Indianisms in English: Unreal Siblings

In English Tips + Tricks by Farheen Raaj0 Comments

India has a complicated history with the English language. Since it came to us from the path of colonisation, our interaction with English has not been very welcome, in the past. Now, most of us aspire to speak fluently in English – a dream for many. Yet, we have come to make the language our own in many ways. In a previous post, we had shared with you a poem that spoke specifically about how Indian English is an identity in itself. In this series of posts, we will look at some other distinct ways in which we have adapted to English. Unfortunately, a lot of these ways are still incorrect for most of the world, but we continue to use them nonetheless.

Real Sister is Unreal!

Do you have a sibling? How often have you introduced them to others by saying that they are your “real brother” or “real sister”? Or how often has someone asked you if someone else is your “real brother” and you’ve said “no he is a cousin”? It’s time to reclaim your familial relationships, and know how to address and introduce them correctly!

Here’s a trick of the trade:

  1. If you have the same set of parents, you and this other person are siblings. “Real sister” or “real brother” is incorrect, because what is an unreal sister or an unreal brother?! If your parents are cousins with this other person’s parents, then you both are cousins too.
  2. In this same vein, if someone is your cousin, that relationship is clear enough in itself. You need not specify that they are your “cousin brother” or “cousin sister”. You definitely don’t need to go into details such as “first cousin” or “second cousin”. If you wish to explain the relationship, you can go into details, but terms such as first cousin are quite archaic (old) and have been done away with for most countries.

While we at LearnEd take a lot of pride in how India has made English its own, we also believe that we should constantly strive to ensure that we learn more, and work through our mistakes! With these posts, we intend to honour the unique language quirks that make us who we are, but also find ways to ensure that you do not sound incorrect! If you do too, contact LearnEd today!

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