53

The use of these words varies between countries. Your friend is clearly employing the Indian English colloquial use of the word. I have visited India several times and it doesn't take long to pick up the differences. I assume the Indian variation is due to the prevalence of vegetarians in the country and the limited number of animals that are eaten. In ...


34

Most non-Indians have the same habit! It's called a dysfluency because for a moment your speech stops flowing (fluent literally means "flowing freely"). And Codeswitcher's answer is correct; these are often referred to as filler. Of course, we don't usually write this sound down, but when we do we usually spell it uh, not a. Even though it sounds like ...


32

Without hearing you speak it's difficult to say what you should work on. Indian English embraces native speakers of many different languages and dialects, and each brings different problems to English pronunciation. With respect to phonology—pronunciation of individual sounds, what you call ‘alphabets’†—this Wikipedia article ...


19

That's called filler (honest!) and is a form of speech dysfluency.


18

No, we would not say "I slept at 10". (AmE). Either say I was sleeping at 10. (this means you were also sleeping some before and after 10) or I {fell asleep/went to sleep} at 10. (means you were not sleeping before 10.)


18

In American English, meat is a general term for any flesh, so your question was perfectly logical. Asking for something more specific than "meat" should generate a response such as "beef", "chicken", etc.


15

This is more about culture than about fluency. Americans prefer direct requests. Let's work with your example. A polite desi will imply a course of action and request to "kindly do the needful." Mr. Singh, I'm sending my cousin who is interested in learning guitar. As you have better contacts with musicians, kindly do the needful. This is well received ...


14

You can't use 'wake' and 'sleep' in the same way because they have significantly different meanings. 'Wake' is specifically a transition from one state to another. When I wake, I stop sleeping and start being awake. This happens at a moment in time, so I can specify just one moment. "I woke at 10." 'Sleep' is an ongoing process. I start sleeping, sleep ...


13

I'm a native speaker, and we use "get ready" in exactly the way you describe. Even though we sometimes qualify the phrase by saying: Get ready for [some event], that "for" clause can be omitted when the listener already knows where we are going. In other words, although get ready can mean different things in different contexts, I can still usually say: ...


10

Intonation is a general term for the pitch of your voice rising and falling as you speak: It includes things like the pitch of your voice rising at the end of the sentence to signal a question, or lowered pitch to indicate a parenthetical phrase. It excludes phonemic pitch contrasts used to distinguish words as in tonal languages (Thai, Mandarin) or pitch ...


10

There is no one and only "correct way". I would not use "myself" as part of the introduction, though. Hello, my name is ... Good morning/afternoon, I am ...


8

As I wrote elsewhere, I'm not a big fan of "do the needful". I said: I find it a little too condescending and dictatorial for my tastes, as though the details of what is necessary are too trivial for the speaker to even know what they are. However, that take was rebutted by an Indian user who responded: In Indian English, "please do the needful" is ...


8

Do the needful is Indian English, which has been covered on ELU. If you're only interacting with other speakers of Indian English then feel free to use it, but avoid it in any other contexts (most Americans and Brits will think it's quaint/uneducated). In general, the "standard" form is do what[ever] is necessary, but in OP's specific context most likely ...


8

I understand your confusion. At least in India, both are in practice. However, if you typically go by its Hindi origin 'लाख', the spelling 'Lakh' is proper. It's worth noting that OALD has an entry for 'Lakh' and not 'Lac'. [Personally, I prefer/practice 'Lakh'].


8

OALD says that 'meat' is a flesh of an animal or a bird that we can eat. It includes mutton as well. But, mutton is not a word for every type of meat as mutton denotes meat of only an adult (fully-grown) sheep. Check also the Merriam-Webster definition of mutton. Therefore, you were right when you asked "What meat?" When we say meat, we mean the flesh of ...


