January 30, 2007

Mind your Hindi!

From the NYT Book Review, 1/28/07, p. 6:

Editors' Note

If readers of the Book Review have been considering picking up a little conversational Hindi, they would probably do well not to begin with the sample list of words in the Jan. 7 review of "Sacred Games," a novel by Vikram Chandra that sprinkles untranslated Hindi throughout its English text. Indian readers pointed out that while most of the Hindi terms in the review were innocuous, several were in fact obscene -- suitable for Chandra's tough-guy characters, no doubt, but not for the Book Review, where editors failed to check the meaning of the words in the novel's glossary.

Just another item in the annals of taboo avoidance, in the "Oops!" subcategory.  The price of modesty is eternal vigilance.

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Posted by Arnold Zwicky at January 30, 2007 10:10 AM