Did you know that English has ‘borrowed’ more than 380 words from other languages?!
Try to match these English ‘loan words’ to the correct language!
admiral, anime, bagel, beef, broccoli, bungalow, café, candy, caravan, cockroach, delicatessen, entrepreneur, glitch, graffiti, guerrilla, khaki, pyjamas, rickshaw, rucksack, shampoo, tsunami
– Hindi and Urdu
Read the following article and check your ideas.
English was originally brought to what is now called Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers from northwest Germany, West Denmark and the Netherlands. But the language that we nowadays call English has been changed almost out of recognition by the passing of time, and even more influentially, the impact
of other languages.
It is estimated that words borrowed from other languages make up around 80% of the English language. As the author James D. Nicoll has noted:
“We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
One of the reasons why English has such a huge vocabulary- estimated to be more than two million words, though not all are in current use- is that English has borrowed words from up to 350 other languages. Some of the biggest contributions come from Latin and Greek, and French- via the Norman invasion of 1066. We easily recognise such words as café and entrepreneur as being French, but a lot of much older words are too. For example, most of the words for meat, such as beef, mutton and pork
come from French, and this explains why they are so different from the words we use to describe the animals themselves.
Arabic has given the language many words that most people would not recognise as anything but English. For example, admiral, caravan and candy. And the time the British spent in India, as a colonial power, has given the language words Hindi or Urdu words such as bungalow, pyjamas, khaki and shampoo. And then there are more modern borrowings, such as anime, tsunami and rickshaw from Japanese, guerrilla and cockroach (cucaracha) from Spanish, rucksack and delicatessen from German, broccoli and graffiti from Italian and glitch and bagel from Yiddish.
It is often remarked that English spelling and pronunciation is confusing and unpredictable, but once we start to recognise what a hotchpotch (derived from French) the language actually is, it all starts to make