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Loanwords, borrowing words among languages

Loanwords, borrowing words

Borrowing words or better known as Loanwords are words borrowed from one language and adopted by another language. This process is the result of cultural contact between two language communities. Loanwords are often incorporated into a language to fill lexical gaps, to fulfill new expressive needs or simply because linguistic fashions have changed. Some keep their foreign appearance and phonetic, while others are adapted to the orthography and pronunciation of the host language.

English has borrowed a great number of words and expressions from foreign languages, such as Spanish, French, Italian, German, etc.

– Spanish: Banana, churro, taco, loco, piña colada, tabaco, etc.
– French: Au pair, déjà vu, bon appétit, c’est la vie, garage, etc.
– Italian : A cappella, diva, pizza, opera, mafia and ciao, etc.
– German: aspirin, flak, blitz, vandal, fest, schnauzer, etc.

However, nowadays, the dominance of English as official language within the cultural and international economic world has provoked a massive incorporation of English words in the languages of countries worldwide. Thus, English has now become the biggest source of loanwords in the world.

But, do loanwords impoverish or enrich the borrowing language?

Let us know what you think! 🙂

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About Sharon Stephens

Sharon Stephens is Operations Director of Lingua Translation. With a First Class Honours Degree in Translation and a University Lecturer in Translation (Masters), she is a self confessed language geek! Bringing the academic principles of translation and business together Sharon offers a quality-driven and needs centric translation and interpreting service - like no other.

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