Hindi has a new global brand ambassador in Oxford Dictionary! So sit back and rejoice the ‘bindaas’ spread of the ‘desi’ offering to the world.
Hindi, which is not always the language of choice for young in India, has been making sure and steady advances in the highly competitive annals of the world’s trusted source for latest new words and phrases.
Given the stiff entry barriers, Hindi has found favour with Oxford Dictionary and as a result there is an assortment of words that find pride place in the popular language guide. Come to think of it there is a word for each emotion.
Sample this: achha, badmash, bindaas, buddhu, sadhu, goonda, neta, seth, chhi-chhi, and namkin. They add to the more popular ones like bapu, dhaba, dharna, gherao, mahajan, jhuggi, and ‘Hindutva’.
Juliet Evans, Publicity Manager with ‘Oxford Dictionary’ told this paper. “Increasing multiculturalism may have led to more Hindi words being incorporated into English, and therefore a steadily increasing number entering our dictionaries each year.”
She disclosed that whilst 274 of Indian words had been incorporated in its dictionary, 374 words of Hindi etymology (it is the study of the history of words) were now part of the dictionary. However, 337 words from Sanskrit, 144 from Urdu and 27 from Tamil have also been incorporated by ‘Oxford Dictionary’.
Explaining the methodology, she said, “We continually monitor the Oxford English Corpus and the Reading Programme to track new words coming into the language. We need to see evidence that a word from another language has been naturalized into English in order to include it.”
The induction of Hindi in English has received mixed response back home. Hindi thinker and writer, Dr. Namwar Singh, is not impressed. He said, “We should think of the future of Hindi language. Earlier government was interested in celebrating the Hindi Divas but today government has no interest in doing so.” Hindi Divas is being officially celebrated today.
“It is not as if all is lost for Hindi”, said writer and author Vishnu Nagar. “The soul of the language is intact. Hindi has not yet lost its importance in India. Starting from Mahatma Gandhi to Anna Hazare everyone has given priority to Hindi language to communicate with masses, in their movement of struggle.” Importance of Hindi can also be gauged from the popularity of Hindi movies all over the world.
Endorsing Nagar’s view, Hindi poet, Ashok Chakradhar said, “Hindi may not be popular among urban youth but in rural India, it is playing a significant role. I do admit English has become an international language but Hindi has its own space.”
According to the Global Language Monitor report published in 2009 among all languages while English had got maximum 10, 00,000 words, Hindi stood low with only 120,000 words. But according to a survey by United States (US) based Modern Language Association (MLA) the enrollment in Hindi language course had increased over the years. Survey claimed, in US colleges, while 13.4 per cent rise has been registered in Hindi courses between 2006 and 2009, a whopping 889.7 per cent has registered between 1974 and 2009.
On the fillip side, the advent of technology has pushed the Hindi language far and wide. To attract more youth, popular social networking websites (Facebook and Orkut) have gone vernacular.
A Facebook India spokesperson said, “Facebook started its translations application in 2008 so that it should be easily accessible to everyone. In order to translate the site quickly, we built an application internally for user-based translations, which enables us to combine the passion of users who wanted Facebook in their language and know their language the best, with a technical, systematic approach.”
Nokia, which was at the forefront of telecom revolution in the country, said, “The development of a Hindi interface and applications in local languages has hence been a significant focus for the company. For Nokia, this innovation began way back in 2000, when we launched the Nokia 3210 – the first phone with a Hindi menu. Later we also became the first handset company to launch Hindi SMS (Saral Mobile Sandesh) for the Indian consumer. Additionally, as an ongoing initiative, we ensure that our key applications and software like Nokia Life Tools cater to the Hindi speaking audience.”