2.1 Introduction

One pertinent issue that has been haunting scholars for some years is related to the Englishness of Indian English. The study of Indian English thus has received a lot of attention during the past few decades (see Kachru 1965, 1972, 1983, 1986; Bansal 1976; Parasher 1991; Verma 1974, 1980; Aitchison and Agnihotri 1985; Agnihotri et al 1988 among others). In spite of the fact that a considerable amount of work has been done on the structure of Indian English, it is still not possible to associate Indian English with any unique set of phonological, morphological or syntactic features.

The work done on Indian English can be broadly divided into two major categories. For some scholars, the existence of Indian English is beyond any debate. The term ‘Indian English’ is very widely used and some of its distinguishing structural features are described. Another group of scholars, on the other hand point out that Indian English (IE) is no different from British English (BE), particularly in the major area of syntax. This group of scholars considers the term imprecise and misleading.

To take a more modest position the Englishness of Indian English lies in that it shares with native varieties the core grammatical system, major part of its lexicon and phonology. On the other hand, IE has several varieties with their specific accents and phonological features and often a distinct lexicon. At the phonological level one is likely to find the maximum amount of deviation, but the syntax is almost identical to that of British English. To quote Halliday et al (1964:294), “speakers of non-native varieties of English in West Africa, West Indies, India and Pakistan speak English very differently from the way Englishmen speak it. Their grammar remains that of Standard English, with few important variations, their lexicon too, differs little from the normal usage; but the accent is noticeably and identifiably local.”

English is used in India as a second language. In second language, variations in language proficiency indeed become very important. IE speech community comprises educated people who use English proficiently and it is not always easy to distinguish them from the ‘native’ speakers of English. On the other hand, there are several people whose performance is categorized by different stages in second language acquisition. Very often what are described as features of IE are indeed the kind of errors that undergraduate learners make in the process of learning English. Considering Educated Indian English speakers to define Indian English, in the very same way, as Educated British English speaker is an Indian phenomenon.

2.2 Phonetics and phonology of Indian English

Work on the phonetics and phonology of Indian English so far has been largely sketchy or tilted towards the use of English in a particular region. Because of an earlier focus on language teaching, IE has often been characterized as a deviant variety with scholars focusing on its phonetic differences from RP. It is nonetheless surprising that no full-length description of IE is available, despite its widespread use. Major work done on the phonetics and phonology of IE can be divided into four major categories (Agnihotri 1991).

> Studies which attempt to describe the segmental and suprasegmental aspects of IE e.g. among others, Prabhakar Babu 1971; CIEFL 1972; Bansal 1978, Pandey 1980; and Sahgal and Agnihotri 1987.

> Studies which compare the sound systems of BE and Indian Languages and in the process involve a variety of IE e.g. among others, Masica et al 1963; Bansal 1981 and Chaswal 1973 in the case of Hindi; Balasubramanian 1972; 1973; 1975 in the case of Tamil; Warrier 1976; Jose 1992 in the case of Malayalam; Sethi 1971 in the case of Panjabi etc.

> Studies which consists of pedagogically oriented contrasts between BE and a regional variety of IE e.g. among others, Telugu English (Prabhakar Babu 1974), Hindustani English (Bansal 1970-1971); Rajasthani English (Dhamija 1976), Marathi English (Rubdy 1975; Gokhale 1978), Tamil English ( Vijayakrishnan 1978), Bengali English (Nigam 1970; Syngle 1969) etc.

> Studies which focus on the perception and intelligibility of IE e.g. among others, Bansal (1978), Ramunny (1976), Garg (1979) and Upendran (1980).

Though various studies have tried to identify the phonological phenomena of IE, none of the studies have been able to characterise phonological features, which may be said to be uniquely associated with IE. However, Bansal (1983) provides a useful account of the phonology of IE, based on the work of Gimson (1980); Aitken et al (1979) and Nihalani, Tongue and Hosali (1979). The variation found in the utterance of many vowels and consonants across the length and breadth of the country is attributed at least to some extent to the following factors:

a) Indian languages influence the phonology of IE.

b) Within the languages of the respective language families there is much regional variation.

c) Since English is taught to Indians by Indians, the local influence of sounds can be easily perceived.

d) Sociologically, the IE speech community consists broadly of three kinds of speakers: i) a significant number of educated fluent IE speakers, whose command over English is near native ii) undergraduate second language learners and iii) a section of people whose competence is severely limited and who can use English only in their restricted domains e.g. shopkeepers, drivers etc.

The phonological description provided here is highly influenced by the work done by Bansal (1983), Pandey (1980, 1981) and Agnihotri (1991).

2.2.1 System of Vowels in IE

Indian English has a system of 17 vowel sounds as compared to 20 vowel sounds in BRP (British Received Pronunciation). In contrast with 12 pure vowels and 8 dipthongal glides in BRP, IE has 11 pure vowels and 6 vowel glides.

