It’s that time of year where we in the north talk about Indian summer. This outdated term is used because most people haven’t heard of a good replacement. But look how ridiculous the term is. For a real Indian summer let’s go to New Delhi, India. It’s almost in the tropics. In June, the temperature peaks at an average of 33 degrees Celsius. That’s an average of 91 degrees Fahrenheit.
Indian summer should be known as the time of year when temperature rises to almost deathly levels. Not as a second smaller almost summer. Obviously we should drop the term Indian Summer and use something like Summer: the Sequel.
Another phrase that we use this time of year is Indian corn. This colourful, inedible corn finishes growing this time of year. Some of you may wish to call it Indigenous corn as if it originated right here. But that may not be true.
Besides if we name it after the Indigenous Americans, we are falling short when listing their accomplishments. They found and improved the properties of Indian corn, all the edible corns and popcorn. You could say these are their corny accomplishments. Anyhow, we can simply replace Indian corn with the term ornamental corn.
The third use of Indian in a phrase that I think should definitely be gotten rid of is Indian giver. This is offensive when you know its meaning is someone who gives something only to take it away again.
You can easily see such a term develop in English for interactions with other peoples’ languages as a simple misunderstanding. The difference between own and loan is hard to hear, and it’s easy for someone to hear you own this when the other party just meant to say loan. Doesn’t Indian giving just describe a loan?
Banks and other financial institutions are probably going to cry when we replace the term Indian giver with the term loan giver. Especially when we use a derisive tone of voice when we say it. But that is what they do and that is what society truly thinks about loan givers.