Every nook and corner is an Indian English expression - The New Indian Express

Every nook and corner is an Indian English expression

Published: 29th October 2012 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 27th October 2012 03:12 PM

Soccer fans from every nook and corner of Kerala and from other parts of the country are flocking to Kannur to see the football icon (Diego Maradona).’ (Times of India, Chennai, October 23, 2012)

‘Our aim is to spread the gospel to every nook and corner of India’ (www.raptureintheairnow.com/gmi/about_us.html).

In each of the above sentences, taken from a news report and a blog, the expression ‘every nook and corner’ is used. The expression means from every part of a place. Most of us are familiar with this idiomatic expression as it is widely used everywhere in India. It is so widely used by almost everyone who speaks in English that it has become an accepted Indian English expression.

Five years ago, when I used the expression ‘every nook and corner’ while chatting with an English friend of mine at a restaurant in London, he said, “Every nook and corner? It is a typical Indian English expression. The idiom used by native speakers of English is ‘every nook and cranny’.”   Here are some real examples from the British and American media.

• Our little explorer seems to get into every nook and cranny and find things to touch in the most obscure places.

• This section contains newspapers, news magazines and news agencies that deliver regional and international news and information from every nook and cranny of the world.

• Mark Nelson, Manager of Media Programmes for the World Bank Institute, calls it “a comprehensive guide that covers every nook and cranny of newspaper management.”

As the English language is undergoing transformation constantly, the Indian English expression ‘every nook and corner’ may soon get an official stamp of approval from English language dictionaries. Likewise many brand names have evolved into verbs. Xerox and Google, well-known trademarks, are used as verbs as in the examples:

• Please xerox this rental agreement and give a copy of it to your tenant.

• When I googled the term ‘commutainment’, I was surprised to find that it has been used by many researchers.

Have Xerox and Google got the official stamp of approval from English language dictionaries? 

Xerox, an American multinational corporation that sells a range of photo copiers, urged its consumers not to use the brand name as a verb but it could not stop them. Though the term ‘photocopy’ is commonly used to describe something reproduced photographically using a xerographic copier, the term ‘xerox’ is also used as a verb and has been accepted as this news headline indicates: ‘Google joins Xerox as a verb’. According to Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, the term ‘xerox’ can be used either transitively or intransitively. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘google’ (lower case) as a transitive verb: “to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web.” The Oxford English Dictionary has also added Google as a verb, but it retained the capitalisation.

 — rayanal@yahoo.co.uk

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