Questions about words borrowed by English from another language.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

5
votes
0answers
479 views

How are Japanese words spelt in English? [closed]

When they are writing material in English, I sometimes see native speakers of Japanese misspell English words that were derived from Japanese. For example, I've seen "tunami" written instead of ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

Is schmuck really an obscene word?

Schmuck is supposedly an obscene Yiddish term for the male sex organ, yet it appears all of the time in the media as an American idiom for a jerk. Can one use it in polite company?
11
votes
3answers
510 views

How should a person holding a foreign military rank be addressed?

While researching how to call a person that holds a rank at a foreign (non English speaking) military, I came to very confusing results: Wikipedia is not consistent on the issue: it sometimes gives ...
4
votes
2answers
10k views

How should an English speaker pronounce “vice versa”?

When using vice versa in spoken English, I tend to just completely Anglicise it and pronounce it vise VER-ser, with only one syllable in vice. The original would be something like VEE-cay VER-sa, but ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

From French “manœuvre” to English “manoeuvre”, does “œ” exist in English?

Sadly, I don’t have much to add from the title to this question: does œ exist in English, such as in the word manœuvre? The same question may also apply to what the French call the “e dans l’a” (e in ...
2
votes
1answer
869 views

What should be the plural of “kibbutz” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Plurals of foreign words A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Since this type of a settlement is unique to Israel, ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Generic foreign words with specific English meanings

There are many words in English that are borrowed from other languages, but acquire a much more specific meaning along the way. For example, salsa in Spanish simply means "sauce", and could be ...
3
votes
7answers
8k views

Is there an equivalent of the spanish “que hueva” slang expression in English to denote that you feel lazy about doing something?

In Spanish slang, particularly in the west, the expressions "que hueva" or "me da hueva" are used, respectively, to convey that you are lazy about doing something. The context might be as follows: A: ...
2
votes
0answers
101 views

How to pluralize “Air de cour”? [closed]

An air de cour is a type of Baroque song. If I’m talking about several of these, would I say “we played some airs de cour”? Frankly, and especially since this is a foreign phrase (French), the thing ...
-2
votes
1answer
1k views

The growth of English

English is (to her credit) widely considered a language of .. mixed breeding, seeing as to how she accepts favours from just about anybody and everybody. What I'd like to know is how and by how much ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Should the English word for noodles be ''lamen'' or ''ramen''? [closed]

The Chinese word for noodles is lamen, or la-mien, and the Japanese also call it lamen, using their hiragana/katana syllaby. So the word is spoken with the L sound in both China and Japan (Taiwan, ...
-2
votes
2answers
1k views

How do you decline nouns borrowed from languages with several categories for declining nouns (or none at all)?

English has two grammatical categories of number. One is the singular, and the other is the plural. Many nouns in English have different singular and plural forms. When nouns are borrowed from ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

German words in common English [closed]

Just curious: Which words are often used in everyday English? I came across the Wikipedia article about List of German expressions in English. There are listed thousands of words. I was surprised ...
5
votes
3answers
359 views

Anglicization from Hebrew

How should one transliterate the well-known Jewish Holiday that usually takes place in December (or late November)? Hannukah or Chanukah
6
votes
6answers
2k views

How did the Swedish word “fartlek” make it to the English language running vocabulary?

This is a question originally from Fitocracy by ivh: Btw, does anybody know how the Swedish word "fartlek" made it into English running lingo?
2
votes
5answers
697 views

Why do some non-English words become English words?

Why do some non-English words become English words even though there is already are English words meaning the same thing that are more universally understandable? For example, He received kudos ...
7
votes
5answers
439 views

Not “schadenfreude”, but related?

I'm thinking that there must be a word that means, rather than "feeling pleasure in the misfortune of another", "the pleasure of feeling superior to another". This certainly seems (at least) as ...
0
votes
1answer
393 views

How do I spell a word that sounds like “reh-par-tay” and often used with “witty”? [closed]

Clever conversation, aka "witty [reh-par-tay]" ... can't for the life of me remember how to spell that loan word, though I use it in spoken English from time to time. I am pretty sure it's not ...
19
votes
6answers
24k views

“Czar” vs “tsar” - origins and pronunciation

How did the word come into English with the two variants czar and tsar? The 'ts' spelling is a transliteration of the Russian 'царь', but the 'cz' spelling is what interests me more. To me it looks ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

When a foreign word or phrase becomes English [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the criteria to adopt new words into English? There are many words or phrases in English that are clearly of foreign origin yet become so commonplace they are ...
6
votes
2answers
297 views

Is there a term for loanwords that are borrowed back into their original language? [closed]

Is there a word for double loanwords? The only example I can think of right now isn't in English, but it should clarify what I mean. Küçük, meaning small/young, the original Turkish word, was ...
6
votes
2answers
288 views

Has the incorporation of foreign phrases in English stopped?

I know English contains many words taken directly from another language - chauffeur, for example - but I am interested in foreign phrases. These are phrases you'd see in writing or spoken aloud, such ...
2
votes
4answers
649 views

Should “romaji” be capitalized?

Should, "romaji", a loanword from Japanese, be capitalized because it is ultimately related to "Rome", which is a proper noun? I came across Should capitalization be preserved in loanwords? , but ...
8
votes
7answers
9k views

How did “gesundheit” work its way into common American usage?

Once upon a time I was hanging out with a fairly international group of people. Somebody sneezed, and one of the Americans reflexively responded, "Gesundheit!" A German in the group seized on the ...
27
votes
7answers
84k views

How did “sinister”, the Latin word for “left-handed”, get its current meaning?