Pure vowels: /I, i, ε,Θ,A,o,ʋ,↔,,ɑ,Y,ε/

Glides: /↔I, ɑY ↔I, I↔, ε↔, Y↔ /

Representation of IE vowels in terms of cardinal vowel system:

i ʋ I Y ε o ε  Θ  ɑ

Striking differences between BRP and IE:

a) Where BRP has two distinct phonemes / ↔ / and //, IE only has / /. However IE has evolved its own ways of characterising the two set of words distinguished by /↔/ and / /. Example: words like cot and caught are distinguished by length and words like shot and short are distinguished by the presence of /r/.

b) Where BRP speakers use 4 monophthongs /e, I, ↔, u/, IE speakers have / ε,o:/.

c) Words which have //, /ε/ or / ↔ / in BRP have only / ↔ / in IE.

d) Weak forms of vowels are not used in unaccented syllables in IE.

2.2.2 System of Consonants in IE

1 Stops

Out of the stops /p, t, k, b, d, g/, it is only the former three that show different realizations. Firstly, the voiceless stops are not aspirated in the stressed syllable initial position in IE. This may be because aspirated voiceless stops are phonemic in North Indian languages, and the relatively weakly aspirated allophones of /p, t, k/ in RP are either not noticed or not associated with the phonemic aspirates of North Indian languages. Secondly, /t/ and /d/ tend to be retroflexed as in the words like ‘dentist, ten, den, London’ etc.

2 Nasals

In syllable–initial position only /m/ and /n/ occur; the velar nasal /N/ occurs as a homorganic variant of /n/ before velars. The velar nasal is realized as combination of the nasal and the voiced velar consonant as in the word sing. The retroflexed nasal /N/ can also be heard when the alveolar nasal is articulated before a retroflexed stop as in the word band.

3 Affricates

The affricates [tΣ] and [dZ] are distinct as in the words chin and gin and not generally subject to variation. IE uses stop-like /c/ and /j/ instead of these affricates; the IE sounds lack both the velar quality and the lip rounding of the RP affricates.

4 Fricatives

/f/ and /v/ are not realized as labiodentals in some varieties of IE. For most speakers of Oriya and Bangla and those in the Hindi speaking belt, /f/ is realized as [ph] and /v/ often overlaps with a frictionless labio-dental continuant as in the realizations of the word power-[pa:var]. In Orrisa and Bengal the /v/ is also realized as [bh] as in the word never-[nebhar]. The dental fricatives /T/ and /Δ/ are almost non-existent in most varieties of IE. The aspirated voiceless stop [th] is often used for /T/; the voiced stop [d] is often used in place of /Δ/ as in thin=[thin] and then=[den].

/s/ and /Z/ do occur in IE. However, regional variations are often heard. Eg., /s/ is replaced by / S/ in some parts of the country . The [Z] is also often realized as [dZ] as in [fri:dZ] for freeze.

The palato-alveolars /S/, /Z/ also have their variant forms. While /S/ is realized in most places as in RP, the /Z/ sound is mostly no-existent in IE. It is realized as /dZ/ , /Z/ or /j/ as in [ple:dZar] for pleasure.

The glottal fricative /h/ is generally realized as such in most varieties of IE. There is however, a tendency towards H-dropping, substituted by a low tone amongst some Punjabi speakers, e.g; house is realized as [a:us]. In south India a ‘euphonic’ /j/ and /w/ are sometimes realized in place of the /h/ as in [yill] for ‘hill’.

IE has two liquids, /l/ and /r/. The /l/ is generally ‘clear’, even after contexts that induce a dark /l/ in other dialects of English. The liquid /r/ is generally trilled; in consonant clusters in words like ‘trap’, ‘drain’. ‘Cry’ etc it has a trilled rather than approximant realization. This is true of postvocalic /r/ as well: e.g., [ka:r] and [ka:rt] for ‘car’ and ‘cart’ respectively.

Although postvocalic realizations of /r/ might be an instance of spelling pronunciation, it must be conceded that the English brought to India from the earliest times is likely to have its postvocalic rs intact.

Amongst the semivowels /j/ is only realized as [j]; while /w/ has an overlap with the labio-dental fricative /v/; it has already been pointed out that the ‘euphonic /j/ and /w/ exist in most south Indian speech as in words like [yevery] for every.

