English /Borrowing from other languages

Chantal   Saturday, June 07, 2003, 22:45 GMT
The English language has vast debts. In any dictionary some 80% of the entries are borrowed. The majority are likely to come from Latin, and of those more than half will come through French.
A considerable number will drive directly or indirectly from Greek.
A substential contribution will come from Scandinavian languages, and a small percentage from Porgugese, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch.
Scattered words will be from various sources around the globe. The vocabulary has grown from the 50,000 to 60,000 words in Old English to the tremendous number of entries-650,000 to 750,000-in an unabridged dictionary in 1988 and (?) in a dictionary of today.
The bulk of the words spoken and written by English-speaking people, however, are native words, the nine most frequently used being "and", "be", "have", "it", "of", "the", "will", and "you".
Borrowed words are nevertheless immensely useful in enriching the vocabulary and making the language fllexible and resourceful.

Do you know scattered words in English borrowed from other langauages ?
Chantal   Saturday, June 07, 2003, 23:00 GMT
Despite borrowing from all over the globe, English is a Germanic language which can be easily perceived by comparing it to German, Dutch, and Frisian - all West Germanic languages.The word "water" is common to English and Dutch, and other words are not too different in the two languages. The relation between English "That is good" and German "Das is gut" is evident.
Chantal   Saturday, June 07, 2003, 23:19 GMT
I came across this word in my dictionary :

*Paradise* [Middle English] This comes from Old French "paradis", via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek "paradeisos" 'royal (enclosed) park', from Avestan "pairidaeza" 'enclosure, park'. The earliest sense recorded in English was 'abode fo the blessed'.

p.s. Avestan : Concerning the Avesta or the old Iranian language of the Avesta.
Chantal   Sunday, June 08, 2003, 08:31 GMT
Typo !

'abode of the blessed'

sorry !
Tremmert   Sunday, June 08, 2003, 14:25 GMT
Are these different Chantals or are you talking to yourself..?
tulip   Sunday, June 08, 2003, 18:17 GMT
French words from all walks of life came into English. In some instances we have pairs of words, one from Norman French and one from Parisian French, as in catch, chase; cattle, chattle; and warden, guardian. The Latin "ca" was preserved in Norman French but was changed to "ch" in Central French. Likewise, many Norman words begin with "w", whereas the Central form is "gu".
Many of the borrowed words dealt with things in which the French influence was strong-government, law, religion, and military affairs. Illustrations are reign, court, revenue, clergy, faith, and sergeant. Architecture, literature, and science, as well as fashion, dress, and social life, added terms like sculpture, palace, pillar, romance, tragedy, surgeon, anatomy, clock, and tournament.
Many words were introduced that had to do with the table and preparation of food, such as appetite, beef, veal, pork, pastry, broil, and boil. These and thousands of other words were added to the English vocabulary between 1100 and 1500. Yet the very core of the vocabulary remained English. The pronouns, prepositions, conjugasions, and auxiliaries and many ordinary nouns, verbs, and adjectives were not supplanted by borrowings.

*Taken from "the New Lexicon Webster's Encylopedic Dictionary"
Chantal   Sunday, June 08, 2003, 18:18 GMT
Welcome Tremmert

all Chantals are the same.
Teddy Bear   Sunday, June 08, 2003, 21:26 GMT
Another word borrowed from "Farsi" is orange. The name and the fruit came to Europe in the Middle Ages.
Orenge comes from Old French orenge [used in the phrase pomme d'orange], based on Arabic naranja from Persian narabj.
shilly shally   Sunday, June 08, 2003, 21:34 GMT
Unlike French or German, English is not affraid of loosing its identitiy by borrowing from other languages. Its moto is "the more, the merrier". That makes its richness and That's what makes English so unique as a language.
shilly shally   Sunday, June 08, 2003, 21:43 GMT
Dorian   Sunday, June 08, 2003, 21:56 GMT

Robert McCrum, William Cran, & Robert MacNeil. The Story of English. New York: Penguin, 1992: 1 "The statistics of English are astonishing. Of all the world's languages (which now number some 2,700), it is arguably the richest in vocabulary. The compendious Oxford English Dictionary lists about 500,000 words; and a further half-million technical and scientific terms remain uncatalogued. According to traditional estimates, neighboring German has a vocabulary of about 185,000 and French fewer than 100,000, including such Franglais as le snacque-barre and le hit-parade.

