English is an official language of India, with approximately 90 millions speakers in 1991. However, it is mainly used as a second language. Given the huge number of languages in India, English serves as a useful common language for communication, especially in government, civil service and the judiciary. Indian English or South Asian English or Pigeon English or Hinglish is an informal term referring to several 'incorrect' varieties of English spoken primarily in the Indian Subcontinent. Generally indicating low levels of education, these dialects evolved during and after the colonial rule of Britain in India. Several idiomatic forms, derived from Indian literary and vernacular language, also have made their way into Indian English. Despite this diversity, there is general homogeneity in syntax and vocabulary among the varieties of Indian English.
Any of the
native varieties of English produce unique stresses on the language.
English is a stress-timed language, and both syllable stress and
word stress, where only certain words in a sentence or phrase are
stressed, are important features of Received Pronunciation. Indian
native languages are actually syllable-timed languages, like Latin
and French. Indian-English speakers usually speak with a syllabic
rhythm. Further, in some Indian languages, stress is associated with
a low pitch, whereas in most English dialects, stressed syllables
are generally pronounced with a higher pitch. Thus, when Indian
speakers speak, they appear to put the stress accents at the wrong
syllables, or accentuate all the syllables of a long English word.
The Indian accent is a "sing-song" accent, a feature seen in a few
English dialects in Britain, such as Scouse and Welsh English.