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Inventing English Words

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  6 May 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Indians seem to have a special kck for inventing English words that do not exist—mainly on the basis of alogies. But English is such an unpredictable language (especially in respect of spelling) that we should have learnt long ago that alogies often do not work in English. One can cite hundreds of examples. The differences between the pronunciations of ague and vague or between singer and finger should suffice for now. Pronouncing ague on the alogy of vague or singer on the alogy of finger won’t do. The same principle works in noun formations. The mere addition of –tion or –sion can sometimes give us amusing words. We have seen many advertisements related to the NRC with the word *updation. There is no such word in English. The noun form of update is updating. Some banker created the updation monster, and now everyone is using a word that does not exist. But we Indians are tecious creatures, and will probably end up getting the word into the English dictiory with constant use just as we have done with lac as a variant form of lakh. Earlier, lac was shellac or the stuff with which we seal letters. But with constant use (especially by bankers) lac has found a place in the English dictiory as a variant form of lakh. Another word that Indians have pushed into the English lexicon is prepone. It was misused in India on the alogy of postpone to mean advance or bring forward. So the dictiory says: “verb Indian bring forward to an earlier date or time.” And with our politicians always talking of *upliftment, even this word threatens to get into the dictiory, though in English uplift is both noun and verb.

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