Consonant chart of Indian English:

Bilabial Labio-dental Dental Alveolar Palatoalveolar Palatal-velar Plosives p, b th , d t, d, T,D k, g Affricates tΣ , dZ Fricatives f s, z S H Nasals m n N Laterals l Continuants v r j

In brief, the differences between BRP and IE are:

a) In IE, the voiceless stops /p, t, k/ are generally not aspirated in the stressed initial position.

b) Alveolar /t, d/ in IE generally have a degree of retroflexion in their articulation.

c) / tΣ , dZ/ lack the lip rounding in IE that they typically have in RP.

d) Words which have /T,Δ/in RP generally have /th, d/ in IE..

e) IE has only /v/, a frictionless labio-dental continuant, in place of RP/v/ and /w/.

f) IE speakers use a flapped or a trilled /r/ in all positions, whereas RP speakers do not produce post vocalic /r/. 2.2.3 Suprasegmental features

It is well-known that Indian languages are largely syllable-timed as distinguished from English which is essentially stress-timed. Singh and Gargesh (1996) suggested that one of the markers of IE as a distinct variety is its peculiar word-stress and intonation patterns.

1.Word stress

Word stress in IE shows a heavy influence of the filter languages. It is observed that in IE a syllable of a word is more prominent than in RP. There appears to be a significant correlation between the weight and position of syllables within a word and their prominence. Singh and Gargesh (1995) suggested a tripartite division of syllable types for IE in terms of their weight: a) Light=(C) V, b) Heavy= (C)V:/VC, and c) Extra-heavy=(C)V: C/(C)VCC. The following rules of word-stress broadly appear to apply in IE:

a) All monosyllabic words are accented irrespective of the quantity of the syllable.

b) In bisyllabic words the primary accent falls on the penultimate syllable if it is not followed by an extra-heavy syllable, otherwise the primary stress would fall on the ultimate syllable.

c) In trisyllabic words the primary accent falls on the penultimate syllable if it is heavy by nature or position, otherwise it falls on the antepenultimate syllable.

As a result of the rules of word stress many times the shift of accent due to grammatical factors is not observable. Thus, although in Standard English, words such as ‘permit’, ‘contract’, ‘import’, ‘export’ etc will be distinguished as nouns or verbs, depending on which syllable is stressed, in IE, they are often pronounced the same way and the difference in meaning has to be inferred from the context.

2. Rhythm and Intonation

IE has its own syllable-timed rhythmic patterns. Here syllables are uttered with an almost equal prominence. This also means that often IE does not use weak forms of vowels in unstressed positions. The syllables are articulated more fully and as result IE takes more time than RP in articulating similar stretches.

IE reveals a falling intonation, which can be perceived in commands and exclamations. Raising intonation is visible in yes-no questions, tag questions, some ‘wh’-questions and in dependent clauses.

2.2.4 Some Phonological Processes of Indian English

It is known that the canonical syllable pattern is (C)V(C) and most human languages have severe constraints on consonant clusters. In English, as well almost in all Indian languages, it is not possible to have more than three consonants at the beginning of a word. In English, if there is a structure like C1C2C3V- at the beginning of a word, then C1 must be a /s/, C2 a /p, t or k/ and C3 a /y, r, l or w/. Many users of IE, in particular, users other than the fluent educated speakers, tend to approximate to the canonical form by splitting the Standard English clusters. In North India, initial consonant clusters of the type #sp-, # st-, #sk- and #sl- are generally broken up. In eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar a short prothetic vowel /I/ is inserted in the word-initial position in words like [isku:l] for school. In Punjab, Haryana and several other parts of North India, an epenthetic vowel is inserted between the two consonants to get words like [saku:l]. In both these processes, the initial monosyllable is converted into a disyllable. In North-east, particularly in Manipur and Nagaland, a word-final consonant cluster is simplified by dropping the last consonant, as in words like [fru:t] for ‘fruits’. In south India svarabhakti operates in word final –nst# clusters.

Wh-words are often articulated with the /wh/ sequence, as in [wha:i] for why. Here /w/ is aspirated, but not pre-aspirated as in RP.

IE shows greater usage of [d] rather than of [t] for –ed inflections after voiceless consonants. Thus, one can hear words like [tre:sd] for traced. Words like ‘trust’ and ‘trussed’ may sometimes be homophones in RP but are distinguished in IE by the realization of [t] and [d].

Another distinguishing feature of most varieties of IE is that very few speakers use syllabic nasals or liquids such as /l/ or /m/ or /n/ as in words like ‘bottle’, ‘bottom’ and ‘button’.

2.3 Morphology of Indian English

In general, IE respects the rules of Standard English in morphological matter. Trudgill & Hannah (1982) proposed that compound formation is a unique feature of Indian English, i.e. IE may use compound words where as SE does not e.g. ‘chalk-piece’, ‘key-bunch’, ‘meeting notice’, ‘age barred’, and ‘pin drop silence’. A quintessential Indian English term which comes from compound formation is ‘time-pass’ (not interesting). For example, many speakers may use ‘time-pass’ for eating ‘pea-nuts’ etc. In IE many English mass nouns are often pluralized and end up with words such as ‘litters’, ‘furniture’s’, and ‘woods’. Sometimes words, which should be pluralized, are not, for example, ‘one of my relative’.

