July 14, 2014

Indian English Phrases and Slang Not Used in the US

"I'll just be coming...."  
"Have you taken your food?"  

These were a few phrases that baffled me when I "landed up" in Chennai to study my Master's in Social Work many years ago. Probably one of the most challenging aspects of moving to another culture that has the same language is realizing that it's not used in the same way. Because of this, we end up learning a lot of new ways of using a language we thought we already knew!  

This was not different for Subbu (aka Sam) in the book Ketchup and Curry. When studying in the US, he quickly came to know that simple conversations about topics such as classmates, travel plans and giving directions were so different in English, partially due to word usage. To get an idea of some of the words a typical Indian may encounter in the US that are different in India, see the PDF embedded below.  

Take note that many of the Indian English terms used in the document below are typically used in South India and many of the English terms are used in the Midwest or North East part of the US. Some slang, idioms or phrases are not used in all parts of the US or used in completely different ways as well! Feel free to share you other Indian and American English comparisons in the comment section below.


Check out the story of Subbu's journey to the US and his cross-cultural lessons that can help you adjust to life in the US. The book Ketchup and Curry: Your Guide to Life and Success in America is available on Amazon India or Amazon US

Author of this post, Jennifer Kumar is a business communications expert providing success strategies for Indians to bridge the culture gap in corporate environments. US culture training programs are offered to corporates in India, employees and trainers who want exclusive content to give them the edge in global working environments. Contact Jennifer here.  

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