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Language Borrowing Definition Essay


Language borrowing is always an interesting topic for discussion. Loanwords are such words that were taken from another language without being translated. Tulloch et. al. claims that “the route of borrowed words into English can be complicated because words have often been borrowed and absorbed through several languages before reaching English” (37). Differently put, it is hard to track the origin of some words.

These words are often modified to fit the language. Some sounds are removed or changed according to phonological combinations and easier pronunciation (Campbell 59). Also, it should be said that words can be borrowed both directly and indirectly (Stockwell and Minkova 54). There are numerous words in modern English that were borrowed from many languages.

Beef has originated from French Boeuf (Campbell 58). It is used to describe a meat of domestic animals in the original language. The spelling and pronunciation were altered. Another example is porc. It was borrowed because there was no exact word in English to characterize meat of pig at that time. The last letter was changed, and it has turned into simply pork (Campbell 58). French pillotte has changed into pilot (Tulloch et. al. 37).

This term is used to define a person that steers a ship. Spelling and pronunciation were changed. Buteillier was also borrowed, and it has turned into Butler (Tulloch et. al. 38). It is a person of high rank that serves drinks in the original language. Some letters were taken out from this word. A Question has come from French language (Durkin 249).

It is spelled as questiun and is used to describe a problem. For example, Italian spaghetti did not need any modifications (Tulloch et. al. 38). Spaghetto is a string in the original language. Spaghetti is spelled in English in exactly the same way as in Italian, but the pronunciation is slightly different. Latin historia has changed into history (Durkin 244). It means to learn after obtaining information in the original language. Sugar was borrowed from Arabian. Sukkar was initially used to define gravel (Tulloch et. al. 38).

The word was changed to fit phonological combinations. Latin producere has changed into produce (Durkin 244). The term was used to describe an act of empowerment. Two letters were taken out, and the way the word is pronounced was also altered. The Person was borrowed from Latin and has transformed into persona (Durkin 248).

It is an individual of a high rank in the original language. The last letter was removed, and pronunciation is also slightly different. Umbrella has originated from Italian ombrella, a word that originally meant a shadow (Tulloch et. al. 38).

Typhoon has been imported from the Greek language, and the first letter was replaced. Typhon was used to describe a whirlwind. The word is pronounced similarly to the monsoon. However, there are some discussions regarding the actual origin of this word. Many think that Chinese tai fung has influenced the English meaning of the word (Liberman 141).

In conclusion, the amount of loanwords that are being used every single day is simply enormous. Haspelmath and Tadmor state that “English is the language which has borrowed heavily from a number of sources, including certain languages with which it was closely related” (377). In other words, it is a historical process. Overall, borrowed words help to enrich the language.

Works Cited

Campbell, Lyle. Historical Linguistics. 3rd ed. 2013. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press. Print.

Durkin, Philip. Borrowed Words: A History of Loanwords in English. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2014. Print.

Haspelmath, Martin, and Uri Tadmor. Loanwords in the World’s Languages: A Comparative Handbook. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter, 2009. Print.

Liberman, Anatoly. Word Origins…And How We Know Them: Etymology for Everyone. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

Stockwell, Robert P., and Donka Minkova. English Words. 2nd ed. 2009. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. Print.

Tulloch, Karen, Judith Cullen, Enid Jones, Linda Saunders, and Gillian Turner. Primary English across the Curriculum. London, United Kingdom: Learning Matters, 2012. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Language Borrowing Definition'. 10 April.

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