From Walter's other citation, a telling point:
Quand on parle d'invasion, on oublie aussi qu'une grande partie de ces mots empruntés par mode tombe dans les oubliettes. « Ainsi Proust nous fait sourire quand il écrit que Swann était très smart ou que sa tenue sportsman plaisait beaucoup à Mme Verdurin. Ces mots n'ont plus de sens. Ils étaient éphémères. »
(When one speaks of invasion, one also forgets that a great many of these words borrowed by style [i.e., the stylish] fall into the depths. "Thus Proust makes us smile when he writes that Swann was very smart and that his sportsman['s] outfit very much pleased Mme Verdurin. These words no longer make sense. They were ephemeral.")
I'm seeing a lot of shortcuts in Spanish. If the English seems complicated they just abbreviate. A sleeping bag becomes a "un esleeping" and a French Poodle "un french" etc. I try to say "esta bien" instead of "ok" but it's tough. Nevertheless a lot of nice original jargon remains solidly intact. "Q'ubo que mas? como le va? bien o que? Que has hecho? Cuentame. Pues bien aqui trabajando..."
Engish has some salient features that make it a good lingua homo (to coin a phrase):
-no changes to phrasing dependent on either gender or social status
-simplefied grammar, 'he is chopping wood' - not 'he (the male) is the (male) wood chopping (present tense)'
-simplified word creation, thus there can be a 'houseboat' AND a 'boathouse' - two concepts describing two different items, not 'the house belonging to the boat', also 'bookwork/workbook', 'pocketmoney/moneypocket', etc
Now, if we could sort out some of the spelling......
You're right, Pitter.
We say "reality" for reality show?
It's a way to increase the vocabulary.
Another important feature of English is the ability to make a noun into a verb:
"The President helicoptered to Camp David."
Well, fbaezer, but that can be done in all Germanic languages! (It's called "nominasation" in German.)
Fbaezer, neither boomerang, nor complot are genuine English words. The first one was borrowed from Australian aborigines' language, the second is French in origin...
Below is a link to a webside, which gives an enormous information about from which languages words come:
Words Borrowed from Other Languages
steissd, I was refering to the Spanish capability of "castillianizing" words from any other language.
Well, I came in a bit late, however I found this thread most interesting. I do not see anything wrong with languages borrowing from other languages, it has been happening ever since languages existed, mostly among 'neighbors'. However when this borrowing becomes a matter of urgency, of some 'fashion', it indicates something's not right with the society. I come from Eastern Europe and had witnessed the change the languages there underwent in the past twelve or so years. The Euro-optimists would go out of their way to insert 'internationalisms' as they are commonly referred to into every single sentence. The nationalist 'purists' were equally ridiculous, attempting to slovakize the slovak, hungarianize the hungarian, etc. They had to invent words for things we had no names for (e.g. computer became a 'calculating machine', and such). (Here I can't but insert a little fact that the work 'robot' comes from the Czech language. Invented by Czech writer Karel Čapek on the basis of the word 'robota' - work. It pleases us, members of tiny nations when something catches on). But other than the two extremes, just like spanish 'castillianize', we 'slovakize' new internationalisms into slovak gradually, czechs 'czechizise' them (or whatnot), slovenes 'slovenize' them. it makes life interesting and entertaining.
Today the verb chatear was officially approved for the Panhispanic dictionary. It means: "to chat with written words and icons in real time, through the internet".
Oddly enough, the only representative who disagreed was from the North American Academy of Spanish Language.
fbaezeer, I agree with you.
English has incorporated a high percentage of German and French words. I don't know what that percentage is. but I would guess at least 50%.
And, now, there's a concern about a "reverse flow?" of English to those same countries?" English is a dynamic language -- ever changing, adding, dropping, evolving. I believe, but can't find a source, that English has the largest vocabulary of any language.
Remember, that after the battle of Hastings 1066ad, the influence of French royalty destroyed all, good anglo-saxon terms for bodily functions and names of foods. F--------- became intercourse, s---- became excrement, c----- became penus, p-------- became urinating, etc. In addition, the anglos stopped eating cows. They raised cows, but ate beef, raised sheep, but ate mutton, killed deer, but ate venison. Now, if that isn't a shame, turning perfectly fine 4 letter words into fancy pants words, I don't know what is.
