Caribbean Hindustani
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Caribbean Hindustani

Caribbean Hindustani is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by Indo-Caribbeans and the Indo-Caribbean diaspora. It is mainly based on Bhojpuri and Awadhi.[3] These were spoken by indentured laborers who came as immigrants to the Caribbean from India. It is closely related to Fiji Hindi and the Hindustani spoken in Mauritius and South Africa.

Because a majority of people came from the Bhojpur region in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, and the Awadh region in Uttar Pradesh, Caribbean Hindustani is most influenced by Bhojpuri, Awadhi and other Eastern Hindi-Bihari dialects. Standard Hindustani (Standard Hindi-Standard Urdu) has also influenced the language due to the arrival of Bollywood films, music, and other media from India. It also has a very minor influence from Tamil, Telugu, and other Dravidian languages. The language has also borrowed many words from Dutch and English in Suriname and Guyana, and English and French in Trinidad and Tobago. Many words unique to Caribbean Hindustani have been created to cater for the new environment that Indo-Caribbeans now live in. After the introduction of Standard Hindustani to the Caribbean, Caribbean Hindustani was seen by many Indo-Caribbeans as a broken version of Hindi, however due to later academic research it was seen as deriving from Bhojpuri, Awadhi, and other dialects and was in fact not a broken language, but its own unique language mainly deriving from the Bhojpuri and Awadhi dialects, and not the Khariboli dialect like Standard Hindi and Urdu did, thus the difference.[4]

Caribbean Hindustani is spoken as a vernacular by Indo-Caribbeans, independent of their religious background, however the Devanagari script and the Kaithi script are used by Hindus, while some Muslims tend to use the Perso-Arabic script in the Nastaliq calligraphic hand following the Urdu alphabet. However, due to the decline in the language these scripts are not widely used and most often the Latin script is used due to familiarity and easiness.

Chutney music, chutney soca, chutney parang, baithak gana, folk music, classical music, some Hindu religious songs, some Muslim religious songs, and even some Indian Christian religious songs are sung in Caribbean Hindustani, sometimes being mixed with English in the Anglophone Caribbean or Dutch in Suriname and the Dutch Caribbean.

Early research on the language has been conducted by Motilall Rajvanshi Marhe from Suriname, Peggy Mohan and Kumar Mahabir from Trinidad and Tobago, and Surendra Kumar Gambhir in Guyana.[5][6][7][8][4] Attempts to preserve the language are being made by Caribbean Hindustani Inc. led by Visham Bhimull, Sarnami Bol, and Harry Hergash in Canada who is originally from Guyana.[9][10][11][12][13][14]

Guyanese Hindustani

The Caribbean Hindustani of Guyana is known as Guyanese Hindustani, Guyanese Bhojpuri or Aili Gaili. It is spoken by some members in a community of 300,000 Indo-Guyanese.

Trinidadian Hindustani

The variant that is spoken in Trinidad and Tobago is known as Trinidadian Hindustani, Trinidadian Bhojpuri, Trinidadian Hindi, Plantation Hindustani, or Gaon ke Bolee (Village Speech).[15] A majority of the early Indian indentured immigrants spoke the Bhojpuri and Awadhi dialects, which later formed into Trinidadian Hindustani. In 1935, Indian movies began showing to audiences in Trinidad. Most of the Indian movies were in the Standard Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) dialect and this modified Trinidadian Hindustani slightly by adding Standard Hindi and Urdu phrases and vocabulary to Trinidadian Hindustani. Indian movies also revitalized Hindustani among Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonians.[16] Around the mid to late 1970s the lingua franca of Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonians switched from Trinidadian Hindustani to a sort of Hindinized version of English. Today Hindustani survives on through Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonian musical forms such as, Bhajan, Indian classical music, Indian folk music, Filmi, Pichakaree, Chutney, Chutney soca, and Chutney parang. As of 2003, there are about 15,633 Indo-Trinidadian and Tobagonians who speak Trinidadian Hindustani and as of 2011, there are 10,000 who speak Standard Hindi. Many Indo-Trinidadians and Tobagonians today speak a type of Hinglish that consist of Trinidadian and Tobagonian English that is heavily laced with Trinidadian Hindustani vocabulary and phrases and many Indo-Trinidadians and Tobagonians can recite phrases or prayers in Hindustani today. There are many places in Trinidad and Tobago that have names of Hindustani origin. Some phrases and vocabulary have even made its way into the mainstream English and English Creole dialect of the country.[17][18][19][20][15][1] World Hindi Day is celebrated each year with events organized by the National Council of Indian Culture, Hindi Nidhi Foundation, Indian High Commission, Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Cultural Co-operation, and the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha.[21]

Sarnami Hindustani

Sarnami Hindoestani or Sarnami Hindustani meaning Surinamese Hindustani is the third-most spoken language in Suriname after Dutch and Sranan Tongo (the two lingua francas).[22] It is a distinct dialect of the Bhojpuri language (the language spoken in north Indian states Bihar and Uttar Pradesh) with heavy lexical influence from other languages spoken in Suriname. It is mainly spoken by and within Suriname's Indo-Surinamese (ca. 27% of the population) community and therefore it is not considered to be a third lingua franca. While Sarnami is mostly a language of informal daily communication, the traditional prestige language of the community is Standard Hindi-Urdu in either of its literary variants: Hindi (Modern Standard Hindi) for Hindus, and Urdu for Muslims. Similar to how Jamaican Patois is used informally and Jamaican Standard English or the Queen's English is seen as more prestigious.[23]

Baithak Gana is the most famous genre of music sung in Sarnami Hindustani.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Frawley, William (May 2003). International Encyclopedia of Linguistics: 4-Volume Set. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 9780195139778. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ "Script".
  3. ^ Caribbean Hindustani at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ "Motilall Marhe". Chutney Music. 3 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Peggy Mohan". HarperCollins Publishers India.
  8. ^ "Dr Kumar Mahabir donates copies of his audio-cassettes to UWI". Retrieved 2021.
  9. ^ "Who We Are".
  10. ^ "Sarnami Bol".
  11. ^ "The Linguistic Legacy of Indian-Guyanese". 21 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Hergash launches book on Indian-Guyanese Words, Phrases" (PDF). guyaneseonline. Retrieved 2021.
  13. ^ "Author releases book on words and phrases used by Indian immigrants, descendants". Guyana Chronicle.
  14. ^ "Guyanese Hindi Dictionary" (PDF). Retrieved 2021.
  15. ^ a b Jayaram, N.; Atal, Yogesh (24 May 2004). The Indian Diaspora: Dynamics of Migration. ISBN 9780761932185.
  16. ^ Gooptar, Primnath (2014). Bala Joban: The First Indian Movie in Trinidad (1935). ISBN 9789766483227.
  17. ^ "Hindustani, Sarnami". Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ "The Languages spoken in Trinidad and Tobago".
  19. ^ "10,000 students graduate in Hindi".
  20. ^ Mahabir, Kumar (December 1999). "The Impact of Hindi on Trinidadian English". Caribbean Quarterly. 45 (4): 13-34. doi:10.1080/00086495.1999.11671866.
  21. ^ "TT celebrates World Hindi Day". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. 19 January 2020.
  22. ^ "The Languages spoken in Suriname". SpainExchange Country Guide. Retrieved 2021.
  23. ^ Damsteegt, Theo (1988). "Sarnami: a Living Language". In Richard Keith Barz; Jeff Siegel (eds.). Language Transplanted: The Development of Overseas Hindi. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. pp. 95-120.

External links

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Music Scenes