Jason Baldridge (2002) also suggested that Indian English uses compound formation extensively. The compounds ‘cousin-brother’ and ‘cousin-sister’ are one of the unique examples of IE -- a function, which is inherent in the terminology of most Indian languages.

Baldridge (2002) further proposed “when bringing Indian words into English, terms such as roti (bread), which are already plural, will be pluralized for English by the addition of –‘s’ (rotis). English suffixes are also appended to Indian terms. Other suffixes such as -ic (Upanishadic), -dom (cooliedom), and -ism (goondaism) are used to create new usages for Indian terms. Prefixes can also be used in new ways. In Indian English, the prefix pre- is substituted for the prefix post- in words like ‘postpone’, creating a new word ‘prepone’.

Other distinct features of Indian English are:

1) Deviant nominal: non-count nouns are pluralized.

Example: IE a) Literature has enough evidences to show

BE b) Literature has enough evidence to show.

2) Deviant Modifiers: different use of modifiers.

Example: IE a) I shall be very much grateful to you.

BE b) I shall be much grateful to you.

3) Category confusion: Adjective for noun

Example: IE a) Kindly recall our telephonic conversation

BE b) Kindly recall our telephone conversation.

2.4. Lexicon of Indian English

The Indian English lexicon has many distinct terms which are commonly used by its speakers. Some arise through the use of old and new morphological features. Others come from acronyms and abbreviations. Many terms from Indian languages are utilized and new usages for English words or expressions are created. However many of these terms and usages are specific to the specific age group of Indian English speakers.

Many abbreviations are used in IE.

congs ‘congratulations’

subsi ‘subsidiary’

princi ‘principle’

New words and new usages of standard words are introduced as well.

For example: 1) A ‘food grinder’ is simply called a mixi.

2) A ‘deadly movie’ or event is hard-hitting and action-packed.

Some items are directly related to characteristics of Indian languages. For example, Indian English speakers will often ask, ‘what is your good name?’ which is a somewhat literal translation of Aapkaa shubh naam kyaa hai? in Hindi. An Indian English speaker says ‘today morning’ (aaj subha in Hindi) or ‘yesterday night’ (kal raat in Hindi) to mean ‘this morning’ and ‘last night’. Indian English speakers commonly use ‘you people’ when they want to address more than one person which is a simple translation of aap log or tum log in Hindi. Many Indian English speakers use expressions such as general mai (in general) and ek minute (one minute) which are prevalent in Indian English.

The vocabulary of IE has number of words that are not found in SE.

⌲ Words of Portuguese origin such as almirah, ayah, caste, cobra, mosquito, and peon.

⌲ Indian words via the Portuguese such as betel, bamboo, coir, copra, mango, and curry.

⌲ Indian words such as bandh, lathi, tussore,lakh, crore, double-roti.

⌲ Some functional terms continuing from the Moghul period, such as zamindar, chowkidar, sepoy.

⌲ Miscellaneous words of Asia such as pyjama, godown, bakshish, cushy, bandicoot.

⌲ Other words such as posh, blighty, kedgeree, gymkhana.

2.5 Syntax of Indian English

In both SBE and IE, the overall rules are the same. Similar syntactic structures are acceptable to both the groups. However within the possible options, the preferred structures show some interesting divergence.

2.5.1 Use of articles

Kachru (1986) pointed out that the distribution of the definite, indefinite and zero articles is erratic in IE. Agnihotri, Khanna and Mukherjee (1994) however suggested that deviation in the use of articles is usually observed among IE speakers at the undergraduate level.

Even among the native speakers of English, there is sometimes disagreement as to which article should be used in a given context, but in the case of IE there is a seemingly arbitrary use of the articles a, an, and the, which do not have parallels in many Indian Languages. Often, ‘one’ is substituted for a; for example, ‘And one black lady’... ‘The’ and ‘a’ are often dropped when they should be said and used when they should be left out. It is not uncommon to hear something like, ‘We are going to temple’.

Agnihotri, Khanna and Mukherjee (1994) found the following deviant patterns in the use of articles among the undergraduate learners of English:

⌲ There is a strong tendency to omit articles and this increases with the complexity of the sentence structure.

⌲ There is high tendency to use the definite article in place of the indefinite article.

⌲ The indefinite article an is also used before words beginning with a vowel sound like a consonant e.g. ‘an alone’

⌲ There is a tendency to insert articles before grammatical categories than nouns for example: ‘an every month’, ‘secret to the reveal’.

⌲ Articles can also be inserted between two adjectives, e.g. ‘tall and an old fellow’.

⌲ Articles a and the are used before unspecified abstract nouns or mass nouns. Eg. ‘the business’ , ‘a business’.

