Let’s Talk in English by Manish Gupta


Let’s Talk in English is the second book in the series of demystifying English for a common Indian. Manish Gupta’s first book ‘English Bites! ‘ was a good attempt at giving tips and tricks on picking up the nuances of English language – on small little ways in which you can teach yourself. I liked the way he approached that book by taking everyday topics. And talking about not so easy words associated with them. He gave the readers a way in which they can gradually and slowly expand their vocabulary by admiring the surroundings. And by looking at the everyday words.

Let’s Talk in English by Manish Gupta, the author tries to take the same thread forward. But since he exhausted the everyday situations in his first book, he lets his fancy fly free and picks up random and remotely connected words. More often than not he picks up words that come from the same root word. He also attempts to look at where the root word comes from. And actually traces back many English words to Sanskrit origins throughout the book. Though towards the end he has a couple of dedicated chapters on Indian words in English.

What I liked about the book is that author has put in a lot of himself in the book. Whether it is revisiting his student days in Chandigarh or talking about a certain air hostess on Mumbai-Singapore route. He shares his vulnerabilities with the use of English. And that would go a long way in readers connecting with him and his writing and gaining confidence.

The chapters are small, easily digestible in one go. In fact, the author himself suggests reading 1-2 chapters at a time. Take that advice seriously as reading more than that at a time will leave the whole experience ineffective. For someone who really wants to learn a few new words in English or learn the origins of the ones they know, this can be an interesting book. If you think you have a decent vocabulary you can easily skip this book. Unless of course, etymology is your muse.

However, at places, I think the author went overboard – like when he calls Banias as Banyans. At places, he mentioned root words that I did not agree with. Unfortunately, he has not mentioned his source of research. I hope it is not Wikipedia –  too many authors go there without realizing that the place changes before you know. Since he has given many references to old meanings. And how they have changed over years – I would have loved the references and some footnotes. Probably does not go with the format of the book, but would go a long way in establishing the credibility of the content in the book.

If you are working on improving your English Vocabulary in a fun easy way, read Let’s Talk in English. Having said that, between the two books of Manish Gupta I would recommend reading the first one over this one.

Take your call.

You may buy this book – Let’s Talk in English A practical guide to speaking fluent English by Manish Gupta at Amazon.

Let's Talk in English by Manish Gupta

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  1. angrezi in hindi belt, ingrazee in marathi speakin areas includin goa,
    aangilam in tamil nadu is all fine.
    the central govt. offices` slogan is-
    hindi mey bolo.
    pull of the regional slangs is inevitable in modern india..bharat.

  2. the reJULT… result is there 2 c when u travel and speak in english with the locals who have that local flavour when they speak in english.

  3. Dear Anu,

    I am delighted that you liked this attempt. Thanks a ton for reviewing this book on your blog. I am glad that you noticed and liked that I listened to you and other readers of my debut book “English Bites!” (a Dec 2012 Penguin Publication) and made a few changes: shortened the length of chapters, reduced the no. of footnotes, and retained a lot my own stories (some downright embarrassing) in the narrative.

    Re sources of etymology, while I made a generic mention of the my sources in the “Acknowlegements” section, let me elaborate. I used the following sources for etymological research: a) Weekley’s “An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English,” b) Klein’s “A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language,” c) “Oxford English Dictionary” (second edition), d) “Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology,” e) Holthausen’s “Etymologisches Wörterbuch der Englischen Sprache,” and f) Kipfer and Chapman’s “Dictionary of American Slang.” All these sources are available in one online etymological dictionary called http://www.etymonline.com.

    I agree that there is still a lot of ambiguity and disagreement among etymologists and so I am not surprised that you did not agree with me on a few places. In fact, if you had agreed with me on all, it would have negated my first statement.

    Specifically, on banyan and its etymological connection to banias, a search on etymonline.com will reveal the following:

    Banyan: “Indian fig tree,” 1630s, so called in reference to a tree on the Iranian coast of the Persian Gulf under which the Hindu merchants known as banians had built a pagoda. From Sanskrit vanija “merchant.”

    Do share some other examples and I will give you my sources and then we can either gleefully agree or somberly agree to disagree (as this is not an exact science).

    Thanks once again.

    Kind regards,
    E: mystruggleswithenglish@gmail.com

      • Hey Anu,

        Banyan Tree (scientific name – Ficus benghalensis) is also known as the ‘Bengal fig’ and ‘Indian fig’. You can recheck this but I have looked at several sources to rule out any error or ambiguity.

        Hope this helps.

        Regards, Manish

      • Hey Anu,

        Banyan Tree (scientific name – Ficus benghalensis) is also known as the ‘Bengal fig’ and ‘Indian fig’. You can recheck this but I have looked at several sources to rule out any error or ambiguity.

        Hope this helps.

        Regards, Manish


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