Sunday, 18 November 2012

Indian English - use for 'only' for emphasis

Some time ago a friend on Lernu! asked if there wasn't an English based creole in India. I said no. Thinking about that now, it seems rather strange that even after 150 years (the English conquered the last powerful Indian state Punjab in 1849 after the Second Anglo-Sikh War and eight years later, in 1857, the country came under the direct rule of the British royal family) you don't see any creole taking birth here. Nonetheless, there are some constructions unique to the Indian (include Pakistani and other sub-continental versions too) English.

One of the most popular such Indian constructions is the use of 'only' as an emphatic particle so that instead of asking 'Did you really come today?', people say 'Did you come today only?' 

Here are a couple of sentences that will give you an idea of how 'only' is used in the Indian English: 

(1) I did do it. = I only did it. 
(2) He only speaks Punjabi. = He speaks Punjabi only.
(3) Isn't wasn't only me? = It wasn't me only.
(4) The exam is on Monday. = The exam is on Monday only.

There are more idiosyncrasies. I made a list of ten of them. That list is lost and what is wrote there is wiped out of my memory. What a pity!