⌲ Articles are inserted between the auxiliary and the main verb. E g. I had written.

⌲ Articles are also inserted between an adjective and a noun. E.g. quick the movement

The important thing to note is that these deviant patterns are observed only among the IE speakers at undergraduate level and not among the fluent and educated IE speakers.

2.5.2 Use of Emphatic Marker

There are cases of first language interference, as some IE speakers show deviant patterns in the use of ‘only’ and ‘itself’ to emphasize time and place. For example Some IE speakers produce sentences like ‘I was in Delhi only’ and ‘Can we meet tomorrow itself?’

Another aspect of grammar that is often inconsistent is the use of ‘also’ in IE. It can be found in various parts of a sentence, but it tends to be placed at the end, For Example: ‘We never used Hindi words also.’

2.5.3 Reduplication of verbs

Indian English speakers often use reduplication as a way of emphasizing an action. For example: ‘Come come! Sit sit!’ Reduplication can also replace ‘very’ for intensifying or extending something. Such usage is common in many Indian Languages.

2.5.4. Use of Verbs

Indian English speakers often use certain verbs in ways that are different to speakers of other English varieties. ‘Keep’ is used for ‘put’, so we often find Indian English speakers saying things like ‘keep the ball there’ or ‘keep the ball back’. ‘Leave’ replaces ‘keep's’ lost function of allowing something to remain somewhere. ‘Put’ is often used without an explicit destination or direction, so an Indian English speaker might say, ‘Shall I put the tape?’

Certain verbs are used in Indian English in the same way they are used in Hindi. Many Hindi speakers use kholna and bandh karna when asking someone to turn a light on or off; the literal translation is retained, so some Indian English speakers say ‘open the light and close the light.’ The same is true of ‘giving a test’ (from the Hindi verb dena) rather than ‘taking a test’. ‘Take’ means consume when used with food and drink items – ‘Will you take tea?’ The verb ‘lena’ is the Hindi equivalent of this.

2.5.5 Confusion between transitive and intransitive verbs

Parasher (1994) points out, the IE speakers generally do not distinguish between transitive and intransitive verbs. He mentions that verbs like ‘appreciate’ were used intransitively by IE speakers, but SE speakers did not accept this usage. He further indicates that IE speakers used the verb associate transitively whereas it was not acceptable to the SE speakers. However, Agnihotri et al.’s (1998) in their study indicate that there is no such confusion in the use of transitive and intransitive verbs among fluent IE speakers.

2.5.6 Tense and aspect

Parasher (1994) observed following patterns regarding the use of tenses in IE.

⌲ Use of present perfect for the simple past.

E.g. ‘Funds have been received last year’.

⌲ Present progressive for the simple present

E.g. ‘We are manufacturing a malted food’.

⌲ Past progressive for simple past.

E.g. ‘The method we were using sometimes ago’

Trudgill and Hannah (1982) also observed some difference in the use of tense and aspect between SE and IE. They listed the following difference:

⌲ Present tense with durational phrases

E.g. ‘I am here since two O’clock’.

⌲ Future in temporal and conditional clause

E.g. ‘When you will arrive, please visit me’.

⌲ Tense sequence in embedded and matrix clauses

E.g. ‘When I saw him last week, he told me that he is coming’.

⌲ Progressive aspect with habitual action.

E.g. ‘I am doing it often’.

⌲ Perfective aspect instead of simple past.

E.g. ‘I have been there ten years ago’.

Agnihotri et al.’s (1998) in their study of Tenses in Indian English noticed that most of the tense-aspect patterns generally associated with IE are the ones used by undergraduate non-fluent learners. It was suggested that these patterns could be stages in the process of learning. They suggested following patterns in IE.

⌲ IE speakers are able to handle non-perfect aspect better than the perfect aspect.

⌲ Among the IE speakers the predominant form used is the simple past.

⌲ There is strong tendency to replace perfect continuous with present continuous.

⌲ IE speakers follow Tense harmony more strictly than SE speakers.

Example: IE a) Neeti said that she met Chaya yesterday.

SE b) *Neeti said that she met Chaya Yesterday.

IE speakers accept apparent tense harmony of past tense in the matrix clause and the embedded clause though SE speakers would demand the use of past perfect in the embedded clause

One of the most indicative signs of Indian English is the use of the progressive aspect with habitual actions, completed actions, and stative verbs. This produces sentences such as

a) “I am doing it often" rather than "I do it often";

b) "Where are you coming from?" instead of "Where have you come from?”.

c) "She was having many sweets" rather than "She had many sweets"

2.5.7 Negative structures

Klima (1964) proposed that negation in English can be classified into three major categories: A) Explicit negation, in which an overt negative element is typically placed after the first verbal element. B) Morphological negation, in which the negative element is a prefix attached to a following stem. C) Implicit negation, in which the negative element is no longer overt, but is integrated into another word.

