Why is English one of the official languages of India?

Writing this so that lots of other people can correct me. And because I keep passing on Mehrdad’s A2As. 🙂

English is neither the official language of UK, US or Australia.

Indeed. The notion of an official language seems to have been ignored in the Anglosphere, simply because they took it as given that the language of the King was the language of government and the public sphere. They did not have any white minorities to take seriously as rivals, and they ignored any non-white minorities.

The exception of course is Canada—hence Official bilingualism in Canada. German was huge in the US back in the day, though the claims that it narrowly missed out on the vote to become an official language are exaggerations: German Almost Became Official Language.

So much for the white Dominions. What about India?

During the Indian Raj, of course, English was an official language, being the colonialists’ language. So why was it kept after 1950?

Languages with official status in India – Wikipedia

During the British Raj, English was used for purposes at the federal level. The Indian constitution adopted in 1950 envisaged that Hindi would be gradually phased in to replace English over a fifteen-year period, but gave Parliament the power to, by law, provide for the continued use of English even thereafter. Plans to make Hindi the sole official language of the Republic met with resistance in some parts of the country. Hindi continues to be used today, in combination with other (at the central level and in some states) State official languages at the state level.

So, it was envisaged that English would be phased out gradually. It hasn’t been, partly because Hindi is not the only indigenous language, and there is resistance from the states. And partly, I assume, because the Indian intelligentsia and middle class are pretty happy about being part of the Anglosphere—as a means to an end.

Let’s get some actual Indians answering this, shall we?

Why do we use number 5, in some Greek words: “You left me in 5 streets or in 5 winds”, “You are 5 (times?) orphan”, “5 t. beautiful”?

Vote #1 David Caune. Excellent and wide-ranging answer. David Caune’s answer to Why do we use number 5, in some Greek words: “You left me in 5 streets or in 5 winds”, “You are 5 (times?) orphan”, “5 t. beautiful”?

I’ll add some Greek-specific details.

Modern Greek uses a few numbers to mean “lots”; they include:

Why those numbers? Why not others? That’s a tough one, and clearly different cultures have different predilections (9 is big in English, but not Greek). But I suspect 5 and 7 being primes has something to do with it. (And 14 eyes are what 7 people have.)

Vote #1 David Caune.

Who is your favorite 20th century composer and why?

First, thanks to Victoria Weaver for her assembled works of Glass, which I will be working through.

Now, if I were a horrible human being, I would answer this question with something like this:

MAHLER!!! Because he’s technically 20th century!!! In your FACE, Victoria! WAKEY-WAKEY!!!

Ahem. But I am not a horrible human being. And really, after one post by Victoria saying that Mahler was an ideal soporific, isn’t it about time I got over it?

Well, no, it isn’t, because it amuses me. But, to the question at hand.

It’s hard; I don’t do preferences. My shortlist includes Mahler and Shostakovich first up (nyah nyah), Stravinsky, Reich, and a feeling that I have not heard enough Britten or Berg.

I’ll go with John Adams though. And 20th century John Adams; none of his more recent, post–post-minimalist stuff has grabbed me.

Early Adams: Very light minimalism, but with the best of minimalism’s drive and energy. Middle Adams: post-minimalist, elegaic and subtle.

A selection:

Harmonielehre: Adams doing Mahler.

Grand Pianola Music, movt 2: Where he really is taking the piss.

Nixon in China: where I first fell in love

Short Ride in a Fast Machine: started as anxiety about being driven in his ex-wife’s sports car. Has somehow ended up as the music of the spheres.

Chamber Symphony 3: Road Runner: Post-minimalist, frantic, and lots of Carl Stalling.

Volin Concerto: beautiful, enigmatic


Where can I access full texts read in polytonic attic Greek?

OP has clarified that he was after Audio Books in Attic. (But if they’re Audio Books, OP, polytonic is irrelevant: that’s an orthography thing,)

podium-arts.com . By our very own Ioannis Stratakis. Best reconstructed Greek recordings bar none.

What joy do homophobic people find when they’re being homophobic?

Not… feeling it with these answers. Not putting themselves enough in the homophobe’s shoes, I believe.

I think Sophia de Tricht’s is the closest to the answer I’m about to offer, but her answer was pretty epigrammatic.

Consider this: Habib Fanny’s answer to Why do social conservatives care if gay people can marry or trans people can change their names? If they claim to be against government intervention, why don’t they just leave people alone?

A closely related question. From someone who (as Clarissa Lohr just put it to me in a different context) is a bridge: Habib has been on both sides of a culturally divisive issue. And he’s not even invoking God here.

