Below is an interesting short film created from outtakes of The End of the Raaj, a recent documentary about the Anglo-Indian community. This snippet discusses the Anglo-Indian dialect, and the various words and terms associated with this sub-culture. It’s a long clip, but if you have the time, it’s worth watching:
This extended trailer for the complete documentary (by Anglo-Indian-Australian filmmaker Paul Harris) offers a crash course on this unique group. “Anglo-Indian” began as a term referring to English people (and things related to English people) in the sub-continent. Later on, as you might surmise from the above clip, the term became associated with Indian people with substantial amounts of English ancestry.
Obviously, the snippet I’ve posted above does not represent one type of dialect. Many of the interviewees are expats. Those who clearly grew up in India, however, exhibit a fascinating variety of accents. Some older speakers have something like a modified type of British Received Pronunciation, making clear the impression of similarity between Welsh and Indian English: both may pattern after “Standard” Southern British while maintaining striking remnants of non-English languages.
I must admit that when Indian friends have used the term “Anglo-Indian,” it is usually accompanied by not a little mockery. The history of the Anglo-Indian population clearly raises questions about colonialism, class and Indian history which I am extremely ill-equipped to answer. The dialect, however, has much to say about both the past and future of Indian English.
On an unrelated note, a few life developments have kept the posting a bit sparse on this site of late. I’ll have more to say tomorrow!