By Sanjay Saigal
In his list of lessons learned traveling by Indian air carriers -- who knew? -- topmost for my fellow guest blogger Sriram Gollapalli is:
1. Flights can be advanced (seemingly without too much notice)
Here Sriram inexplicably lets pass an opportunity to circulate a wonderful word from Indian English -- prepone.
Prepone is the antonym of postpone. It makes perfect sense. If an event is re-timed to occur earlier than previously scheduled, it is preponed. A marriage is preponed, for instance, if the couple decide to elope to Las Vegas instead.
Why is this word not in common currency worldwide?
Locutions in Indian English can be mystifying to the untrained ear. North Indians of a certain age, for instance, might say something along the lines of, "James Cameron is the holisoli on his films." Holisoli, as it happens, is a re-purposed "wholly and solely." In other words, James Cameron is responsible for all aspects of his films.
A couple of other locutions peculiar to Indian English that lack comfortable equivalents in American English are:
Sanjay Saigal is founder and CEO of Mudrika Education, Inc., with offices in Silicon Valley, CA and Delhi, India.
- Black money is undeclared wealth, likely obtained by illegal means. Given that cheating on taxes isn't exactly rare, I'm not sure why the term doesn't see more use in America.
- Funda, slang, from fundamental, refers to an essential truth, as in, "Did you see Charlie Sheen on television hurling fundas left, right and center?"
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is a staff writer for The Atlantic
and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the new book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America,
which has been a New York Times
best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.