8

This is an example of the very common problem of how to refer to people of unknown or irrelevant sex. Native speakers disagree, often very strongly, about the best way to deal with this. Many native speakers do not even agree there is an issue to be addressed. Historically, prescriptive grammarians tended to give "he" as the "correct" way to describe a ...


7

The two main problems in following Indian speakers of English are a) the sounds t, d, and r, and b) aspiration. For t and d - these need to be pronounced using the tongue against the alveolar ridge, just slightly back from the teeth. It's important not to touch the teeth when pronouncing these sounds. The r is pronounced with the tongue pulled slightly back ...


7

As I said in my comment on your question, the tricky part is quantifying how many doubts you are having. Sure, in your title here, you've said ONLY ONE (in capital letters). However, your sample sentence (the one I edited) initially read as follows: I have a doubt, a clear doubt. I'll pay you for this. Just snoop around my wife and find out whom does she ...


6

It's a filler and what you are talking about is the pronunciation of 'a' in speech. Actually, 'uh' is similar to 'a' in Hindi or other Indian languages. In English, 'A' is pronounced as 'Ae' in Hindi and 'U' is pronounced as 'A' in Hindi. So we are using 'uh' in speech as a filler. I agree to snailplane's answer as well.


6

"He saw it work" and" he saw it worked" mean two different things. They are two different meanings of the verb "work". He saw it work. means he saw the idea in progress /as it was taking shape. The pronoun "it" is object of "saw". He saw it worked. means he realized the idea worked (i.e. was successful). We could rephrase the sentence that way: ...


6

Yes, learn the phonemes of English (44 sounds), not the 'letters'. Find out which ones you have difficulty with, for example many Indian people need to change the way they say r, d, t. Find out here http://accent-expert.com Also rhythm and intonation (the tune) really make a difference to your accent and how well you communicate. Many Indian people speak ...


6

Only users of Indian English can tell you how to express the 'Standard English' sense of pastime in Indian English; and to all appearances you are our authority on Indian English dialects. I might remark, however, that pastime is literary or academic and is not often encountered in colloquial registers. "What do you do as a pastime?* is far more likely to ...


6

This question seems very country/culture rather than language specific. In the UK (as the question is tagged british-english) if you said 'meat' you could never expect the other person to know what you mean exactly. You might get asked the question "Would you like meat or fish?" as some people have a strong preference. As Varun KN points out they do ...


6

This is a culture-specific issue to immigrants (and their descendants) from India into Britain. Indian food is extremely popular in Britain; even small provincial towns have one or more (often family run) restaurant. Since Hindus don't eat beef on religious grounds and few Sikhs from the region do either, it is a widely held convention among the community ...


6

I can understand your concerns, as I am also still trying to learn English. What I mainly do, is talk. Just talk to people, make mistakes, listen to their critique, get better ;-) I think the most important thing here it not to be afraid of getting corrected by someone. I also found that talking to myself helped me a lot with pronunciation.


6

From the perspective of a British English speaker I would not use 'cousin brother' but as Alexander mentions in his comment 'male cousin' is used on occasion, where clarity is needed. But most of the time I would just mention my cousin by name. I have used the phrase 'maternal uncle' myself, but that was when I was discussing medical history with a doctor ...


6

The common term is missed call Since the type of call is intentionally not to be answered (usually the caller will hang up after a ring of two) and it will show up as "missed" on the recipients phone. The term is widely used in the UK. I will give you a missed call when I am there.


5

When pluralizing multiple-word terms, we often pluralize the first word, because that is where the noun resides: one attorney at law, three attorneys at law one mother-in-law, three brothers-in-law one ambassador at large, three ambassadors at large However, if the first word (or words) function as a qualifier, we pluralize the noun at the end: one ...


5

StoneyB's answer is really excellent and I will only add a few words to his keyword imitation. Imitation includes mimicking. When you learn a foreign language you are playing a part. So listen and watch as much as you can when natives speak. Speaking certain sounds is a complex activity that necessitates to place your phonatory organs in a particular way (...


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