When words are taken from one language and incorporated into another.

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Why are raccoons called “washbears” in many languages?

Examples of words that literally mean "washbear" can be found here. This is apparently due to the fact that raccoons just love to wash things so much. But is it just a coincidence that many languages ...
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2answers
111 views

Other languages that borrow as promiscuously as English?

I've heard people say that the reason English is such a great language is that it's enriched itself by stealing so promiscuously from other languages. The image I get of English is that she's like the ...
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1answer
91 views

What phonological process changes е to ё in Russian?

I've been studying Russian for years now, but the one thing that I can't seem to wrap my mind around is why would the sound е je come to be pronounced like ё jo in certain circumstances? Obviously, ...
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1answer
65 views

Why do loanwords tend to be more polite, formal, technical, etc. than native words?

Why do loanwords tend to be more polite, formal, technical, etc. than native words? I've noticed that native words in my language, especially those that refer to body waste and genitals, tend to be ...
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1answer
38 views

Treatment of final E's in loanwords to English

Karaoke (from Japanese), simile (from Latin), tu quoque (Latin), apostrophe (Ancient Greek via Latin), machete (Spanish), and other loanwords with final E sounds all end up with an /i/ at the end. ...
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83 views

Why are the Turkeys name in reference to other cultures?

Introduction After being literally translated into english, the name of the Turkey (bird) follow some interesting pattern. In english, they are called "Turkey". In turkish, they are called "Hindi". ...
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66 views

c- in Irish clann “offspring”

Irish clann "plant; offspring; child" (the source of English clan) is borrowed from Welsh plant with the same meanings, which is itself a borrowing of Latin planta. Why did Irish change the initial p ...
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205 views

How did the name for st Peter become to be rendered as “Peter” in English, and why is not rendered as “stone” or “rock”

As I understand it, in the original bible passage, Jesus says to Peter "And I tell you that you are Petros, and on this petra I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" And ...
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74 views

English & Competing Borrowings: How many “pre-Norman” loanwords are known to have been replaced by “post-Hastings” ones?

What I am looking for: As my question suggests, I'm interested in words English has adopted from other languages. More specifically, I'm interested in old Celtic or Scandinavian (or other) loanwords ...
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2answers
162 views

Base language of Mitanni Texts

I was going through the sources for early indo-iranian and according to B. Fortson the first documented manifestation of this branch are the proper names in Mitanni Texts. Since the indo-iranian word ...
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5answers
215 views

Has any language ever borrowed an interrogative or relative pronoun?

One of the lexical similarities between reconstructed Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Uralic is in the interrogative and relative pronouns. For the former, in PIE there's a family of interrogatives ...
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205 views

Did Uralic borrow basic vocabulary from PIE, and if so why?

This section of the Wikipedia article on laryngeal theory lists proposed IE-to-Uralic loanwords containing laryngeals. Several of these have quite basic meanings: "woman", "person", "do", "give", ...
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64 views

Is there a source that lists English Loanwords into Mandarin Chinese?

Is there a source(database, dataset, etc.) that lists English Loanwords into Mandarin Chinese?
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1answer
180 views

Pronunciation in languages from East Asia of words that are Japanese loanwords in English

In English, most loanwords from Japanese are pronounced similarly to the Japanese word. It isn't an exact match, for example with "karaoke" the pronunciation of the second "a" differs between English ...
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2answers
123 views

Reasons for things named same way in seemingly unrelated languages

How did it come different languages share idiomatic expressions, or name something in same words? Like, take word "inflammation" for example. In English, it's "in(ner)" and "flame". In Ukrainian, ...
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2answers
348 views

Arabic and Persian loans in Turkish

Both Persian and Turkish - as have other "islamic" languages - have a great deal of Arabic vocabulary. Due to an (initially) favourable vowel inventory (and maybe due to the same script being used) ...
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3answers
274 views

Some common features of unrelated languages: Turkish and Persian

This is somehow related to the question Are some languages known to have taken grammatical features etc rather than just lexicon from their substrate languages? In the area of today's Turkey, Iran ...
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0answers
82 views

Constructing/borrowing of complex scientific/technological/financial vocabulary in Esperanto [closed]

Most Esperanto scientific, some technology-specific, or financial dictionaries available online cover vast range, but mostly old terminology that was around for many years. How does one translate or ...
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4answers
843 views

Is دشمن (“enemy” in Persian) borrowed from δυσμενής (“hostile” in ancient Greek)?

A couple of years ago I encountered the world δυσμενής, meaning hostile, in an ancient Greek text I translated. If I recall correctly, this can be pronounced as "dusmenè". This always intrigued me, ...
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2answers
288 views

Is Mongolian “шинэ” / “ᠰᠢᠨ᠎ᠠ”, meaning “new”, a borrowing of Chinese “新”?

I've noticed that the Mongolian word for "new" is "шинэ" (or in traditional script, "ᠰᠢᠨ᠎ᠠ"). Since final vowels are not pronouned it's spoken as "shin". The Han character for "new", "新" is also ...
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215 views

Has a spoken language ever borrowed a word from a signed language?

