A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word adopted from one language (the donor language) and incorporated into another language without translation. This is in contrast to cognates, which are words in two or more languages that are similar because they share an etymological origin, and calques, which involve translation.
A loanword is distinguished from a calque (or loan translation), which is a word or phrase whose meaning or idiom is adopted from another language by word-for-word translation into existing words or word-forming roots of the recipient language.
Examples of loanwords in the English language include café (from French café, which literally means "coffee"), bazaar (from Persian bāzār, which means "market"), and kindergarten (from German Kindergarten, which literally means "children's garden").
In a bit of heterological irony, the word calque is an importation from the French noun, derived from the verb calquer (to trace, to copy); the word loanword is a calque of the German word Lehnwort; and the phrase "loan translation" is a calque of the German Lehnübersetzung.
Strictly speaking, the term loanword conflicts with the ordinary meaning of loan in that something is taken from the donor language without it being something that is possible to return.
The terms substrate and superstrate are often used when two languages interact. (However, the meaning of these terms is reasonably well-defined only in second language acquisition or language replacement events, when the native speakers of a certain source language (the substrate) are somehow compelled to abandon it for another target language (the superstrate).
The studies by Werner Betz (1949, 1939), Einar Haugen (1950, also 1956), and Uriel Weinreich (1953) are regarded as the classical theoretical works on loan influence. The basic theoretical statements all take Betz's nomenclature as their starting point. Duckworth (1977) enlarges Betz's scheme by the type “partial substitution” and supplements the system with English terms. A schematic illustration of these classifications is given below.
The expression "foreign word" used in the illustration below is, however, an incorrect translation of the German term Fremdwort, which refers to loanwords whose pronunciation, spelling, and possible inflection or gender have not yet been so much adapted to the new language that they cease to feel foreign. Such a separation of loanwords into two distinct categories is not used by linguists in English in talking about any language. In addition, basing such a separation mainly on spelling as described in the illustration is (or, in fact, was) not usually done except by German linguists and only when talking about German and sometimes other languages that tend to adapt foreign spellings, which is rare in English unless the word has been in wide use for a very long time.
According to the linguist Suzanne Kemmer, the expression "foreign word" can be defined as follows in English: "[W]hen most speakers do not know the word and if they hear it think it is from another language, the word can be called a foreign word. There are many foreign words and phrases used in English such as bon vivant (French), mutatis mutandis (Latin), and Schadenfreude (German)." This is however not how the term is (incorrectly) used in this illustration:
On the basis of an importation-substitution distinction, Haugen (1950: 214f.) distinguishes three basic groups of borrowings: “(1) Loanwords show morphemic importation without substitution.... (2) Loanblends show morphemic substitution as well as importation.... (3) Loanshifts show morphemic substitution without importation”. Haugen later refined (1956) his model in a review of Gneuss's (1955) book on Old English loan coinages, whose classification, in turn, is the one by Betz (1949) again.
Weinreich (1953: 47ff.) differentiates between two mechanisms of lexical interference, namely those initiated by simple words and those initiated by compound words and phrases. Weinreich (1953: 47) defines simple words “from the point of view of the bilinguals who perform the transfer, rather than that of the descriptive linguist. Accordingly, the category ‘simple’ words also includes compounds that are transferred in unanalysed form”. After this general classification, Weinreich then resorts to Betz's (1949) terminology.
Popular loanwords are transmitted orally. Learned loanwords are first used in written language, often for scholarly, scientific, or literary purposes.
The English language has borrowed many words from other cultures or languages. For examples, see Lists of English words by country or language of origin and Anglicization.
Some English loanwords remain relatively faithful to the donor language's phonology even though a particular phoneme might not exist or have contrastive status in English. For example, the Hawaiian word ʻaʻā is used by geologists to specify lava that is relatively thick, chunky, and rough. The Hawaiian spelling indicates the two glottal stops in the word, but the English pronunciation, /ˈɑː(ʔ)ɑː/, contains at most one. In addition, the English spelling usually removes the ʻokina and macron diacritics.
The majority of English affixes, such as un-, -ing, and -ly, were present in older forms in Old English. However, a few English affixes are borrowed. For example, the English verbal suffix -ize (American English) or ise (British English) comes from Greek -ιζειν (-izein) via Latin -izare.
