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He teaches English to the world

Anu Garg, a computer science graduate, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, is a wordsmith, churning them out daily for more than half-a-million people worldwide.

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BANGALORE: ‘Feme covert’, ‘quodlibet’, ‘lamster’, and ‘uxorial’? Don’t lunge for the dictionary; just check with Anu Garg. This computer science graduate, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, is a wordsmith, churning them out daily for more than half-a-million people worldwide.

Garg, 38, caters to word lovers through wordsmith.org, a website that delves into the English language, lists words, and traces their foreign roots.

Like many Indians riding the software wave in the early 1990s, Garg headed to the US for higher education and enrolled for a course in computer science.

While studying, he started an experiment. Harnessing the emerging interest in the Internet, he started wordsmith.org in 1994. It was meant for those interested in the finer aspects of English.

By the time he graduated, Garg was hooked. “I decided to make this grad-school experiment my life’s vocation,” he told DNA. Garg, wife Stuti, and their daughter now live in Ohio. His parents and siblings are in India.

Wordsmith offers subscribers a forum to chat and clear doubts with the help of experts like Erin McKean, editor-in-chief of US dictionaries for Oxford University Press, and John Simpson, chief editor, Oxford English Dictionary.

“It is arguably the most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass email in cyberspace,” the New York Times says of the website’s 6.1 lakh “a word-a-day” (AWAD) emails that discuss a chosen word, its meaning and usage. Universities like Harvard, Stanford, and Yale subscribe to AWAD. “All of India’s IITs and IIMs avail of the service,” says Garg.

Even global business firms have a large number of AWAD users. “In India, Infosys, Wipro, and Tata Consultancy Services subscribe to our unpaid service. Most of the subscribers have been with us since 1994,” he says.

Garg, who has just four volunteers to help him, gets nearly 1000 fan mails every week. He even recalls a “thank you” note from a prisoner in the US.

Garg coaches them

Top 3 firms, which subscribe to AWAD

IBM: 1040 subscriptions, Infosys: 1031 subscriptions, Wipro: 849 subscriptions

Top countries, subscribing to AWAD

Canada: 10330 subscriptions, US: 10318 subscriptions, Australia: 8349 subscriptions, India: 7647 subscriptions

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