Mumbai Language – Simple Guide to Commons Words of Aamchi Mumbai

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Mumbai-Language
Illustration – Shreya Dasgupta/Caleidoscope

“Mumbai is not just a city, but it is a feeling, a feeling of being home. It is “Aamchi Mumbai” for all its people.”

Mumbai city is a meeting point for various cultures and traditions. There are people from different parts of India who have their dialects and they add their tone to the language of Mumbai. Everyone speaks differently in Mumbai even if they are speaking in the same language. 

The official language of Mumbai is Marathi and it is far the maximum used language of the State of Maharashtra as well. However, Mumbai being a cosmopolitan city additionally accepts numerous different languages which include Gujarati, Kannada, English, Telugu, Konkani, Dangii, Varhadii, and Hindi. Marathi is a modified version of the Maharashtri language, which is one of the forms of Prakrit, a deviation from the original Sanskrit language. Due to several immigrants from different parts of the country, a new form of language originated withinside the city known as the ‘Mumbaiya’ or ‘Bambaiya’ version of Hindi. It is a local dialect, a slang language, that is a colloquial mix of Hindi, English, and Marathi.

You might have come upon this shape of language in diverse Bollywood movies. One may also find some sections of the population using this version of the language. With a literacy rate of 86%, people in this city display a good flair for lifestyle and education.

“Apun” is a common word used for saying “we”. “Mereko” is used to say “for me”. The original Hindi term for “for me” would be “Mujhe”, however, we end up using the Bombay slang. In Hindi, we say “Aap” for elders and for showing respect towards people. We say “Tu” or “Tum” for people our age like our friends. However, in English, it only translates to “You” where elders and the youth are treated equally. “Kaali-Peeli” is a common word used for cabs in Mumbai because they are yellow and black. Cabs are a lot in demand in Mumbai and they are a common mode of transport. This makes the word important around the city. 

“Chai” is a common term for tea and the working class uses this word often. Tea is an important part of everyone’s lives in Bombay and various people are addicted to consuming tea. I know people who have tea twice a day, every day. “Sir dard” is a common phrase for headache. People generally say that they will get a headache due to the frustration of city life or because they haven’t had tea since morning. 

When you are going shopping, the shopkeeper generally asks “Kya chahiye”- what do you want. Then, in the politest tone, they too offer you tea! “Kal” is a complicated word in Mumbai and it depicts both “Yesterday” and “Tomorrow”. This is comically showing us the struggle in India because various residents’ tomorrow will be the same as yesterday because of the monotony of city life. When college students want to hang out together, they say “Chal, milte hai”. The word “Chal” here translates to “let’s” and the remaining just means “meet”. 

“Locha” means problem and people often use this slang. “Lafda” is likewise similar to locha. “Vaat lag gayi” means that the person is in huge trouble. Since various people are unable to spend a lot in the city, the word “Chindi” or “Kanjoos” is used for the people who do not spend a lot. “Nikal” is common slang for “leave” and it depicts annoyance and anger. People generally say “Jaa Be” when they are not as angry and they only want to pretend like they are angry. “Kya, Yaar” means “What?” which is used to show a disagreement with what the second person is saying. “Achcha” is used to depict shock at something, the feeling of surprise, or the feeling of sarcasm. “Chamaat” is slang for a slap and people use it when they are frustrated and angry during arguments.  

Keeping all these negative words aside, there are Hindi slangs to depict excitement as well. These include “Jhakaas” and “Mast”. These words are used for things that people like or they are used if people are feeling great about something. 

The most famous phrase used by people is “Aamchi Mumbai” which means “My Mumbai”. Mumbai is a great city that makes every citizen in the city fall in love with it and the phrase “Aamchi Mumbai” shows that all the Mumbaikars love the city and call it theirs. Mumbai is not just a city but it is a feeling and all the residents’ feel its rush and thrill in their lives. 

Since most of the college crowd is well educated, the sad part is that they have started cowering from speaking in Hindi as they consider it to be an inferior language. Even people belonging to the higher-earning segments look up to people speaking in English and refrain from speaking in Hindi. People need to understand that language is merely a mode of communication and every language has an ingrained culture that cannot be looked down upon. Hindi is deeply present in the everyday lives of people. 

There is a vast diversity even in the accent of Mumbaikars. Some of them can speak in heavy American accents, some speak in an Indian accent, if you are lucky enough, you could also find a South Indian here who speaks in a South Indian accent. 

There are many languages present here and the people are very diverse. However, everyone is very accommodating in terms of the language, and there seem to be very few problems in communication as people are multi-lingual. 

Pocket dictionary 

Aamchi – My

Mumbaikar – a resident of Mumbai

Mereko – for me

Mujhe – for me

Aap – you (with respect for elders)

Tu – you (for friends)

Kaali-peeli – cabs in Mumbai

Sir dard – headache

Kya chahiye – what do you want

Kal – tomorrow

Kal – yesterday

Chal milte hai – let’s meet

Vaat – deep trouble

Locha, lafda – problem

Chai – tea

Nikal – leave

Jaa be – leave (impolite way)

Chindi, kanjoos – people who spend less

Achcha – to depict shock

Chamaat – slap 

Jhakaas, mast – excellent

Kidhar- where

Khana- food

Paisa- money

Kitna paisa – How much do I need to pay?

Haal- chaal – How are you?

Rasta- What way?

Image credits: The copyright for the images used in this article belong to their respective owners. Best known credits are given under the image. For changing the image credit or to get the image removed from Caleidoscope, please contact us.

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