Book Review: Chutnefying English – The Phenomenon of Hinglish: Edited by Rita Kothari and Rupert Snell

Title: Chutnefying English: The Phenomenon of Hinglish
Author: Edited by Rita Kothari and Rupert Snell
Publisher: Penguin India
ISBN: 9780143416395
Genre: Non-Fiction
PP: 280 pages
Price: Rs. 299
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Last time I checked, one used to correct either people’s Hindi or English and today when I look around – I find that the merger of the two languages – Hinglish (or so it is known and accepted even by the MS Dictionary) needs no correction. I am a person who teaches English and corrects peoples’ incorrect English. That is my profession and all of a sudden, after reading this book, I was forced to think about what I do and whether does it really matter in the larger scheme of things, if people mispronounce of speak incorrectly. Does anyone really care anymore?

Both English and Hindi have evolved as languages in our country and it is only in India, that one can hear the marriage of the two. It is a unique blend and almost rolls off our tongues sub-consciously. We have created a new language and strangely enough it is accepted by all.
When the book Chutnefying English arrived at my doorstep, I was apprehensive to read it. It was about to break all my notions and thoughts about the English language and it was that thought which made me uncomfortable and I could not get myself to read it for a long time. However, when I read it, I was flooded with a whole lot of questions in my mind: Where do both languages stand in their singularity? Will their identities be intact in our nation, or will it merge to something, unrecognizable to us?

Chutnefying English breaks all perceptions of the spoken language. It brings to front the idea that: Is there a new language already in use in our country and is it the best way to communicate, considering most of the population is acclimatized and comfortable with it?
And then there is the other side of the story, which in effect believes that if English is anyway a second language to the nation, why then it cannot be mangled and used to our communication advantage? The book explores various perceptions and opinions to language in its entirety and then takes a step ahead to analyze what language is being created in the nation.

Chutnefying English is a book that will make you think about the language more than what just meets the eye. It will make you think of poor English in its unrecognizable form in our nation and also of Hindi and what does it mean to most of us. If you are a language aficionado or if you are just someone who is as curious as me to know more about languages and the blend of English and Hindi, then the book is sure for you. Be prepared to in all probability think differently about languages after reading this book


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