The negative words used to describe this influence of English are amusing -- penetration, pollution, corrupting. That rotten old English!
It's a good thread. Very enjoyable.
**** derives from a low Dutch word meaning to stab
**** does derive from a germanic source.
Cock is derived from an idiomatic anglo-saxon usage.
Piss derives from a French verb.
You explanation is rather facile, going futher, for example, venison is from a latin source.
In discussing a topic such as linguistic derivation, it is useful not to base one's thinking upon dubious concepts of political repression.
There is an interesting web site at
that has a lot of articles about the British view of English as used internationaly. It has many interesting pages about the language, the meaning and use of phrases
Regardless of the derivation of ****,****, cock, piss, they were functioning words in England during the Norman invasion. The linguistic impact of that invasion is well known. as this brief account makes clear:
The Norman French in 1066 differed more strikingly linguistically as well as culturally from the Anglo Saxons than did the Danish conquerors of a few centuries earlier. Unlike the situation with the Norse invasions, the Normans looked upon the conquered Anglo-Saxons as social inferiors. French became the language of the upper class; Anglo-Saxon of the lower class.
As a result, after the Norman invasion, many Anglo Saxon words narrowed in meaning to describe only the cruder, dirtier aspects of life. Concepts associated with culture, fine living and abstract learning tended to be described by new Norman words. Thus, many new doublets appeared in English that were stylistically marked: cow/beef, calf/veal, swine/pork, sheep/mutton, deer/venison, sweat/perspire. Compare Anglo-Saxon work, hard, to Norman French leisure and profit. (In contrast, Norse/Anglo-Saxon doublets like raise/rear, etc., were stylistically neutral, since both peoples held an equal social position.)
Consequently, the Norman invasion initiated a vast borrowing of Latin-based words into English. Entire vocabularies were borrowed from Norman French:
1) governmental: count, heraldry, fine, noble, parliament.
2) military: battle, ally, alliance, ensign, admiral, navy, aid, gallant, march, enemy, escape, peace, war (cf. guerilla).
3) judicial system: judge, jury, plaintiff, justice, court, suit, defendant, crime, felony, murder, petty/petit, attorney, marriage (Anglo-Saxon wedding), heir.
4) ecclesiastical: clergy, altar, miracle, preach, pray, sermon, virgin, saint, friar/frere.
5) cuisine: sauce, boil, filet, soup, pastry, fry, roast, toast.
6) new personal names: John, Mary (Biblical Hebrew and Greek names) and Norman French (Charles, Richard)
As Anglo-Saxon and the Norman French gradually merged throughout the later Middle Ages and the Normans and Anglo-Saxons became one society, the speakers of English tried to effect some linguistic reconciliation between the older Anglo-Saxon words and the newer Norman French words. Many modern English phrases and sayings still include a word from Norman French alongside a synonymous Anglo-Saxon: law and order, lord and master, love and cherish, ways and means. These doublet phrases capture this attempt to please everybody who might need to be pleased.
The Norman French influence was so extensive that even the grammar of English was affected.
Russians have adopted English words mainly in fields of computing and business: the words manager, broker, dealer, leasing, provider, distributor, logistics, public relations, computer, file, disk, floppy, server and some others sound the same in both languages.
In Hebrew borrowing was random: the word f**k in the military slang means soldier's trespass, kitbag means the same thing as in English, after means a brief leave of a soldier (usually non-combattant) after the end of his working day, breaks, exhaust, clutch, tape, relevant mean the same as in English.
An article fifty years ago said that a new word was in the Italian dictionary, acquired from American GIs.
It was synonymous with "ciao", it was spelled "tegedizi" and pronounced just as it was spelled.
I wonder if it's still extant.
Never heard it, in years.
I'm going to go for a ride on my vespa and think about this. I hope I can evade the paparazzi.
I might even smoke a cigarette while contemplating my feelings on this.