Questions tagged [borrowing]

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

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22
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7answers
2k views

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 introduced/...
19
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1answer
776 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 ...
15
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2answers
862 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 ...
15
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1answer
486 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 ...
13
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
12
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5answers
418 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 ...
12
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3answers
3k 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 ...
11
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1answer
541 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 ...
10
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2answers
359 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 ...
9
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4answers
459 views

Borrowing words along with the articles or other grammatical parts (like Spanish from Arabic)

Disclaimer: I do not know Arabic. Here is an example of Spanish words of Arabic origin: alacrán, albañil, alquimia... I wonder why Spanish language borrowed so many Arabic words along with the ...
9
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4answers
496 views

Languages preserving loanword inflections

Erudite English has an interesting practice where the plural form of loanwords may follow the inflectional grammar of the source language. Thus "campi" as well as "campuses", "minima" as well as "...
9
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5answers
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Examples of Borrowing Languages

In the Wikipedia page History of the English language it is mentioned that English is a "borrowing language", with the implication that there are many loan words in English. What other languages may ...
9
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3answers
2k 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, ...
9
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3answers
178 views

Do dead languages borrow words?

So, presumably, at some point during of after the fall of the Roman Empire, Latin became a dead language. Or, at least no longer used outside of the Church or science. When that happens to a language, ...
9
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2answers
1k 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", "go"....
8
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4answers
6k 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 ...
8
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3answers
788 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 ...
7
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3answers
738 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 ...
7
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2answers
2k views

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?
7
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2answers
155 views

Is it normal for only one verb class to be productive in Indo-European languages?

In another question on this site, there is some discussion on the view that the so-called "strong verb" class in English is no longer "productive" - that is, newly formed or coined words (neologisms) ...
7
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1answer
135 views

Term for borrowing an inflected form as an uninflected form

Sometimes when a word is borrowed from one language to another, what is an inflected form in the source language becomes an uninflected form in the target language. Examples of this are the Italian ...
6
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1answer
153 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 ...
6
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2answers
741 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) ...
6
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2answers
316 views

Historical development of English pronunciation(s) of “hygiene”

I have a two-part question about the pronunciation of hygiene in English. The usual pronunciation, as shown by a variety of online dictionaries accessible from OneLook Dictionary Search, is /...
5
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4answers
227 views

Which languages have absorbed the most vocabulary from Russian, and which languages have influenced its vocabulary?

I'm a student of formal linguistics and Russian language, my question has been surprisingly hard to google -- I've studied a little Ukrainian, and I've read that its structurally similar to Russian ...
5
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2answers
268 views

Why does Hebrew transcribe Akkadian š inconsistently?

Biblical Hebrew consistently uses the letter ס (s) to transcribe names with the Akkadian consonant š. For example, Esarhaddon for Aššur-aḥa-iddina, Esther from Ištar, Sargon from Šarru-ukīn (all ...
5
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3answers
902 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 ...
5
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3answers
1k 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 ...
5
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1answer
230 views

Why do French words tend to become so much more intense in English?

My knowledge of French is very rudimentary, but one common theme I noticed in English words borrowed from French is that their meaning becomes so much more intense. To give just a few examples, ...
5
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2answers
154 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 ...
5
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1answer
220 views

Sami loanwords in Swedish language [closed]

Are there any words in Swedish borrowed directly from Sami languages? Excluding proper nouns. One example would be enough for "yes" answer. A link to some research on related subject is required for "...
5
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1answer
420 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, ...
5
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2answers
2k 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 / ...
5
votes
1answer
167 views

Did the Portuguese influence how days of the week are named in Vietnamese and Chinese?

The Portuguese were some of the first colonizers / missionaries in the Far East. In the case of Vietnam, they created the first phonetic transcription of the language. Interestingly, nowadays the ...
4
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2answers
475 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 ...
4
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3answers
289 views

How do people deal with loanwords with highly alien phonemes?

I've been thinking about how a people who speak a language without rhotics would perceive a rhotic sound. Obviously of course, this would depend on exactly which rhotic we're talking about. I thought ...
4
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3answers
167 views

Is there a specific linguistic term for the following practice of constructing new words/characters?

I have in mind examples such as the Scheingallizismus (lit. appearance of Gallicism) in German which are words/phrases constructed from French origins but are themselves unknown in French speaking ...
4
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1answer
374 views

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 (...
4
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3answers
600 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 ...
3
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4answers
3k views

Why does English have words from Latin and none from Celtic?

It is known that Britain's history of invasion goes as: Celtic arrival, Roman domination, Saxon settlement, Nordic settlement, Norman invasion. If England's identity was largely made from the Saxons (...
3
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5answers
3k views

Are there any loanwords between Turkish and Armenian?

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 ...
3
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2answers
168 views

How do you call a languages tendency to adopt foreign words rather than translate them to their language?

One difference between Mandarin Chinese and Japanese is that the former likes to translate foreign terms, while Japanese prefers to transcribe them to Japanese. E.g. Basketball: Mandarin Chinese: 篮球 (...
3
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2answers
396 views

Etymology of Romanian “amor” (cf. “iubire”)

I found it interesting to learn that Romanian borrowed this word from a Slavic language as well as the verb "a iubi". I also discovered that the word "amor" is present in Romanian but apparently it ...
3
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2answers
222 views

Does Sanskrit really have a large proportion of borrowings from non IE stock?

A comment on an answer to anoher question about Lithuanian suggests that 'quite a large number of words was borrowed from non-IE languages'. While some words in Sanskrit indeed seem to have Fenno-...
3
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1answer
245 views

In Arabic loanwords, why does Persian change the short vowels with different vowels instead of matching them with long counterparts?

Classical Arabic (4th-9th century) short vowels are /a/, /u/, and /i/, and long vowels are /a:/, /u:/, and /i:/. New Persian (1000-1200 years old) short vowels are /æ/, /o/, and /e/, and long vowels ...
3
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
163 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, it'...
3
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1answer
47 views

Can anybody recommend some textbooks/articles that deal with the adaption of loan words into Spanish?

I'm doing a phonology project on Spanish and one of the components is describing how the language adapts loanwords. I'm particularly interested in Arabic loanwords and how they are adapted as I ...
3
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2answers
453 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 ...
3
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1answer
165 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 ...