The number of words in English has grown from 50,000 to 60,000 words in Old English to about a million today. There are a number of ways in which the English vocabulary increases. The principal way in which it grows is by borrowing words from other languages. About 80% of the entries in any English dictionary are borrowed, mainly from Latin. Another way is by combining words into one word such as housewife, greenhouse, and overdue. The addition of prefixes and suffixes to words also increases the immense vocabulary of the English language.

Today, more than 750 million people use the English language. An average educated person knows about 20,000 words and uses about 2,000 words in a week. Despite its widespread use, there are only about 350 million people who use it as their mother tongue. It is the official language of the Olympics. More than half of the world's technical and scientific periodicals as well three quarters of the world's mail, and its telexes and cables are in English. About 80% of the information stored in the world's computers (such as this text) are also in English. English is also transmitted to more than 100 million people everyday by 5 of the largest broadcasting companies (CBS, NBC, ABC, BBC, CBC). It seems like English will remain the most widely used language for some time.

Johnny Ling -- 2001
Suzanne   Sunday, June 08, 2003, 22:01 GMT
Word formation in English
There are several ways a language changes. Here are some examples of word-formation in English:


When you take words from other languages it is called “borrowing”. This is more frequent in English than other languages, because Britain has no “Language council” that tells you what kind of words you should use. English has been borrowing words from a lot of languages, and especially French. French was a prestige language, and English has not only taken words, but also French pronunciation. One example of this is the pronunciation of the French word “restaurant”. Examples of semantic refinement in English are the French words mutton, beef and pork, instead of the old English words sheep, cow and pig. Usually words from other languages get an English pronunciation. Examples of words they have borrowed from other languages:

-Old Norwegian: get, give, hit, law, skill, skin, sky, take, they, want, window

-Hungary: coach - Latin: sex - China/Persia: tea - Japan: tsunami, uisuki=whisky

********   Sunday, June 08, 2003, 22:07 GMT
In English, the largest group of borrowed terms came from Norman-French and together with Old English became what we call Middle English. There are several reasons for borrowing and each displays its own patterns and "rules":

Domination by another culture.
The best example is the Norman domination of England. Norman-French became the language of the courts and the aristocracy.
Close contact between speakers of different languages. This can be seen in the American West with adoption of Spanish words, through the use of pidgins and other trading languages, and in the adoption of words from India and other areas of the British Empire.
Often a foreign word expresses an idea or a nuance better than existing words. Nouns are frequently adopted for this reason, but not all such words are nouns. Words and phrases such as lassez-faire express ideas that couldn't be easily expressed without adopting the words into English.
Often people use foreign words to show a sophistication and worldliness. Foriegn words can be a status symbol. Also, certain technical disciplines follow a practice of adopting words from Latin or Greek, because these were once the languages of educated people.
Root Creation
Jim   Monday, June 09, 2003, 01:03 GMT

The word "whisky" is probably the worst example of an English word derived from Japanese that you could think of. Some good ones would be "origami", "karate", "karaoke", "sushi", "sake", "sumo", "kamikaze", "judo" and "hara-kiri". One thing that is interesting about these "borrowings" (Why do we call them this?) is that they invariably get mispronounced by English speakers. My preference is to pronounce these words in the Japanese way, however, it does sound a bit odd to the ears of native speakers of English. We're left with the problem of choosing whether to pronounce these words as they are in Japanese or to follow the anglicised pronunciation. Which is better? I don't know. I know what I'm comfortable with and I don't mind the funny looks.

Whenever you see an "e" in a Japanese word it's pronounced like the "e" in "get" never like the "e" in "me". In English we have the vowel "a" as in "cat", there is no such vowel in Japanese. Whenever you see an "a" it's pronounced like the "u" in "cut". English speakers often make the "u" in "sushi" & "sumo" a long vowel like the "oo" in "tool", it should be short like the "u" in "bush". The letter "o" should be pronounced like the "o" in "cot" in an Aussie, NZ or RP accents, however, at the end of a word it's usually more like the the "o" in "go" in a Canadian or American accent. Why this is has to do with transliteration: what should really be written "ou" or "oo" often gets shortened to "o" when written in Roman letters.

As for "whisky" or "whiskey" verses "uisukii", the "borrowing" went the other way. The English word came from the Gaelic "uisce beatha" (Irish) or "uisge beatha" (Scotish) meaning "water of life". This word then became the English word "usquebaugh" which was shortened to "whisky" or "whiskey". The Japanese "uisukii" is nothing but a romanisation of the word as written in Japanese phonetic characters. It's the same word undergone a double transliteration from roman letters into Japanese characters and back to roman letters.

Jim   Monday, June 09, 2003, 01:07 GMT

It should be "an Aussie, NZ or RP accent,"