Aitchison and Agnohitri (1985) reported that the variation in the use of negative structures between SE and IE shows up in subordinate clauses. The negative structures found in subordinate clauses in SE and IE are the same, but differ with regard to the frequency with which they are used. Explicit, morphological and implicit negation are all found but in different proportions.

They came out with the following results:

⌲ SE speaker’s disfavor explicit negatives in ‘that’ complement clauses, but favor them in other types of clauses. IE speakers have no preference either way.

⌲ SE speakers favor implicit negation over raising, raising over explicit and the least favored one is morphological negation. Whereas IE speakers favor explicit negation over all the other, second being implicit, followed by morphological and the last one is raising.

They suggested that there are a number of tendencies working independently in British and Indian English, and they gradually draw the varieties apart. These tendencies are:

a) Leftward Movement Predisposition: there is a tendency in SE to favor leftward movement of negative elements, this predilection however is not shared by IE speakers.

b) Lexicalization tendency: there is a tendency in SE to utilize implicit negatives whenever possible, but this is not the case in IE.

c) Interference from First language: Negation in Hindi and majority of Indian languages is simple, and involves most commonly placing the negative before the verb, which is in final position. This could counteract a tendency towards leftward movement of negatives in SE.

d) Regularization by second language speakers. IE speakers tend to iron out exceptions found in SE. This regularization may be due to the fact that it is a second language for the IE speakers, so the tendency is to acquire more regular rules in order to ease the load.

2.5.8. Adverbs

Parasher (1994) pointed out that there are some unacceptable forms related to the positions of the adverbs in IE. He has given the following examples:

a) The heavy lab work I have now here.

b) I will be definitely joining.

Contrary to this Agnihotri et al (1998) tell us that the fluent speakers of IE do not accept these sentences and thus there is no justification in attributing this feature to IE.

Khanna (1976) pointed out that native speakers prefer to use the adverb to the left of the adjective, but in IE a sentence in which the adverb occurs in the sentence final position is acceptable.


SE: ‘She is always late’.

IE: ‘She is late always’.

However, Agnihotri et al (1998) show that it is not always the case in the normative behavior of the fluent users of English. In fact, fluent users of IE rejected the sentences in which the adverb follows the adjective.

2.5.9 Use of –ing with statives

Kachru (1986) points out that the speakers of IE, very often add progressive form to stative predicates and cites the following example:

Example: ‘I am understanding English better now’.

Trudgill and Hannah (1982) also indicate the use of progressive form with stative verbs. As in the following example:

SE: ‘Do you want any thing?’.

IE: ‘Are you wanting any thing?’.

Peter (1985) also mentions the use of the present continuous tense with stative verbs in IE.

Example: ‘I am having a headache’.

Agnihotri et al (1998) showed that the use of -ing with stative verbs is not a feature of monitored and conscious behaviour of IE speakers. Their study indicates that fluent IE speakers know that the progressive form –ing does not occur with the stative verbs, and thus do not favor sentences where –ing is used with stative verbs.

2.5.10 Relative clauses

1. Relative pronoun:

Parasher (1994) indicates that IE speakers prefer to use relative pronoun without the deletion of relative pronoun + be, whereas SE speakers prefer to use the reduced relative clause in which deletion of the relative pronoun + be takes place. Sahgal and Agnihotri (1994) point out that the relative clause cannot be followed by resumptive pronoun in SE. Their study showed that IE speakers accept the sentences in which the resumptive pronoun occurs.

However, Agnihotri et al (1998) show that IE speakers know that the relative pronoun in subject position cannot be deleted in relative clauses. One interesting observation was that though the informants are competent enough to judge the grammaticality of the sentence; the IE speakers prefer the sentences without deleting the elements though such a deletion is perfectly acceptable in SE.

2.Preposition stranding:

In SE, the relative pronoun alone can be moved to the sentence initial position leaving the preposition which occurs with it stranded.

Agnihotri et al (1998) point out that though the sentences in which the relative pronoun is moved to the sentence initial position together with the preposition is fairly acceptable to fluent IE speakers, they do not prefer to use the construction in which the pronoun is deleted.

2.5.11 wh-questions

Many studies indicate that the word order of questions in Indian English is often unique.

a) Sentences such as ‘What you would like to eat?’ and ‘Who you will come with?’ show the absence of subject-verb inversion in direct questions.

b) ‘what is your companion’ in which an inversion does not take place where it does in SE. Many scholars also claim that Indian English tends to neutralise the distinction between embedded and non-embedded interrogatives.

In SE the interrogative transformation, which is obligatory for non-embedded questions, cannot be applied to embedded questions, whereas for most of the Indian English speakers, this transformation is acceptable in both the cases. Verma (1980) mentioned that in IE the distinction between embedded and non-embedded interrogatives has been neutralized. Kachru (1985) argued that the formation of interrogative sentences can be seen as deviant constructions. Trudgill and Hannah (1982) also claimed that IE shows deviations from BE regarding wh-questions. As in the following examples:


1. ‘What this is made from?’