During more than 600 years of the Ottoman Empire, the literary and administrative language of the empire was Turkish, with many Persian, and Arabic loanwords, called Ottoman Turkish, considerably differing from the everyday spoken Turkish of the time. Many such words were exported to other languages of the empire, such as Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Greek, Hungarian, Ladino, Macedonian, Montenegrin and Serbian. After the empire fell after World War I and the Republic of Turkey was founded, the Turkish language underwent an extensive language reform led by the newly founded Turkish Language Association, during which many adopted words were replaced with new formations derived from Turkic roots. That was part of the ongoing cultural reform of the time, in turn a part in the broader framework of Atatürk's Reforms, which also included the introduction of the new Turkish alphabet.
Turkish also has taken many words from French, such as pantolon for trousers (from French pantalon) and komik for funny (from French comique), most of them pronounced very similarly. Word usage in modern Turkey has acquired a political tinge: right-wing publications tend to use more Arabic or Persian originated words, left-wing ones use more adopted from European languages, while centrist ones use more native Turkish root words.
Almost 350 years of Dutch presence in what is now Indonesia have left significant linguistic traces. Though very few Indonesians have a fluent knowledge of Dutch, the Indonesian language inherited many words from Dutch, both in words for everyday life (e.g., buncis from Dutch boontjes for (green) beans) and as well in administrative, scientific or technological terminology (e.g., kantor from Dutch kantoor for office). One scholar argues that roughly 20% of Indonesian words can be traced back to Dutch words.
In the late 17th century, the Dutch Republic had a leading position in shipbuilding. Czar Peter the Great, eager to improve his navy, studied shipbuilding in Zaandam and Amsterdam. Many Dutch naval terms have been incorporated in the Russian vocabulary, such as бра́мсель (brámselʹ) from Dutch bramzeil for the topgallant sail, домкра́т (domkrát) from Dutch dommekracht for jack, and матро́с (matrós) from Dutch matroos for sailor.
A large percentage of the lexicon of Romance languages, themselves descended from Vulgar Latin, consists of loanwords (later learned or scholarly borrowings) from Latin. These words can be distinguished by lack of typical sound changes and other transformations found in descended words, or by meanings taken directly from Classical or Ecclesiastical Latin that did not evolve or change over time as expected; in addition, there are also semi-learned terms which were adapted partially to the Romance language's character. Latin borrowings can be known by several names in Romance languages: in Spanish, for example, they are usually referred to as "cultismos", and in Italian as "latinismi".
Latin is usually the most common source of loanwords in these languages, such as in Italian, Spanish, French, etc., and in some cases the total number of loans may even outnumber inherited terms (although the learned borrowings are less often used in common speech, with the most common vocabulary being of inherited, orally transmitted origin from Vulgar Latin). This has led to many cases of etymological doublets in these languages.
For most Romance languages, these loans were initiated by scholars, clergy, or other learned people and occurred in Medieval times, peaking in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance era- in Italian, the 14th century had the highest number of loans. In the case of Romanian, the language underwent a "re-Latinization" process later than the others (see Romanian lexis, Romanian language § French, Italian, and English loanwords), in the 18th and 19th centuries, partially using French and Italian words (many of these themselves being earlier borrowings from Latin) as intermediaries, in an effort to modernize the language, often adding concepts that did not exist until then, or replacing words of other origins. These common borrowings and features also essentially serve to raise mutual intelligibility of the Romance languages, particularly in academic/scholarly, literary, technical, and scientific domains. Many of these same words are also found in English (through its numerous borrowings from Latin and French) and other European languages.
In addition to Latin loanwords, many words of Ancient Greek origin were also borrowed into Romance languages, often in part through scholarly Latin intermediates, and these also often pertained to academic, scientific, literary, and technical topics. Furthermore, to a lesser extent, Romance languages borrowed from a variety of other languages; in particular English has become an important source in more recent times. Study of the origin of these words and their function and context within the language can illuminate some important aspects and characteristics of the language, and can reveal insights on the general phenomenon of lexical borrowing in linguistics as a method of enriching a language.
According to Hans Henrich Hock and Brian Joseph, "languages and dialects ... do not exist in a vacuum": there is always linguistic contact between groups. The contact influences what loanwords are integrated into the lexicon and which certain words are chosen over others.
In some cases, the original meaning shifts considerably through unexpected logical leaps. The English word Viking became Japanese バイキング (baikingu), meaning "buffet", because the first restaurant in Japan to offer buffet-style meals, inspired by the Nordic smörgåsbord, was opened in 1958 by the Imperial Hotel under the name "Viking". The German word Kachel, meaning "tile", became the Dutch word kachel meaning "stove", as a shortening of kacheloven, from German Kachelofen, a cocklestove.
