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How borrowed words have influenced the vocabulary of English

In linguisticts, the term “borrowing” describes a process in wich one language replicates a
linguistic feature from another language. A high proportion of the words in use in everyday,non-
technical conversation in modern English are not borrowed and have either been in English right
back to its Germanic origins, or have been formed within English. However,it would be very
difficult to conduct any sort of conversation in modern English without usong some loanwords
and you would need a very good knowledge of English etymology to do so successfully. People
with a good knowledge of French and/or Latin will probably be able to guess the words that
have been borrowed from these languages, because their form and meaning remain relatively
close to those in the donor languages. Manu other loanwords are much more difficult to
spot,including the considerable number of borrowings from early Scandinavian found in
everyday English.

The History of the English language is conventionally divided into four main periods: Old
English,Middle English, Early Modern English and Later Modern English.Thid periodization
reflect some major changes in the grammar, pronunciation , and vocabulary of English wich
coincide very approximately with the transition from one period to the next. English is one of the
world's most prominent languages. Its history is interesting for many reasons, including its
flexibility in borrowing from other languages, a flexibility that has enriched its vocabulary over
the centuries. The most obvious places to see Latin borrowings used in English are the
terminologies used in biology, botany, and chemistry. Mexico has contributed not only Spanish
words in a variety of meaning areas such as the cattle industry and food, but also words from
the native languages of Mexico as well.Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a given word came
from French or whether it was taken straight from Latin. Words for wich this difficulty occurs are
those in wich there were no special sound and/or spelling changes of the sort that
distinguished Cultural diffusion, particularly via mass marketing and mass media, has facilitated
the spread of linguistic features outwards from a high-prestige variety, with which others wish to
align themselves. In practice, this has generally meant the English of the USA, and the spread
of American usages into British and other Englishes – train station for railway station, for
example, can for tin, the pronunciation of the sch- of schedule as /sk/ rather than /sh/, the use
of be like to introduce direct speech (I was like, ‘Oh my God!’) and of cool as an all-purpose
term of approval rench from Latin.

Words from European languages:

French continues to be the largest single source of new words outside of very specialized
vocabulary domains (scientific/technical vocabulary, still dominated by classical borrowings).

High culture—ballet, bouillabaise, cabernet, cachet, chaise longue, champagne, chic, cognac,
corsage, faux pas, nom de plume, quiche, rouge, roulet, sachet, salon, saloon, sang froid,
savoir faire
War and Military—bastion, brigade, battalion, cavalry, grenade, infantry, pallisade, rebuff,

Other—bigot, chassis, clique, denim, garage, grotesque, jean(s), niche, shock

French Canadian—chowder

Louisiana French (Cajun)—jambalaya

Spanish: armada, adobe, alligator, alpaca, armadillo, barricade, bravado, cannibal, canyon,
coyote, desperado, embargo, enchilada, guitar, marijuana, mesa, mosquito, mustang, ranch,
taco, tornado, tortilla, vigilante

Italian: alto, arsenal, balcony, broccoli, cameo, casino, cupola, duo, fresco, fugue, gazette (via
French), ghetto, gondola, grotto, macaroni, madrigal, motto, piano, opera, pantaloons, prima
donna, regatta, sequin, soprano, opera, stanza, stucco, studio, tempo, torso, umbrella, viola,

From Italian American immigrants:—cappuccino, espresso, linguini, mafioso, pasta, pizza,

ravioli, spaghetti, spumante, zabaglione, zucchini

Dutch, Flemish: shipping, naval terms—avast, boom, bow, bowsprit, buoy, commodore, cruise,
dock, freight, keel, keelhaul, leak, pump, reef, scoop, scour, skipper, sloop, smuggle, splice,
tackle, yawl, yacht

Cloth industry—bale, cambric, duck (fabric), fuller's earth, mart, nap (of cloth), selvage, spool,

Art—easel, etching, landscape, sketch

War—beleaguer, holster, freebooter, furlough, onslaught

Food and drink—booze, brandy(wine), coleslaw, cookie, cranberry, crullers, gin, hops, stockfish,

Other—bugger (orig. French), crap, curl, dollar, scum, split (orig. nautical term), uproar

German: bum, dunk, feldspar, quartz, hex, lager, knackwurst, liverwurst, loafer, noodle, poodle,
dachshund, pretzel, pinochle, pumpernickel, sauerkraut, schnitzel, zwieback, (beer)stein,

Scandinavian: fjord, maelstrom, ombudsman, ski, slalom, smorgasbord

Russian: apparatchik, borscht, czar/tsar, glasnost, icon, perestroika, vodka

Words from other parts of the world

Sanskrit: avatar, karma, mahatma, swastika, yoga

Hindi: bandanna, bangle, bungalow, chintz, cot, cummerbund, dungaree, juggernaut, jungle,
loot, maharaja, nabob, pajamas, punch (the drink), shampoo, thug, kedgeree, jamboree

Dravidian: curry, mango, teak, pariah

Persian (Farsi): check, checkmate, chess

Arabic: bedouin, emir, jakir, gazelle, giraffe, harem, hashish, lute, minaret, mosque, myrrh,
salaam, sirocco, sultan, vizier, bazaar, caravan

African languages: banana (via Portuguese), banjo, boogie-woogie, chigger, goober, gorilla,
gumbo, jazz, jitterbug, jitters, juke(box), voodoo, yam, zebra, zombie

American Indian languages: avocado, cacao, cannibal, canoe, chipmunk, chocolate, chili,
hammock, hominy, hurricane, maize, moccasin, moose, papoose, pecan, possum, potato,
skunk, squaw, succotash, squash, tamale (via Spanish), teepee, terrapin, tobacco, toboggan,
tomahawk, tomato, wigwam, woodchuck(plus thousands of place names, including Ottawa,
Toronto, Saskatchewan and the names of more than half the states of the U.S., including
Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, Illinois)

Chinese: chop suey, chow mein, dim sum, ketchup, tea, ginseng, kowtow, litchee

Japanese: geisha, hara kiri, judo, jujitsu, kamikaze, karaoke, kimono, samurai, soy, sumo,
sushi, tsunami

Pacific Islands: bamboo, gingham, rattan, taboo, tattoo, ukulele, boondocks

Australia: boomerang, budgerigar, didgeridoo, kangaroo (and many more in Australian English)


1. Borrowed Words: A History of Loanwords in English, Philip Durkin

2. http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Words04/structure/borrowed.html