'Hinglish' makes its debut in English dictionary

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The Independent Online

For centuries French and Latin have been the dominant influences on the English language. Now, though, the popularity of mainstream BBC TV programmes such as The Kumars at Number 42 and Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee has brought with it a new phenomenon - the introduction of Hinglish.

Hinglish, according to the new edition of the Collins English Dictionary - published today - is the fusion of Hindi and English words into everyday English in the UK.

At least 26 new words of joint Hindi and English derivation - including "badmash" (Hinglish for naughty or bad), "freshie" (a new immigrant to the UK from the Asian subcontinent) and "haramzada" (a male born of unmarried parents or an obnoxious or despicable male) - have found their way into the dictionary.

It is, of course, not the first time the Indian language has had an influence on spoken English. Words like shampoo, jodphurs, pukka and mantra all have their origins in the subcontinent but are often used in the UK. But this second wave of Indian words is the first to come from television.

"The beauty of English is that from the earliest times it has been able to incorporate and adapt words from other languages," said Jeremy Butterfield, editor-in-chief of Collins Dictionaries. "Already we probably can't get through the day without using words derived from Indian languages.

"In the long run, we can expect Hinglish to influence in many fields in the same way Latin and French have over several centuries."

The sporting world also brought new entries to the dictionary.The Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie is credited with "bouncebackability" - "the ability to recover after a setback, especially in sport". "Tapping up" makes its debut - after the illegal approach by Chelsea to Arsenal's Ashley Cole. It is defined as "the illicit practice of attempting to recruit a player while he is still bound by contract to another team".

Cricket, too, makes an impact with "chin music" - "bowling or pitching aimed at the batsman or batter's head".

Collins also invites readers to contribute neologisms and one under consideration for future editions comes from the mouth of the Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who is credited with inventing the term "squeaky-bum time" ("the tense final stages of a league competition, especially from the point of view of the leaders").

"Chavs" ("a young working-class person who dresses in casual sports clothes") and "chavettes" (the female equivalent) make their first appearance - as do Asbos (the new anti-social behaviour orders).

"People have taken possession of the language and are ever more inventive about the way they use it," said Mr Butterfield. "The new words ... do not reflect change in our culture but a change in the way we use our language: they portray a vibrant multicultural society finding new ways to express itself and describe the world about it."

The words on the street

* Asymmetrical warfare: warfare between a powerful military force and a weak guerrilla force.

* Bacha: Hinglish for a child or young person.

* Bump uglies: to have sexual intercourse (US slang).

* Cyberathlete: a professional player of computer games.

* Dwell time: The amount of time a customer spends waiting in a queue.

* Galactico: a famous and highly paid footballer (from galactico - someone from another galaxy, denoting their superstar status).

* Mother-out-law: the mother of one's ex-husband or ex-wife.

* Retrosexual: a heterosexual man who spends little time and money on personal appearance.

* Shroomer: a person who takes magic mushrooms for their intoxicating effects.

* Yaba: yet another bloody acronym.