Once upon a time, there was a fashionable new language which eventually emerged as a key factor in the success of advertising in India. It could be described as one which was predominantly English though with a Hindi take; the hybrid child of Hindi and English; the unrestricted mixing of Hindi and English words and structures of sentences; or simply as a macaronic language. Back then, it was more of a ‘cool’ language of the youth, as were the advertisements targeting them – Pepsi’s ‘Yeh Hi Hai Right Choice, Baby!’, Coca Cola’s ‘Life Ho TohAisi’or even the more recent Hero Motocorp slogan ‘Hum Mein Hai Hero’.
And this erstwhile ‘cool’ language – popularly called ‘Hinglish’ (Hindi + English) –has fast emerged as the widely accepted vernacular language of the masses; so much so that even our everyday office lingo (read: workplace jargon)including work e-mails areliberally peppered with these Hinglish words and phrases, without us even realizing it!
Here are seven of the most popular Hinglish phrases which have unknowingly yet readily become part and parcel of our everyday office and work e-mail lingo:
- “What is your good name?” – Your (seemingly) friendly new manager sitting across the interview table will probably begin the interview with this phrase, a literal translation of the popular Hindi saying “Aapkashubhnaam?” Notwithstanding the fact that this statement has no significance in the English language, it’s the most widely used conversation starter in formal discussions, interviews or otherwise.
- “Do one thing.” –Another Indianism which is only understood in India comes from the Hindi statement,“Ekkaamkaro.” It generally means to carry out more than one task and hence is a misnomer. For instanceit’ll generally go something like this in an office email: “Do one thing. First ask X the time when the board discussion is to be conducted. Then compose an email as a meeting invite to be sent out to the entire team. Once that is done, make sure you get an ‘accepted’ response from each member, following which check if the conference room is free…” So on and so forth. It should henceforth be known as “Do many things.” Wotsay?
- “Do the needful.” –Nothing more, nothing less (irrespective of the fact that ‘needful’ may be subjective; different for different persons). Archaic language at its best, this is one of the most common Hinglish phrases to end an official email. It could mean “Get back to us with immediate effect or you will be sued.” It could also mean “We have waited eons for you to do the task which needs to be done, so hope you do it now.” The perfect non-threatening Britishism in English, which is the perfect example of a meaningless phrase of sorts.
- “He passed out of college in 1997.” –Let’s get this straight; ‘to pass out’ means to lose consciousnesses. It may be by fainting, through an unexpected shock, or the like. But how can one ‘lose consciousness from college in 1997’, going by the actual meaning of the above statement? The only possibility is if you passed out due to sheer excitement (you topped university) or sheer shock (you failed miserably), but nowhere does it mean graduating from an educational institution. Well, perhaps, nowhere except in Indian Hinglish wherein an employee’s ‘Welcome to the company’ email introduces him thus to his fellow colleagues.
- “Out of station.” –Taken to mean out of town (‘out of town’ is the phrase used in the US). Going by the way this Hinglish phrase is used in auto-reply out-of-office mails, we should also use ‘in station’ to mean we are in town. ‘Out of station’ ordinarily means outside a particular station (read: railway station). So there.
- “First class.” – How are you? First class. How did the meeting go? First class. How was your appraisal? First class (Really? Wow!). How was the project handled? First class. Which class do you study in? First class. Point taken.
- “Cent per cent done. OK Boss.” –Cent refers to a monetary unit in several countries equal to one hundredth of a decimal currency unit. Hence, cent per cent should mean one percent, right? Wrong. Hinglish takes it to mean one hundred percent. So when you say “Cent per cent done” in your e-mail to your superior, for some (weird) reason you mean you’ve completed your work. OK Boss? Yes, here’s another phrase which is widely used to address you manager (read: superiors).
Okay then, as long as we know your good name and when you passed out of college, you’re welcome to work in this office. Of course, provided you do the needful and do it first classconsistently.And yes, no out of stationmails allowed please. The work should be cent per cent completed. OK Boss?!