The idea is that these issues are not a matter of identity but a matter of deviancy. Deviancy must be checked because otherwise a society loses its moral compass. And the loss of a moral compass is the death knell of a society. I mean, look at Rome! They were so deviant that they ran their entire civilization into the ground.

Of course, all of this is bollocks. It’s nothing more than people imposing their own narrow-minded sense of morality on an entire population on the pretense that civilization would otherwise collapse. But I hope you understand the thought process behind it a bit better after reading this.

What joy do homophobic people find when they’re being homophobic?

They think they’re saving the world.

Are you scratching your head and muttering? Go ahead. But if you want to know what a homophobe gets out of homophobia, surely you have to get inside their head.

What is your opinion on eurasiatic and nostratic theory?

In my last lecture of Historical Linguistics, I brought in a guest lecturer, a fellow PhD student, who was an ardent Nostraticist. I hadn’t discussed Nostratic with him for years. To my astonishment, I watched him recant Nostratic right before my eyes. And the way he did it was by making fun of Starostin et al., grasping for cognates.

What do *I* think about Nostratic? It’s plausible, and it uses the comparative method, which the long range Greenbergian macrofamilies do not. It’s not generally accepted, and the scepticism is warranted given the time depth and the likelihood of noise in the data. Unproven, but wouldn’t be horrified if it turned out true. But hard to see, given current attitudes and the tenuousness of the relations, what it would take for to be proven true…

What is the Latin translation of “Don’t let the past ruin today.”?

I got thunderstorm asthma (who even knew that was a thing?), so I sympathise, Chad.

But not enough not to come up with my own parasitic rendering. Ha!

I’m going with your initial instinct:

Ne heri hodie destruat.

Subjunctives. They are cool.

What is it like to be a kabeinto? What was it like to leave Esperantujo?

My bio for Esperanto says Kabeinta Esperantisto, lingvisto: “Esperantist who has done a Kabe, linguist” (for explanation on Kabe, see question details). So I guess I qualify to answer.

I have been corresponding with Clarissa Lohr a fair bit in Esperanto recently. I don’t think that means I’ve un-Kabe’d though; Clarissa is hardly a verda batalanto. She is a Green Warrior, but that’s Green as in hair colour, the environment, and Social Justice, not Green as in Sub la sankta signo de l’ espero (La Espero).

So, how does it feel to have abandoned the Esperanto movement?

Guilt, mostly. Not debilitating guilt like I feel for Lojban (where I was a much bigger deal, as it was a much smaller group). But guilt. They were my people, and I did not stick by them.

Also: Surprise, when I see the language has moved on past me. I Kabe’d in the 90s, distracted by shinier objects (Lojban, then Klingon); Esperanto went off and coined new Esperanto slang. Without my permission. The nerve!

But Esperanto made me, in a lot of ways. Not least of which was poetics. And I’m grateful for that, forever.

Is “Anya” an ugly name?




Um, nah. It’s not objectively ugly. What name is? It’s just a bunch of phonemes. Is Melanie ugly, because it sounds like melanoma? Is Mycroft ugly, because it sounds like Microsoft?

Any ugliness we associate with names is cultural. And what’s an Anya ever done to you?

I could put in an anecdote about an Anya my wife studied with; but Quora is googleable, so I’ll pass.

What Anya is though, is unfamiliar in an English-language environment. If an English-speaking shmuck in high school hears an unfamiliar name, of course they’re going to scramble to find things about it to make fun of. Because they’re shmucks.

Now, pronouncing it as “Awnya” instead of “Ahnya”: that, I might take issue with…

In First Corinthians 13:5, what do you think Paul had in mind when he uses the word ‘unbecomingly’ to describe what love isn’t like?

Vote #1 Colin Jensen and Joe Fessenden, who have nailed it.

To add a bit.

It is the height of arrogance to fast forward to Modern Greek. But I’ll do so anyway.

In Modern Greek, the adjective askhimos < askhēmōn means ‘ugly’.

The etymology of askhēmōn is ‘un-shape-ish’. So unshapely, not with a nice shape. Deformed, as Thayer’s Lexicon put it. Not pleasant to look at.

The verb askhēmonein means ‘to act in an unshapely manner’. To act ugly. In a way that is not pleasant to experience.

You need to dig beneath the Olde English of unbecomingly, unseemly. They are correct, but you may well miss the connotations because they are Olde English. To act unbecomingly mean acting in a socially unacceptable way. It is a socially ugly way.

From the Byzantine usage I’ve seen, I’m pretty sure that includes behaviour which society (at the time) condemned as lewd, sexually ill-disciplined. But it’s not just about the sex, it’s about the ugliness.

FWIW, the LSJ (Classical Greek) definition of the verb is ‘behave unseemly, disgrace oneself’.