Hobson-Jobson: A Very English Enterprise

Dinghy, bungalow and shampoo: The words India has gifted to the English. Dr Kate Teltscher of the University of Roehampton is to launch a new edition of the Hobson- Jobson for publication as part of the Oxford World Classics.

Posted: 12 July 2012

image for news story Hobson-Jobson: A Very English Enterprise
Hobson-Jobson: A Very English Enterprise

Roehampton’s Kate Teltscher is to launch a new version of the legendary dictionary of British India, the Hobson-Jobson.

Gifting us with dinghy, bungalow and shampoo, the tome has resulted in more English words of Indian origin entering the OED than of any other country since its first publication in 1886. Continuously in print for 140 years the Hobson-Jobson has amused, inspired and seduced generations of writers from Rudyard Kipling to Salman Rushdie.

Dr Kate Teltscher of the University of Roehampton is producing a new edition as part of the Oxford World Classics series and she is entranced. She says it breaks all the rules about dictionaries. It's madly scholarly yet hugely idiosyncratic and fun. Kate collaborated with the award-winning poet and former Roehampton Honorary Research Fellow Daljit Nagra for a radio programme on Hobson-Jobson.

Hobson-Jobson was compiled by two extraordinary polymaths Henry Yule and Arthur Burnell, who corresponded with scholars, diplomats, missionaries, intelligence officers and army personnel across the globe to produce their 1000 page lexicon.

A radio peformance exploring the work has been broadcast on  BBC radio 4  : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01kksr0.

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