Date: Tue, 12 Mar 1996 11:21:01 -0500


Subject: british english question

(incidentally, how do we parse "american dialect society"--is it an

american society devoted to dialects or a society devoted to american


i need to know whether "asian" in british english has a sense that

means "south asian/indian." now, i know that "asian" is used to

refer to people of indian/pakistani/sri lankan descent in britain, but

the fact that it is used to refer to these people does not mean that

it has a sense that means "indian"--just like if i refer to my

siblings and they all happen to be male, it doesn't mean that

"siblings" has a sense that is synonymous with "brothers".

so, the best kind of evidence that i could get for an 'indian' sense

would be if it were contrasted with other words for people

from asia--something like "asians and chinese live there" or "the law

discriminates against asians and chinese."

i've checked three british dictionaries and not found this sense, but

then the south african dictionaries don't have the sense either, even

though south african english definitely does have the "south asian

only" sense.

does anyone know or have any references for me to chase down?

thanks as ever,