What came first and what was more popular
While researching the origins of liberalism for another project, I came across an interesting analysis by Daniel B. Klein in the Atlantic magazine, where he used Google’s Ngram Viewer to trace the origins of the use of the word ‘liberal’ in a political sense.
I used the same tool to see when and how frequently the words Hindu, Hindoo, Gentoo and Indian were used in the English language.
So, although the word spelt as “Hindu” was used early on in English, the word “Gentoo” was more in vogue until 1781, after which “Hindoo” took over. The “Hindu” returned to popularity around 1867 and stayed in currency since then. We will have to ask historians to explain what happened in the 1780s and the late 1860s that led to these changes.
In comparison, the word “Indian” has always been more popular than “Hindu”, although they mean the same thing semantically. There might be some overcounting as the former was also used to refer to Native Americans during most of the period covered in this chart. The pattern is similar in other European languages that Google provides for.
Just having a word with you
The feeling of knowing an author by name and fame, but being entirely unfamiliar with his work.
These Americans are crazy (the pronouncing “Pakistan” edition)
Over in the United States of America, they are criticising Barack Obama…for pronouncing the word “Pakistan” correctly. (via Chapati Mystery)
On the National Review blogs, Mark Steyn writes “Senator Obama’s ostentatiously exotic pronunciation of Pakistan, one thing I like about Sarah Palin is the way she says “Eye-raq”.” Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen argues that “having completely run out of compelling policy arguments to make, some high-profile conservatives have decided to make this their latest campaign hobbyhorse.”
Indians are likely to shake their heads and smile. And then realise that it is not unusual for those with the correct pronunciation to be labelled as anything but the “common man”.
A neologism and a rap sheet
The editorial board of Lahore’s Daily Times, always the one to tread softly around Musharraf—blaming his ‘advisors’ rather than the man himself—deserves honourable mention today.
Not only does the editorial contain a veritable rap sheet against the man. It has topped it with inventing a new adjective: “Kargillian”, to describe blunders of the kind Musharraf made.
Now, what would have caused the newspaper to be so brave as to rub it in so.