Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bangalorisation of English 3

What version of the English language should be used by an Indian writing an official email to a person in China, Korea or Taiwan? Is it American, British, Australian or Canadian?? Or Indian?

Do I say, behaviour or behavior?
Color or colour?
9/27 or 27/9 ?
Football or soccer? -- well, that doesn't appear in the mails I send, of course!

Having been brought up on English brought to India by the British, my loyalty lies with what I would call The Real English. All else, to me, is derived from it and not worth following. However, when I communicate with customers from other countries whose only exposure to the language is perhaps through the movies from America, and my Word editor not only suggests with a red underline but adamantly changes every UK English spelling I type to US English, I slip to a mixed version which looks absolutely unacceptable to me but does serve the purpose.

Not that it matters, of course. The replies that I get to my mails do have only the least semblance of the language.

As days pass by, and English grows as a global language, it is becoming more and more difficult to categorize the phrases as belonging to this or that region of the world.

More on English from this part of the world, later.
For earlier blog posts, go here.

Your experiences?


  1. I beleive that although there are at least 7,000 languages throughout the World, and an increasing number are endangered through the linguistic imperialism of both Mandarin Chinese and English.

    The following declaration was made in favour of Esperanto, by UNESCO at its Paris HQ in December 2008.

    The commitment to the campaign to save endangered languages was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations' Geneva HQ in September. or

    I hope you do not mind me passing on this information.

  2. Thanks for the links.
    I had stumbled on this thought (about languages) unintentionally, but now I find that I am becoming more and more interested.