Questions about words borrowed by English from another language.

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2
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4answers
161 views

Is “chutzpah” used by non-Jewish English speakers?

Chutzpah is a term common to both Hebrew and Yiddish, and has been imported into English, at least for Jews. It means approximately audacity, nerve, insolence. Is chutzpah also used by non-Jewish ...
0
votes
1answer
200 views

Survey vs Surveil

Is survey just an Anglicisation of the loan-word surveil, or have the meanings split? http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/survey and http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/surveil suggests that ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is quixotic pronounced as it is?

Since "quixotic" was coined with Don Quixote as its basis, why is it pronounced "kwicks-OTT-ick" when it should by rights/origin be pronounced "Key-HO-tick"? It even sounds more onomatopoeiatic the ...
14
votes
7answers
79k 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
18k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

How do you spell Muammar Qaddafi?

This name, which is spelled القذافي in Arabic, is spelled in so many different ways in the Latin alphabet: Gadafi, Gadaffi, Gaddafi, Gaddaffi, Gadhafi, Gadhaffi, Ghadafi, Ghadaffi, Ghaddafi, ...
18
votes
3answers
37k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
949 views

What loan-words keep their native pronunciation?

Being a non-native English speaker I recently discovered that for some words you don't use English pronunciation. For instance you seem to be omitting the l's when saying tortilla. Yet this isn't ...
2
votes
1answer
299 views

Spelling of the word “connoisseur”

From what I gathered on the Web, "connoisseur" is spelled that way because it is derived from the old french verb "connoître" (to know) which has now been spelt "connaître" for close to two ...
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, ...
5
votes
3answers
303 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
12
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6answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
6k 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?
5
votes
3answers
628 views

Why is “poignant” pronounced /ˈpɔɪɲənt/?

I felt a little bit strange when I heard poignant pronounced as /ˈpɔɪɲənt/. It is also pronounced as /ˈpɔɪgnənt/, but the former seems to be more popular. A word stagnant has similar spelling, but ...
10
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
564 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

A term for redundancy in loan words?

Unfortunately, I can only think of one example at the moment, but, sometimes a loan or borrowed phrase is redundant because it includes in it both the lending and borrowing languages' words for the ...
9
votes
4answers
14k views

“Shnide”? “Schneid”? Which is it and what's this term's origin?

"Getting off the shnide." (Obviously I'm not sure of the spelling.) It's an expression I hear almost exclusively in sports commentary to indicate a team has finally won a game after a protracted ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

“Quyer” When and why did the spelling change so drastically?

The snippet above is taken from The Gentleman's Magazine (London, England), Volume 53, dated, 1783. It's only when you say Quyer out loud, do you realize what the word is. It is one of the ...
2
votes
7answers
5k 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
2answers
978 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 ...
19
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5answers
2k views

What does “bupke” mean?

There was the following passage in the New Yorker's (August 27) article titled, “A scandal at the C.I.A. May be.” : In January I (David Shafer, novelist) filed a Freedom of Information Act request ...
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 ...
0
votes
3answers
128 views

Word for sharing an old experience with someone new

Jamais vu is when an experience that is old to you suddenly seems new. But I'm looking for something even more specific. Is there a word for that feeling you get when an old experience is refreshed ...
4
votes
2answers
226 views

What led to the increased usage of “schtupping”?

I was listening to a television show the other day and one of the characters used "schtupping": schtupping — to have sexual intercourse with Dictionary.com notes that the term's origin is ...
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 ...
8
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.
8
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3answers
45k views

Does the casual use of “a la ___” in English preserve the French meaning?

In English, we use a la carte and a la mode, but it is also common for people to add their own word to the basic construction. For example, one might comment on someone's dancing: He showed us ...
1
vote
1answer
160 views

Where does the term “hardware” in computer science comes from?

The term Software was coined in 195x. And it was opposed the term Hardware, physical part of a computer system, which is tangible. But where does the term Hardware comes from (from which of the ...
23
votes
7answers
65k 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?
4
votes
3answers
580 views

Why are foreign words used in modern vernacular?

Why are seemingly foreign words such as hors d’œuvres, maître d’, garçon, and Gesundheit used in American vernacular?
1
vote
2answers
418 views

Do any UK place names have non-ASCII characters? [closed]

Are there any place names in the UK that have non-ASCII characters? I’m looking for any cities, towns, villages, etc. in the UK that use characters that aren’t in the basic ASCII range (code points ...
3
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
15k views

How is the word “qua” used?

I play Scrabble. I'm learning words with the letter 'q'. What is the usage of the word 'qua'?
0
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3answers
526 views

English from Icelandic?

Why is it that so many English words, as one traces their etymologies, run through Icelandic as one goes back?
4
votes
4answers
636 views

A French Phrase Similar to “Expertise”

I am looking for a phrase that is used occasionally in English as a near synonym of "expertise". For some reason, "coup d'mentarie" keeps going through my mind, but I don't believe this actually means ...
1
vote
0answers
33 views

Is there any guideline on the plural form of loanwords from Japanese? [duplicate]

I just saw a trailer of 47 Ronin. My first thought was "that doesn't sound right". We have 12 Monkeys and 13 Warriors. Why 47 Ronin? Then I recalled that there is a movie titled Seven Samurai. I ...
3
votes
1answer
273 views

When can the word “Noel” be used?

I came across the word "Noel" in a Christmas song recently. I only knew the French word "Noël" before so I looked "Noel" up in Leo. [Leo states] Noel also: Noël French - used especially ...
1
vote
3answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
242 views

When writing about Mongolian felt tent houses in English should the word “ger” or “yurt” be used?

I'm travelling in Mongolia at the moment and being a language buff I've been wondering whether if I were writing about my experiences here whether I ought to use the term yurt or ger when mentioning ...
7
votes
1answer
740 views

Why Abraham and not Avraham?

In the Hebrew scriptures Abraham's name is Avraham and not Abraham (אַבְרָהָם). Is has a v and not a b. The same goes for Rebecca, who is called Rivka in Hebrew. Both v and b sounds are represented by ...
1
vote
2answers
610 views

Is “martini” plural or singular?

Although frequently used incorrectly incorrectly in English, the borrowed Italian word paparazzi should be used for a group, while paparazzo is one intrusive celebrity photographer. The dictionary ...
2
votes
2answers
259 views

Use of the word 'together' as in the Norfolk dialect

In the Norfolk dialect, which I learned at my mother's and grandmother's knee, the word 'together'(pronounced 'tergatha') is used in an additional sense. If there are two people outside I might say ...
2
votes
5answers
642 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
557 views

Is “coyote” a loanword AND a calque?

This question comes directly from a line from the show Archer You, through some shady deal with the Border Patrol, sent us to south Texas to capture an individual named Moreno - Mexico's most ...
3
votes
2answers
213 views

Usage of macrons in Latin loanwords

I know that diacritics are often retained in loanwords in formal writing (cf. naïveté), but I haven't seen this done with direct adaptation of Latin words; i.e., per se. In Latin, per sē comes with a ...
0
votes
0answers
62 views

Should common foreign phrases such as “vice versa” be italicized? [duplicate]

I am writing a document in which phrases such as "et al.", "in vitro", and "ex vivo" are to be italicized. However, is a very common English (yet foreign) phrase such as "vice versa" to be ...