So, since I have glossophilia, this news is something I always look forward to: OED i.e. the Oxford English Dictionary has come out with its list of new words added this year.
And every year round, a couple of Indian expressions find their rightful place and it helps us continue to look on to the Englishman with regard.
This time, Aiyoh has made it to the hallowed rolls. With another discovery looming.
Backstory: I’m a Gujju who finds it utterly normal to utter Aiyoh when expressing shock, awe, or surprise. And that’s not normal at all. So when my fave Aiyoh made it to OED, imagine my sense of vindication (Aiyoh in OED) !
Then imagine my sense of disappointment upon finding out that all this time I had been speaking Chinese. Kudos to my multilingual self but still! Turns out, Aiyoh is of Mandarin origin and Aiyah, Cantonese.
So, quite literally the most used word in the South, almost like a punctuation mark, isn’t Indian at all.
BTW – glossophile is one who loves languages.
Which brings me to another observation: Almost all of our languages have some entirely versatile words that can mean an entire range of emotions, and interpretation of which depends on who employs it, how, and when.
Like Achcha in Hindi. Achcha literally means ‘good’. As in, How are things? – Achcha hai!
As in… Achaha, so you think you’re so smart! I’ll show you! | Achcha? Is that what happened? | Achcha, I thought so. | Achcha, okay, I’ll do it.
So, basically, it’s a reflection of a very pluralistic culture here. These are the Indian words that made it: Langra (the Mango variety), Tithi (dates in the lunar calendar)
Very much like the head wobble we Indians do, which also could mean anything from okay to good, to yes, to I don’t know, my bad… and whatever else you want.
Are there any such words in your language that mean a whole spectrum of things?