HINDOSTANEE, s. Hindustani, properly an adjective, but used substantively in two senses, viz. (a) a native of Hindustan, and (b) (Hindustani zaban) ‘the language of that country,’ but in fact the language of the Mahommedans of Upper India, and eventually of the Mahommedans of the Deccan, developed out of the Hindi dialect of the Doab chiefly, and of the territory round Agra and Delhi, with a mixture of Persian vocables and phrases, and a readiness to adopt other foreign words. It is also called Oordoo, i.e. the language of the Urdu (‘Horde’) or Camp. This language was for a long time a kind of Mahommedan lingua franca over all India, and still possesses that character over a large part of the country, and among certain classes. Even in Madras, where it least prevails, it is still recognised in native regiments as the language of intercourse between officers and men. Old-fashioned Anglo-Indians used to call it the Moors (q.v.).


1653.—(applied to a native.) “Indistanni est vn Mahometan noir des Indes, ce nom est composé de Indou, Indien, et stan, habitation.”—De la Boullaye-le-Gouz, ed. 1657, 543.

b.— 1616.—“After this he (Tom Coryate) got a great mastery in the Indostan, or more vulgar language; there was a woman, a landress, belonging to my Lord Embassador’s house, who had such a freedom and liberty of speech, that she would sometimes scould, brawl, and rail from the sun-rising to the sun-set; one day he undertook her in her own language. And by eight of the clock he so silenced her, that she had not one word more to speak.”—Terry, Extracts relating to T. C.

1673.—“The Language at Court is Persian, that commonly spoke is Indostan (for which they have no proper Character, the written Language being called Banyan), which is a mixture of Persian and Sclavonian, as are all the dialects of India.”— Frger, 201. This intelligent traveller’s reference to Sclavonian is remarkable, and shows a notable perspicacity, which would have delighted the late Lord Strangford, had he noticed the passage.

1677.—In Court’s letter of 12th Dec. to Ft. St. Geo. they renew the offer of a reward of £20, for proficiency in the Gentoo or Indostan languages, and sanction a reward of £10 each for proficiency in the Persian language, “and that fit persons to teach the said language be entertained.”— Notes and Exts., No. i. 22.

1685.—“… so applyed myself to a Portuguese mariner who spoke Indostan (ye current language of all these Islands)” [Maldives].”—Hedges, Diary, March 9; [Hak. Soc. i. 191].

1697.—“Questions addressed to Khodja Movaad, Ambassador from Abyssinia.

4.—“What language he, in his audience made use of ?

“The Hindustani language (Hindoestanze taal), which the late Hon. Paulus de Roo, then Secretary of their Excellencies the High Government of Batavia, interpreted.” —Valentijn, iv. 327.

[1699.—“He is expert in the Hindorstand or Moores Language.”—In Yule, Hedges’ Diary, Hak. Sec. ii. cclxvii.]

1726.—“The language here is Hindustans or Moors (so ’tis called there), though he who can’t speak any Arabic and Persian passes for an ignoramus.”—Valentijn, Chor. i. 37.

1727.—“This Persian … and I, were discoursing one Day of my Affairs in the Industan Language, which is the established Language spoken in the Mogul’s large Dominions.”—A. Hamilton, ii. 183; [ed. 1744, ii. 182].

1745.—“Benjamini Schulzii Missionarii Evangelici, Grammatica Hindostanica … Edidit, et de suscipiendâ barbaricarum linguarum culturâ praefatus est D. Jo. Henr Callenberg, Halae Saxoniae.”—Title from Catalogue of M. Garcin de Tassy’s Books, 1879. This is the earliest we have heard of.

1763.—“Two of the Council of Pondicherry went to the camp, one of them was well versed in the Indostan and Persic languages, which are the only tongues used in the Courts of the Mahomedan Princes.”— Orme, i. 144 (ed. 1803).

1772.—“Manuscripts have indeed been handed about, ill spelt, with a confused mixture of Persian, Indostans, and Bengals.” —Preface to Hadley’s Grammar, xi. (See under MOORS.)

1777.—“Alphabetum Brammhanicum seu Indostanum.”—Romae.

1778.—“Grammatica Indostana—A mais Vulgar—Que se practica no Imperio do gram Mogol—Offerecida—Aos muitos Reverendos—Padres Missionarios—Do dito Imperio. Em Roma MDCCLXXVIII—Na Estamperia da Sagrada Congregação—de Propaganda Fide.”—(Title transcribed.) There is a reprint of this (apparently) of 1865, in the Catalogue of Garcin de Tassy’s books.

c. 1830.—“Cet ignoble patois d’Hindoustani, qui ne servira jamais à rien quand je serai retourné en Europe, est difficile.”— V. Jacquemont, Correspondance, i. 95.

1844.—“Hd. Quarters, Kurrachee, 12th February, 1844. The Governor unfortunately does not understand Hindoostanee, nor Persian, nor Mahratta, nor any other eastern dialect. He therefore will feel particularly obliged to Collectors, sub-Collectors and officers writing the proceedings of Courts-Martial, and all Staff Officers, to indite their various papers in English, larded with as small a portion of the to him unknown tongues as they conveniently can, instead of those he generally receives—namely, papers written in Hindostanee larded with occasional words in English.

“Any Indent made for English Dictionaries shall be duly attended

  By PanEris using Melati.

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