Urdu words ‘Abba’ and ‘Achcha’ become part of Oxford English Dictionary

October 26, 2017
Samaa Web Desk

NEWS DESK: As many as 70 new words from Urdu, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil and Telugu languages were added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) in the latest update that happened a month ago, reported Times of India.

Urdu words ‘Abba’ and ‘Achcha’ are among the words recently recognized by the dictionary.

‘Anna’, meaning elder brother in Tamil and Telugu, has also found recognition in the OED.

Anna existed in the dictionary as a noun, which means a former monetary unit of India and Pakistan, equal to one-sixteenth of a rupee. Now, anna2 (also annan), noun, has been added. ‘Anna’ in Telugu and Tamil means an elder brother, often used as a respectful title or form of address.

‘Abba’, Urdu word for father has also been added. Other words added in the latest edition of OED are Achcha, Bapu, Bada Din, Bachcha, Surya Namaskar. Most of the words added pertain to relationships, culture and food.

In addition to Achcha for okay that already exists, Achcha, an exclamation used to express an emotion of surprise, doubt and joy, is now part of the OED.

According to ‘Release notes: Indian English’ written by Danica Salazar, OED World English Editor, “Seventy words originating from Indian English have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in this latest update, alongside the 900 or so words already existing in the OED.”

She writes, “Indian speech etiquette features a complex system of kinship terms and terms of address, in which age, gender, status, and family relationships are marked by a highly specific vocabulary with no direct equivalents in English. This lexical gap is filled by borrowing such words from Indian languages (abba, anna, bapu, chacha, didi, mata), or adapting existing English words (cousin brother, cousin sister).”

The OED publishes four updates a year in March, June, September and December, respectively . The Oxford University Press New Words Release notes that more than 1,000 new words, senses and sub-entries have been added to OED in the 2017 September update, including words like worstest and fungivorous.

K Venkat Reddy , professor at English and Foreign Languages University Hyderabad, told TOI, “Well known dictionary publishers in the world such as Oxford, Cambridge, Webster, Collins constantly keep tab on the real English being used in real situations both in written and spoken forms. The Oxford University Press has made public how they go about collecting the data, called `corpus’ to compile the dictionary. They keep tabs on all walks of life from sports to marketing to politics to education to gossip to social media to collect the words. The corpora available with the OUP include 10 billion words. It studies whether words are becoming more or less popular, and how they are used regionally. OUP appoints readers to read a wide variety of texts and report the changes taking place in the use of language.”