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Vol. XXIX No. 13, October 16-31, 2019

IIT-M lingo

T. Rajagopalan Journalist formerly Education Correspondent, The Hindu

Language has always been an emotive issue and it is no wonder that it has played a crucial role in several conflicts in society. Eulogistic references to a regional language in a pluralistic society, no doubt, serve to raise the pride and self-esteem of the people. This is exactly what Prime Minister Modi did in his recent address at the IIT Madras convocation. Loud cheers greeted him when he termed Tamil as the oldest language and almost in the same breath, said that the state of Tamil Nadu was home to the newest language, namely IIT-M lingo. This drew further cheers from the packed audience.

What is the IIT-M lingo? – Entering the campus, one can hear students from all parts of India talking in English but a few minutes into the conversation, one cannot make much sense of it. The reason: students have drifted into IIT-M lingo, “a highly evolved melting pot of a language with some Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and God-knows-what-else thrown in”. According to campus watchers, most students speak it with relish and for good reason – it is unique to the institution and can well double as a code language understood only by IIT-M students and alumni.
The Fifth Estate, the official student media body of IIT Madras, has offered a crash course to keep the freshers (juniors) get past seniors who love the lingo dearly. Here is a sample of IIT-M lingo:

Freshies – junior students.
Insti name – the closest thing to a re-christening, a nickname given to a fresher that defines him and seems to stick better than the actual name.
Junta – people.
Factory – the institution where you got your JEE coaching from, surely very apt.
Intro – the act of introducing yourself.
Enthu – lots of enthusiasm, as in, “I have enthu for coding”.
Machan/Machi – Dude.
RG – Relative Grading. Many courses are graded based on the overall performance of the class but RG is used for a good many other things, such as the act of distracting others from studying. Example: “I swear, he RGed the whole class and became the only person to get an S”.
Cup – the act of failing; the fail grade for any course is indicated by ‘U’, which resembles a cup. Example: “He cupped in MA1100”.
Crash – to sleep, as in, “I am crashing after three night-outs straight”.
Gen – general, random, as in, “I don’t want to do some gen course”.
Thulp – to ace a test or hog on food. “She thulped the Physics quiz”.
Lite – stop taking things too seriously, as in, “Take lite and sleep, da”.
Stud – a person who manages many things in the insti. “That stud is a nine-pointer and a four times gold in swimming.”
Maggu – a person who spends most of his/her time studying; they typically get dazzling CGPAs.
Gult, Mallu, Gujju, Tam – denotes Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarathi and Tamil-speaking students respectively.
Funda – fundamentals.
IIT-M lingo is a defining and constantly maturing feature of the institute, a language developed by several generations of alumni. Remarkable indeed. Here comes the punch: an exchange student even wrote her M.A. thesis on it.

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