Questions about words borrowed by English from another language.

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3
votes
1answer
170 views

Literal echelons?

Merriam-Webster and the OED list only figurative senses of the word echelon (i.e. military formations and organizational ranks). Would it be incorrect to use it in the literal sense of the French word ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is baba ghanouj pronounced with a final “sh” sound?

Baba ghanouj is a delicious Middle Eastern dip made from roast eggplant and garlic. I've found the name spelled a multitude of different ways on the internet, but there are two peculiar things about ...
7
votes
3answers
623 views

Foreign words reborrowed back into English

Wikipedia mentions several English words that have been reborrowed from Japanese: Anime comes from animation and has been reborrowed into English to mean Japanese-style animation. Puroresu comes ...
5
votes
9answers
1k views

Are there any examples of cross-language redundancy (e.g. “kielbasa sausage”)?

I am amused by expressions that combine the same word in two different languages, for example: Kielbasa sausage: kielbasa is Polish for sausage. Chorizo sausage: chorizo is Spanish for sausage. ...
9
votes
2answers
604 views

Do the Eskimo/Inuit languages really have more words for snow than English

I've read in some sources that there are more words in the Eskimo/Inuit language to describe types of snow that have arisen out of necessity. I've also read in other sources that this is just urban ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Interjection “et voilà”

I know et voilà is a French interjection and means there it is. It is very much used in the US. Why is the use of et voilà so popular in the US? Which historical fact has made it so popular?
11
votes
6answers
4k views

fait accompli – to italicize, or not to italicize

Background I was looking up the rule about italicizing foreign phrases and found an apparent consensus that the criterion is if the phrase is familiar. Well, who gets to decide that? I know perfectly ...
5
votes
3answers
11k views

How do I pronounce Gaudí, the architect?

How do I pronounce 'Gaudi', in the name of Antoni Gaudí (the architect)?
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Plurals of foreign words

What rules of thumb govern when to pluralise a foreign word as it should be in the original language and when it should be pluralised as an English word? For example, you'd get some funny looks using ...
7
votes
3answers
10k views

Naïve, naïf, naïvety, naïveté

I have two related questions about the word "naïve" and its relatives. The first is, shouldn't it be "naïf" if the subject is male? I've been told that it's correct to use the correct ending of ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Etymology of “Spaghetti and gravy”

In Nero Wolfe "Before I die", the gangster's sidekick asks for spaghetti and gravy. After Wolfe's chef Fritz prepares him spaghetti with the type of gravy used for roast beef, it turns out that the ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

Should nouns borrowed from Japanese be pluralized?

As someone who has watched a lot of subtitled Japanese animation, it seems odd to hear a word such as ninja (used in the plural) in the dialogue and see it transliterated as ninjas. It somehow seems ...