- When the British ruled India, they introduced Indian words into the English language.
- Several words from South Indian languages have been incorporated into English.
When the British ruled India for 300 odd years, they didn’t just export our fine silk and spices; they also incorporated Indian words into the English language. Traders from England took to our local customs, clothing and as it turns out, our languages too. Here’s a list of words that have their roots in South Indian languages, namely Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
Bamboo: The word has its origin in Kannada and its pronounced slightly differently as bambu.
Bandicoot: This word originates from Telugu and is known as pandi-kootu.
Catamaran: This word for a yatch or a boat originates from Tamil. In the local language, it’s called kattumaran.
Coir: This comes from the Malayalam word, kayaru.
Jackfruit: This word bears no resemblance to its root word, chakka. But the word Jackfruit originates from Malayalam.
Dhole: This name, given to the Asiatic wild dog originates from Kannada. In the local language, it is used to describe a young wolf and is pronounced as tola.
Anaconda: In Tamil, people describe this snake as annai-kondan, meaning elephant killer. In English, this sounds slightly different.
Calico: The name of this textile originates from the place where it was woven- Calicut. Calico was dyed with patterns and was exported back to Europe.
Mango: The anglicised word for mango is manga in Malayalam and Tamil. Speakers of both languages dispute its origin but suffice it to say that English name for this tropical fruit originates from Dravidian languages.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 7:01 PM IST