An early guide to everyday language in India. 1820


Gilchrist, John Bortrhwick: Dialogues, English and Hindoostanee; for illustrating the grammatical principles of the Strangers’ East Indian Guide, and to promote the colloquial intercourse of Europeans, on the most indispensible and familiar subjects, with the Natives of India, immediately on their arrival in Hinddstan. through the medium of the Vernacular, Military and Maritime Language, and consequently the most current and useful of all the Oriental Tongues spoken not only in British India … To which, in the present Edition, has been added, A Translation of the Articles of War, with other local subjects of real Importance and Utility.   Black, Kingsbury, Parbury. and Allen, Booksellers to the Hon. East-India Company, Leadenhall Street, London. 1820 3rd edition 8vo.

viii528pp. Lacking the boards, paper spine, a good sound text block, clean apart from some marginal browning to the title page, which also has a contemporary ownership signature to the top, a rear blank leaf remains after the final printed page. A perfect speciman for re-binding. The author had some unusual ideas and followed his own practices in this work, including the eschewing of the use of capital letters. As faascinating a sourse of information about life and language as the later Hobson Jobson. To take just one example of the pitfalls that could await the dining room staff the English comments around the suject of soup:

where is the soup and soup spoon?

put it near me.

let me have your master’s soup ladle

never make such strong soup again

it is too thick, too thin, too salt, too weak, too hot, too cold. 

Never signs of a thank you, tell cook that was delicious or even satisfactory.

We have not had a copy of this scarce title since 2001 and that was the reduced 4th edition of 1826.

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