2. ‘Who do you come to see?’

In their study, Agnihotri et al (1998), showed that fluent IE speakers show greater acceptability for question with auxiliary inversion and low acceptability for questions without auxiliary inversion.

2.5.12 Tag Questions

Verma (1990) claims that Indian English has reduced the complex network of rules to generate tag-questions to one simple rule, i.e. suffixation of isn’t it or no.

Adding to this Kachru (1986) tells us that the transfer of the invariable postposed particle na from Hindi can be seen in IE.


a) ‘You are coming, no?’

b) ‘Your friend went home yesterday, isn’t it?’

Trudgill and Hannah (1992) also mentioned that an undifferentiated tag question isn’t it? is used in IE.

Though many earlier studies claim that Indian English speakers treat isn’t it and no as equivalent, Agnihotri et al (1998) claimed that IE speakers know that the nature of the tag depends on the person and tense of the main clause auxiliary and the main clause at least in their evaluative behavior. Their study clearly shows that this feature is not there in the normative behavior of the fluent speakers of IE. They further point out that educated IE speakers evaluate the two forms differently. Whereas no is not very acceptable, use of isn’t it is considered good.

2.5.13 Gapping in coordinate structures

In SE, deletion of the verb in the following clause can be done whereas the verb cannot be deleted in the preceding clause in co-ordinate structures.

Speakers of IE resist deletion of constituents which is more acceptable among SE speakers, both options being perfectly grammatical.


IE: ‘Mohan plays football and Sohan plays cricket.’

SE: ‘Mohan plays football and Sohan cricket.’

2.5.14 Complex sentence formation: Complementizer deletion

SE shows certain restrictions for the deletion of that complementizer. Verbs such as ‘accept’ and ‘admit’ do not permit deletion of that complementizer whereas such deletion is possible with verbs such as ‘seem’, ‘want’ etc. The overgeneralization of that complement on all English verbs has been claimed to be a fossilized (Selinker 1972) form of Indian English.

Example: ‘Mohan wants that he should win the game’.

This kind of construction violates a rule restriction of SE: verbs like want do not take that complementizer.

Agnihotri et al (1988) showed that fluent users of IE are aware of the complementizer deletion rule of SE.

2.5.15 Direct and Indirect Speech

In SE, while converting the sentences from direct speech to indirect, changes occur in speech, tense, modal and person.

a) In indirect speech, past tense becomes past perfect and present continuous becomes past continuous.

b) In indirect speech, modals change into their past forms

c) In indirect speech interrogatives changes into a noun clause.

Though there are no specific features attributed to IE in the literature, some studies indicate that such changes are not regularized in IE. Agnihotri et al.’s (1988) showed that fluent IE speakers are familiar with the basic rules of SE while changing direct speech into indirect speech.

2.5.16 Word order

Variations in the general word order are rather rare. As we showed above, even when scholars have noticed some deviant patterns, they are more in the output of the learners of English or in the Interlanguage of those whose English for want of exposure etc has become fossilized. It would be wrong to say that all or even most educated Indian English speakers accept these word order variations, although a much larger number accept them as good enough for informal use.

Examples: IE

a) ‘My all friends are here’. [possessive-predeterminer]

b) ‘Where you are working now?’ [Wh + sub.NP + aux…..]

c) ‘She is late always’ [adverb in final position]

Examples: SE

a) ‘All my friends are here.’ [predeterminer-possessive]

b) ‘Where are you working now?’ [Wh + aux +sub.NP……..]

c) ‘She is always late.’ [Adverb in non-final position]

2.5.17 Significant Differences between SE and IE

Agnihotri et al (1988) suggest that there is no closely linked cluster of syntactic features that would distinguish IE from BE for all purposes and for all varieties of IE. Whatever differences appear is just a matter of preferences. Their study revealed that most of the fluent IE speakers are aware of the rules of SE syntax; however they have their preferences for some structures. Some significant syntactic preferences are as follows:

a) Most of the IE speakers resist deletions as opposed to SE speakers in cases like

⌲ Deletion of relative pronouns in relative clauses

⌲ Deletion of verbs in coordinate structures

⌲ Deletion of embedded subjects in absolutive clauses

IE speakers do not favour deletion and sustain redundancy.

b) IE speakers prefer the sentences in which relative pronoun moves to the sentence initial position along with the preposition. In SE the relative pronoun alone or along with the preposition can move to the sentence final position.

c) In the case of negatives, IE speakers disfavour the explicit negative in if clauses whereas in SE it is a preferred construction.

d) SE speakers prefer to use different tenses in embedded and matrix clause if needed, whereas IE speakers give preference to tense harmony even if it is not required in the sentence. For example: IE speakers expect tense harmony between relative clause and the matrix clause though it is not required.

