Imaan Sheikh — a journalist known for her association with Buzzfeed and The Juggernaut and just being hilarious overall — had an interesting question for the internet today, one that caught our attention.
She asked Twitter, "What's an English word that feels like it should've been an Urdu/Hindi word?"
Fraud, for certain, sounds like an Urdu word. Especially to an entire generation that grew up listening to Mr. Fraudiye (we miss you Awaz). Or maybe it's an association we can credit desi dads with, with their loyalty to the 'Sab fraud hai!' narrative.
Play around with these words as much as you wish but DON'T use it for a desi aunty — just take our word for it.
The post, obviously, got attention. Some of the other responses felt pretty accurate too. Tension, for example.
We feel what makes this association is less the phonetics of the word and more the definition. It might not particularly sound like Urdu/Hindi any more than any other random English word, but it's like our national state of being, if there is such a thing. We call for the global community to give us full ownership of the emotion of tension.
Yep, daunt's Urdu for sure.
Whether its frock or fraak, its more Urdu than English and you can't change our mind.
Wait...what's a chemise? Ohh you meant a shameez.
Load...shading you mean?
The moon landing was a fraud!
I, personally, vividly remember the time I learnt duffer was an English word. First thing I did was that I tried to imagine a white mom saying it to her child, and I'm still trying — duffer hun na.
Loafer (not the shoe) has been used to call out every desi human ever born, and you mean to tell me we didn't even come up with it? Outrageous.
I reject potty being an English word. Pick a new one.
It's interesting to study how languages evolve, how little 'purity' each has now, well into human evolution. In essence, all words are just sounds, or morphemes as the people with thick framed glasses like to call it (we must confess so do we, it's sort of a guilty pleasure), and as different sounds become associated with different things as signs, some signs become region specific, because they're born out of a certain cultural context that cannot be recreated outside of the said culture. Except for duffer, I can assure you, I'm a duffer in all contexts.