To understand India's influence on English, you need a Hobson-Jobsonby Josephine Livingstone / June 28, 2013 / Leave a comment
Pyjamas did not exist until the 19th century. I’m not sure what people wore to bed in the 1700s, but it wasn’t pyjamas. Pyjamas by any other name may well have been as snug, but the fact remains: without the English in India, there would be no India in English. The best way to understand this story is to get your hands on a Hobson-Jobson.
As its subtitle says, Hobson-Jobson is “A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, And of Kindred Terms; Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive.” The first edition was published in 1886. And now Kate Teltscher, a scholar at Roehampton University, has heroically abridged the 1903 2nd edition for our reading pleasure (Oxford University Press, £14.99). She has halved its size to a very manageable 570 pages, without cutting any good bits.