceded by a "d", unlike in India you do not say it as "die", but as "dee", for example the word "divorce".
An elderly Indian couple have been living in this country for the last 20 years or so. This incident occurred a few years ago. They were in one of those huge parking lots at a department store. On returning to their car after shopping they realised they had a dead battery on hand.So they looked around and the lady spotted a man about to get into his truck. She told her husband that she would ask that man if he could help them. She approached him. The lady said, "Hi". The man replied "Hi, may I help you." The lady said "Yes please, could you please give me a jump".At this the man was rather shocked, and sort of taken aback. He appeared to turn red, until he noticed the elderly gent in the car. Thenhe laughed and remarked that "Oh you mean that your car needs a jump st-art". The lady remarked "That's what I said".Later in the car when the puzzled lady narrated this incident to her husband, he almost drove off the road roaring with laughter. It was only after he explained what "jump" meant, that the lady turned red. In fact we discuss this incident almost every time we go to dinner at their place.By the way, she has never been to that shopping complex ever since this incident out of fear of bumping into that man!
Tailpiece : In the US you give someone a "call" not a "ring" on the
telephone. A newly arrived Indian went to the university library looking for a job, and had a long discussion with the lady in charge. While leaving he told her, "Well I'll give you a ring tommorrow."
The lady was so stunned that she didn't speak for a few minutes,
and then blurted out, "Isn't it a bit early for that?"

Edited by kanchi - 24 September 2004 at 10:32am

tamanna Groupbie

Joined: 06 May 2004
Posts: 117

Posted: 24 September 2004 at 5:31am | IP Logged



Hi Kanchi,

You mean this article was really published????

kaleidoscope Goldie

Joined: 15 July 2004
Posts: 3547

Posted: 24 September 2004 at 6:44am | IP Logged
kanchi Goldie

Joined: 25 May 2004
Posts: 1645

Posted: 24 September 2004 at 10:30am | IP Logged
i duno , i got this from one of my fren, find it really funny andpost it hereWink

Edited by kanchi - 24 September 2004 at 10:33am
anjuman Senior Member

Joined: 11 June 2004
Posts: 671

Posted: 24 September 2004 at 11:57am | IP Logged
REGARDLESS of other countries only in INDIA we can find diff, accents(way to speak) ENGLISH
Morgoth IF-Rockerz

Joined: 01 June 2004
Posts: 6831

Posted: 24 September 2004 at 12:41pm | IP Logged

Good article, Kanchi! Smile

Another example of difference in language usage:

In North America, every kid in school will give you a weird look if you call a ruler a "scale".

  • Page 1 of 1

Go to top

Related Topics

  Topics Author Replies Views Last Post
English Hindi translation

2 3

Author: *F^a^i^z^a*   Replies: 19   Views: 3038

*F^a^i^z^a* 19 3038 08 August 2008 at 6:26pm by eternal
american life style...lolz...

Author: awesomedisha   Replies: 9   Views: 1054

awesomedisha 9 1054 30 July 2008 at 1:28pm by rihanna89
English memsaheb

Author: Leo   Replies: 8   Views: 1148

Leo 8 1148 27 June 2008 at 11:33am by nuts123
Think English is easy..huh?..try this!

Author: shruti_5   Replies: 9   Views: 1176

shruti_5 9 1176 27 June 2008 at 11:28am by nuts123
Punctuation Usage


Author: Ajay   Replies: 10   Views: 1161

Ajay 10 1161 08 February 2005 at 3:19pm by fatty1

Forum Quick Jump

Forum Category / Channels

  • Please login to check your Last 10 Topics posted

Disclaimer: All Logos and Pictures of various Channels, Shows, Artistes, Media Houses, Companies, Brands etc. belong to their respective owners, and are used to merely visually identify the Channels, Shows, Companies, Brands, etc. to the viewer. Incase of any issue please contact the webmaster.

Popular Channels :
Star Plus | Zee TV | Sony TV | Colors TV | SAB TV | Life OK

Quick Links :
Top 100 TV Celebrities | Top 100 Bollywood Celebs | About Us | Contact Us | Advertise | Forum Index