10 Very Common Words and Phrases in Mumbai

The three main languages ​​spoken in Bombay are Marathi, Hindi and English. There is also a local slang called « Bambaiya Hindi », which incorporates words from Marathi, Gujarati, Konkani, English…

Arre, accha, jhakaas, jaldi… You may have heard these very common words in Bombay, drawn from the main languages. Find out what they mean and how to use them.

Stop! (अरे)

This interjection can express most feelings, from surprise and disgust to admiration and anger.

For example, if you’re crossing the street with your hand outstretched for cars, a local sign that normally gives you the right to cross anywhere at any time, and a motorist doesn’t stop, you can say Stop!

A falling intonation with the last syllable prolonged rather indicates a negative feeling, a rising intonation expresses surprise.

An angry child

You can also say « Arre yaar! » if you are playing cricket on Sunday and it turns out that you are not as good as Virat Kohli, former superstar captain of the Indian national team, and you miss your action. The longer the sound of a, the more annoyed you are. In 2015, the phrase entered the Oxford English Dictionary.

Another variant, “Arre wah! specifically indicates appreciation. The W is pronounced like a V.

Cutting chai

Cutting chai is the expression used to designate half a cup of tea in Bombay, served in a small glass. Very strong and very sweet, the cutting chai allows you to regain some energy while avoiding ingesting too much liquid during the day, there are many occasions to drink tea. You can say « ek cutting » to order one.

Half a glass of tea in Mumbai

Jhakaas (झकास)

Word jhakaas comes from Marathi and is an integral part of the Bombay dialect. It means « excellent », « super », and can be used as an adjective or as an exclamation. To emphasize, we can say “ekdum jhakaas”, “really great”.

The phrase was popularized by actor Anil Khapoor.

When the Mumbaikars come out of the cinema after watching Salman Khan’s latest film, you may also hear the phrase « Ek number! » which stands for « Number One » and indicates that the film was of the highest quality.

Waat lag gayi (वाटलगगयी)

 » I am screwed ! » If a police officer saw you turn red or if you take the train at rush hour, you can say Waat lag gay!. The expression comes from Marathi and literally means “I am destroyed/annihilated/finished”. It became popular in Bombay and spread to Hindi-speaking India through Bollywood films.

The local Mumbai, the Mumbai train, full

Ashha (अच्छा)

Ashha means « good » or « good » in Hindi. The word is also used to acquiesce, to say that we agree, or to express surprise when listening to a story (« Ah bon? »).

Chalo (चलो) / Chalega (चलेगा)

The verb « Chalna » means « to walk ». It can be used literally or in the sense of good or bad happening, as in French. Chalo! means « Come on! “, “Let’s go! « . Motorists can say “Chalo! Chalo! when they follow a slow car. More sympathetically, we can answer “Chalo! when you’re up for something.

 » Do you want to go to the cinema ? – Chalo! »

The word chalo is also used when we take leave (« I’m going »).

Poster of the film Chalo Dilli - We are going to Delhi

Chalega means « It’s going to be fine ». For example, if the seller tells you that the vada pav is no longer very hot, you can answer « Chalega! if you don’t mind (but you should).

Jaldi (जल्दी)

The translation of jaldi is fast, fast. The word can be used to tell the rickshaw driver to go faster. “Jaldi, jaldi! But if you ask him to wait for you in front of a store because you have an errand to run, he’ll be the one to say, « Jaldi, jaldi! » « .

Ho gaya! (होगया)

 » It is done ! Or rather, it’s as if it were done… It’s up to you if you want to believe this statement, usually uttered with a sideways movement of the head and a blink of the eyes. Closer to reality, “Ho jayega” means “It will be done”. When ? Only the future will tell you.

Paka! (पक्का)

pakka means sure and certain. If a friend tells you that he will be at your house at 8 p.m. sharp, you can ask him “Pakka? » and he will answer « Pakka! « .

Bhidu (भिडू)

Bhidu is pure Bombay and Bollywood slang, and means « Buddy ».

bhai, « brother », is used to address a man, be it a friend, a brother, or a stranger. We also hear Bhaiya, which means « big brother ». The word “dada” is also used, with the same meaning.

Bonus: Alibaug se aaya hai kya?

This sentence means “Are you from Alibaug or what? « . Alibaug is a coastal town located about a hundred kilometers south of Bombay. Coming from Alibaug here means not being up to date with how things work in Mumbai, being a bit lost, not being up to date with the latest news. It is the equivalent of the French « Tu disembarks? » »

If you have heard of other typical words or expressions, in Bombay or elsewhere, share them in the comments.

Laisser un commentaire