Sinister is the Latin word for left-handed. What evolution of meaning turned left-handed into evil and threatening?
5
votes
1answer
248 views

Etymology of charlâtanerie

Can anyone provide me with the etymology and details of usage of the word charlâtanerie ? I came across this word while reading The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe.The following passage ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Origin of “they”, “them”, and “their”

I know that they, them, and their did not exist in Old English. What language are they derived from?
23
votes
4answers
48k views

Why is the word 'bologna' pronounced like 'baloney'?

Why is the word 'bologna' (as in a bologna sandwich) pronounced so differently from the way it's spelled? The word 'lasagna' isn't pronounced 'lasagney'... The American sausage is derived from a ...
9
votes
4answers
8k views

Why is the initial “ts” sound (e.g “tsunami”) pronounced as “s”?

Why is the word "tsunami" often pronounced as "sunami"? Can English speakers pronounce "ts"? Is it because the initial "ts" looks foreign?
3
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the meaning of the suffix “‑don”?

What are the meaning and origin of the suffix ‑don, as in the words pteranodon and megalodon?
5
votes
4answers
13k views

Why do some English speakers pronounce “fête” as “fate”?

In French, from whom we’ve borrowed the word, it’s /fɛt/ “fet”. But if we pronounced it as if it were an English word after dropping the accent, it would be /fi:t/ “feet”. Yet the pronunciation we ...
3
votes
1answer
277 views

What is the word of Spanish or Portuguese origin starting with “a” and meaning enthusiast?

There is a word starting with "a" (along the lines of "afinados") meaning enthusiast, connoisseur or fan. What is it?
4
votes
4answers
10k views

Pronunciation of foreign words in American vs. British English?

One of the differences between modern US English (hereafter referred to as "American English") and British English is the way in which we pronounce foreign words, particularly those of French origin ...
8
votes
2answers
881 views

Where is the root morpheme in Modern English ambassador, embassy?

If there were no such a word as embassy, I would consider ambassad as a root and -or as an agent derivational suffix here. But embassy makes me puzzled. If we accept that segmentation shold be done ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Latin (or Greek) -x becomes -ght?

I have attested two words in English that come from two Latin words. These are "night" and "light". They derive from the words "nox" and "lux" respectively; both Latin — in the case of the word "nox", ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the correct plural of “chaise longue”? [closed]

Is it "chaises longues" or just "chaise longues"? Both examples exist in different dictionaries. Or should it be something else entirely?
5
votes
2answers
13k views

Is the -re “supposed” to be silent in the pronunciation of “macabre”?

Is the "-re" supposed to be silent in the pronunciation of the word macabre? I'm aware that dictionaries give two pronunciations, \məkäb\ and \mekäbrə\, but is one of them just a fixed "error" of the ...
5
votes
4answers
729 views

Is it common to use the borrowed noun-adjective form for borrowed French phrases?

Lately, something has struck me. I've been hearing several expressions in English, some clearly borrowed from French and preserving their noun-adjective form. Some examples are: Attorney General ...
0
votes
3answers
604 views

English from Icelandic?

Why is it that so many English words, as one traces their etymologies, run through Icelandic as one goes back?
17
votes
7answers
90k views

Pronunciation of “cache”

I have been pronouncing the word "cache" as kaysh. I know a few people who pronounce it more like cash, cashay or even catch. After consulting a few dictionaries, it turns out that the correct ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Proper usage of “status quo”

I was attending my college re-union and a speaker just said that "Having an ebook reader is status quo". Apparently, it means that it is in vogue or in fashion. I do not think it is the correct ...
6
votes
3answers
697 views

Using “RSVP” as a noun

RSVP literally means "Please respond", however it seems to have turned itself into a noun in common usage: "What's your RSVP for the party?" "I'm attending" Is it acceptable to refer to a ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the origin of the place name “Abbottabad?”

We know that Abbottabad is named after Major James Abbott, an officer in the Indian Army who founded the town. But where does the "...abad" come from? Does it have any relationship to the English word ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

How would you spell “Tehran” in English for it to be pronounced “correctly” (i.e. as in Persian)?

Native English speakers do not pronounce the h in Tehran so it is pronounced like "Teran". But in the original pronunciation in Persian the h is pronounced, resulting in /tehˈɾɒːn/. Is there any ...
7
votes
2answers
878 views

How does one use the adjectival noun “l'enfant terrible”?

I have seen this phrase bandied about from time to time, usually in more "academic" works; my problem is that I remember it rarely being applied to children, as a direct translation might imply ...
7
votes
2answers
199 views

Monsters! another question about what-was-it-then

Etymonline has the original meaning of monster as c.1300, "malformed animal, creature afflicted with a birth defect" but I am curious to know the term used at that time -- and even earlier -- for ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Are “tomorrow” and “morning” etymologically related?

I know this is true for German and Spanish: Morgen morgen and Mañana por la mañana both mean "tomorrow morning". There may well be other examples too. I wonder- since these languages ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

What's up with the hyphen in “orang-utan”?

For most of my life 'till about a couple of years ago, I had only seen the spelling orangutan written to describe those delightful red-headed apes from the tropical forests of Borneo. Lately, though, ...
14
votes
2answers
15k views

Why is the “a” in “cocoa” silent?

Not being a native speaker of English, one of those words that tripped me up is “cocoa”. Besides having its vowels inverted from “cacao”; it also is pronounced exactly the same as “coco”, whereas ...
9
votes
7answers
2k views

Why are there so few words in English that are derived from Welsh?

Why are there so few words in English that are derived from Welsh? Wikipedia mentions only 11.