My friends and I recently created a group on Telegram, and so, we thought we should make a bot for fun. With all the useless functionalities in the bot there is also spelling correction. I’ll discuss the spelling corrector in a separate post, but right now I want to talk about Hinglish and transliteration. We have mixed uses of Hindi and English in our chats. Sometimes, our whole sentences are in English. Sometimes, it’s in Hindi. Sometimes, it’s a mixture of both - English and Hindi. The difference was not exactly clear when I started working on this, so let’s discuss how they differ.

What is Hinglish?

Hinglish is the dialect (if we can call it that) where the users mix Hindi and English vocabulary to create sentences. We have direct usage of words from both the languages. We also have direct translations of word from Hindi to English and vice versa. Following are the replies from our group chats.

Hindi ke liye it makes no sense.

Pure English: For Hindi, it makes no sense.

Bht kam words basically. Mostly names? koi normal convo ka word hai?

Pure English: Very few words basically. Mostly names? Is there any word which we use in normal conversation.

I thought you meant ki main kaamchor hun.

Pure English: I thought you meant that I am a slacker.

What is Transliteration?

Transliteration is the mapping of the script (alphabets or characters) from one language to another. It’s equivalent to spelling a word from a language into another language. A few variations may arise, but overall it remains unambiguous. There is also a process called Transcription where spoken language is mapped onto written symbols. Example transliterations from our chat-


Pure English: Remaining
Pure Hindi: बाकियों


Pure English: I will come
Pure Hindi: आ जाऊंगा


Pure English: Ask
Pure Hindi: पूछ

I think, in our usage (when spelling Hindi in English) we probably use a mixture of both transliteration and transcription. A linguist will be a better person to answer this though.

Hindi transliteration is also called Devanagari Romanization or as a slang, Romanagari. There are even standards for the transliteration of Devanagari to Roman script. Which was really cool. I didn’t realize until I read the wiki, how big of a field of study, transliteration is.

So, in Hinglish, we use a mixture of English and transliterated Hindi to communicate. And all of this digression occurred when I was trying to find some data for Romanagarized Hindi to be used for the spelling corrector.