[They are in there, often unnoticed. The words that have become part of everyday English. Loot, nirvana, pyjamas, shampoo and shawl; bungalow, jungle, pundit and thug.
Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Malayalam, Portuguese and English words pinballed around the globe in the 16th and 17th Centuries, revealing how languages evolve over time as culture is made and remade, and people adapt to conditions around them. This is neatly illustrated by three words – shawl, cashmere and patchouli – that travel hand-in-hand from India into 18th-Century English.
Long before the British Raj – before the East India Company acquired its first territory in the Indian subcontinent in 1615 – South Asian words from languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam and Tamil had crept onto foreign tongues. One landmark book records the etymology of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases. Compiled by two India enthusiasts, Henry Yule and Arthur C Burnell, Hobson-Jobson: The Definitive Glossary of British India was published in 1886. The poet Daljit Nagradescribed it as “not so much an orderly dictionary as a passionate memoir of colonial India. Rather like an eccentric Englishman in glossary form.”]