There are plenty of examples of signed languages borrowing or deriving words from spoken language. In ASL, the word DOG is a lexicalized fingerspelling of "dog", CHURCH is made with the "c" handshape ...
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118 views

How are foreign terms incorporated into the Arabic system of vowel alternation?

I don't know much at all about the specifics of Arabic grammar, so this question might not make sense, but as I understand it, most Arabic words consist of a three-consonant root with vowels inserted ...
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2answers
1k views

Is a loanword also a cognate or are the two terms mutually exclusive?

A borrowing or loanword is when a word from language A is added to the lexicon of language B, with whatever phonological adaptations are necessary. But is a cognate only a word directly inherited ...
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260 views

Are tones “preserved” when borrowing between unrelated tonal languages?

Let's consider just borrowing between unrelated, national/standardized tonal languages, just in case borrowing between related languages might be a special case and borrowing between non standardized ...
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Why is the Lao word for tea “ຊາ” (saa) and not “ຈາ” (chaa)?

In just about every language, the word for "tea" can be traced to one of two variants of the same word. Te, from the Amoy tê of Fujian Province and Taiwan. Cha, from the Cantonese chàh of Guangzhou ...
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534 views

Could the Mandarin word “要” (yāo) and the Thai word “เอา” (ao), both meaning “to want” be related?

After a couple of weeks in Thailand and learning how to say "I don't want it" I've just realized the word for "want" is very similar to the word for "want" in Mandarin Chinese. I know the coincidence ...
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69 views

How is tone assigned to loanwords borrowed from non-tonal languages? [duplicate]

In a tonal language like Cantonese, how is stress assigned to loanwords (from languages which don't have a tone distinction)? For example, Hong Kong Cantonese has various words borrowed from English, ...
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3answers
1k views

Are there any loanwords in Turkish / Armenian languages?

In the Ottoman Empire, both Turks and Armenians shared common social and cultural domains, but are there any loanwords in either language from either side - i.e. Turkish loanwords in Armenian or ...
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4answers
584 views

Is the similarity between the Arabic word Gayyid and the English word Good due to a borrowing?

Why is the Arabic word جید (jayyid) which is pronounced gayyid in Egypt and means good, so similar to the word good or the German word gut? Is it a borrowing? (since the word for good is very ...
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2answers
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Why did English borrow more from Latin and Greek than, e.g., German did, in scientific and philosophical subjects?

Is there any known reason why the scholars of the time didn't think it easier to use calques, as for instance the Germans did for the names of some of the basic chemical elements?
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396 views

Do loanwords usurp existing words?

When a loanword enters a language, does it usually replace an existing native word or phrase? Or does it more often lead to an increase in the size of the language's vocabulary? Regarding Japanese's ...
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7answers
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In languages with grammatical gender, how do they determine the gender when a new word has been created?

In languages with grammatical gender that has (almost) no morphological relation between the words and the genders(e.g. French), how do they determine the gender of a new word that has been ...
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3answers
454 views

Mutual lexical borrowings between Arabic, Persian and Turkish: a reference request

As an occasional learner of these languages, I find the linguistic situation of Arabic, Persian and Turkish very interesting: they are three genetically unrelated languages (if you stick to ...
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2answers
558 views

Did Georgian ever have a native word for “dolphin”?

During my time in Georgia one word came to puzzle me and I'm still thinking about it: დელფინი (delp'ini) "dolphin" Wiktionary says this comes from Greek via Russian. The thing is Georgia is on ...
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2answers
658 views

Are there any linguistic factors that influence the degree to which a language accepts loanwords?

Obviously, the degree to which loanwords enter a language is highly influenced by culture - for instance, a community which has a lot of contact with another culture, through which many new objects / ...
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1answer
470 views

How do tone languages assign phonemic tones to loanwords from non-tone languages?

How do tone languages assign phonemic tones to loanwords from non-tone languages? For example, does such assignment vary according to the phonological context in each loanword? Alternatively, does ...
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1answer
978 views

Is the word, “problem,” new to non-English languages?

I've been listening to radio broadcasts lately where a person will be speaking German or Pashtun or Russian or whatever and a translator will be supplying an English rendition, in a format which makes ...
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Are English 'butterfly', German 'Butterfliege' and Dutch 'botervlieg' cognates?

Yesterday the question was raised why many languages do not share a root for 'butterfly'. When we look at the etymology of the English word, parallels are drawn to Dutch and German forms (OED): OE ...
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315 views

What's this loanword phenomenon called?

I've noticed that loanwords often take on more specific meanings in the target language than in the source language. To give two very common examples, sake just means alcohol in Japanese and salsa ...
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3answers
1k views

What are some reasons languages get picked as source languages for neologisms

For example, Latin is a source language for new words in English and other European languages, and I know English, Sanskrit and Arabic are also source languages in many other languages. What are the ...