2.6 Semantics and Pragmatics of Indian English

A number of studies attempted to show that IE is systematically different from SE at the phonological, syntactic and lexical levels. It is argued above that the essential differences exist at the level of phonology. The distinctiveness of IE at the semantic and the pragmatic levels can be examined either.

2.6.1 Semantics of Indian English

Patnaik and Geetha (1994) conducted a study with fifty IE speakers, who were all teachers of English, at the college and university level. They came out with the following results:

1. IE and BE differ with respect to the meaning of the auxiliary.

2. It is not always clear which meaning can be assigned to a certain auxiliary phrase in IE.

3. Where a definite meaning can be assigned to the auxiliary phrase in IE, it appears to be the core meaning comparable to SE.

2.6.2 Pragmatics of Indian English

Pragmatics involves the notion of speech acts. The domain of pragmatics is defined by the socio-cultural context of an utterance. Pragmatics and discourse strategies are related notions. One looks at the phenomenon in static terms while the other takes into account the dynamic nature of linguistics interaction. As the discourse is largely determined by the culture, the more culture bound the discourse is, the greater the possibility of pragmatics of one variety differing from the other varieties of a language.

Kachru (1994) suggests that socio-cultural knowledge plays a significant role in the structure of discourse and its interpretations. She cites some texts to show that utterances are interpreted differently in different cultures even if the language remains the same.

Example: ‘Large wedding expenses, at all social levels, are intended to assure the social welfare of the family’s children and to enhance the family’s reputation. Family elders, especially the women, commonly believe that their economic resources can be expanded in no better way than for these purposes. They argue that economic capital is not worth much unless it can be translated into social capital. Economists and planners have deplored these expenditures, vast in their totality, that do not help to increase economic productivity. Members of a family, however, typically feel that no investment deserves higher priority than investment in the social security of their children.’ (Mandelbaum 1970:652)

He points out that ‘social welfare’ and ‘social security’ have restricted meanings and are used in specific domains in SE. Their identification with ‘large wedding expenses’ is puzzling to a SE speaker. She notices that this text introduces several new culture-bound concepts and extends the semantic range of several collocations. For the interpretation of this text, the knowledge of the entire context of social traditions, cultural values and religious practices and their relationships to the family, is required.

Parasher (1994) suggests that the topic of discourse to a large extent also determines the choice of lexis and the style of the speech acts. He proposes that significant differences between IE and SE can be expected to occur in the areas of lexis and style, because IE is also a product of language contact and it is used for certain specific purposes in the Indian socio-cultural context. IE being a non-native language for most of its speakers, it is bound to have certain characteristics of its own at least at the discourse level. He further proposed the following hypothesis: the educated variety of IE should conform to major syntactic rules of BE, and as a non-native variety, IE should show certain differences at the lexical and stylistic levels. On the basis of the data collected by him, he came out with the following findings:

1. IE speakers tend to use formal lexical items where native speakers would prefer informal or less formal items.


IE: ‘the work on this project is yet to commence’

SE: ‘the work on this project is yet to begin/start’

One reason why formal expressions are preferred to informal ones may be that English in India is learned in formal classroom settings and used for formal domains of life.

2. IE speakers express the notion of politeness differently. In SE a polite request is usually expressed by using a few syntactic devices such as past forms of modals or using a conditional construction with ‘will/would’ in the ‘if’ clause.. IE speakers however objected to this. They have their own ways of expressing politeness. IE is extremely polite in its expressions.

Example: a) ‘Kindly please advice me’

b) ‘I wish to bring to your kind notice’

On the contrary, these expressions were unacceptable to native speakers.

3. The choice of address forms in IE is much wider than what is available in SE. The signing off phrase is very much conventionalized and much choice is available. Apart from this, IE also coins new expressions to communicate the exact degree of respect to the addressee. There is also a tendency to use a concluding phrase or clause before the signing off phrase. For example:

i) Several combinations of ‘thanking you’

a. ‘thanking you in anticipation’

b. ‘thanking you, sir’

SE speakers did not find these expressions acceptable.

ii) Concluding phrases

a. ‘with best/warm regards’

b. ‘with personal regards’

c. ‘kindest regards’

4. The registers of official and business correspondence in IE use a few expressions differently from similar registers in SE.


IE: ‘if you advice us your decision’

SE: ‘if you communicate us your decision’

IE speakers show the tendency to prefer complex and compound sentences to simple ones, whereas SE speakers find the same constructions lengthy and difficult to process.

5. Excessive use of the passive construction is another distinguishing stylistic feature found in IE. The SE speakers on the other hand object to the excessive use of the passive construction.


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