Linguistic 'borrowing' is really nothing but imitation.
Bāb (باب) is an Arabic word for gateway, also found as a loanword in Persian and Ottoman Turkish. Commonly used names of several gateways built throughout the centuries in Arabic or Persianate societies start with "Bab", such as the Babs of Cairo and those of Marrakech.Calque
In linguistics, a calque or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word or root-for-root translation. Used as a verb, "to calque" means to borrow a word or phrase from another language while translating its components, so as to create a new lexeme in the target language.
"Calque" itself is a loanword from the French noun calque ("tracing; imitation; close copy"); the verb calquer means "to trace; to copy, to imitate closely"; papier calque is "tracing paper". The word "loanword" is itself a calque of the German word Lehnwort, just as "loan translation" is a calque of Lehnübersetzung.Proving that a word is a calque sometimes requires more documentation than does an untranslated loanword because, in some cases, a similar phrase might have arisen in both languages independently. This is less likely to be the case when the grammar of the proposed calque is quite different from that of the borrowing language, or when the calque contains less obvious imagery.
Calquing is distinct from phono-semantic matching. While calquing includes semantic translation, it does not consist of phonetic matching (i.e. retaining the approximate sound of the borrowed word through matching it with a similar-sounding pre-existing word or morpheme in the target language).Catkin
A catkin or ament is a slim, cylindrical flower cluster (a spike), with inconspicuous or no petals, usually wind-pollinated (anemophilous) but sometimes insect-pollinated (as in Salix). They contain many, usually unisexual flowers, arranged closely along a central stem which is often drooping. They are found in many plant families, including Betulaceae, Fagaceae, Moraceae, and Salicaceae. For some time, they were believed to be a key synapomorphy among the proposed Hamamelididae, also known as Amentiferae (i.e., literally plants bearing aments). Based on molecular phylogeny work, it is now believed that Hamamelididae is a polyphyletic group. This suggests that the catkin flower arrangement has arisen at least twice independently by convergent evolution, in Fagales and in Salicaceae. Such a convergent evolution raises questions about what the ancestral inflorescence characters might be and how catkins did evolve in these two lineages.
In many of these plants, only the male flowers form catkins, and the female flowers are single (hazel, oak), a cone (alder) or other types (mulberry). In other plants (such as poplar) both male and female flowers are borne in catkins.
Catkin-bearing plants include many other trees or shrubs such as birch, willow, hickory, sweet chestnut and sweetfern (Comptonia).
The word catkin is a loanword from the Middle Dutch katteken, meaning "kitten" (compare also German Kätzchen). This name is due either to the resemblance of the lengthy sorts of catkins to a kitten's tail, or to the fine fur found on some catkins. Ament is from the Latin amentum, meaning "thong" or "strap".Circa
Circa (from Latin, meaning 'around, about, roughly, approximately') – frequently abbreviated c., ca. or ca and less frequently circ. or cca. – signifies "approximately" in several European languages and as a loanword in English, usually in reference to a date. Circa is widely used in historical writing when the dates of events are not accurately known.
When used in date ranges, circa is applied before each approximate date, while dates without circa immediately preceding them are generally assumed to be known with certainty.
1732–1799: Both years are known precisely.
c. 1732 – 1799: The beginning year is approximate; the end year is known precisely.
1732 – c. 1799: The beginning year is known precisely ; the end year is approximate.
c. 1732 – c. 1799: Both years are approximate.Coccus
A coccus (plural cocci) is any bacterium or archaeon that has a spherical, ovoid, or generally round shape. It is one of the three distinct bacterial shapes, the other two being bacillus (rod-shaped) and spiral-shaped cells.
Cocci is an English loanword of a modern or neo-Latin noun, which in turn stems from the Greek masculine noun cóccos (κόκκος) meaning "berry".English words of Greek origin
The Greek language has contributed to the English vocabulary in five main ways:
vernacular borrowings, transmitted orally through Vulgar Latin directly into Old English, e.g., 'butter' (Old English butere from Latin butyrum < βούτυρον), or through French, e.g., 'ochre'.
learned borrowings from classical Greek texts, e.g., 'physics' (< Latin physica < Greek τὰ φυσικά);
a few borrowings via Arabic scientific and philosophical writing, e.g., 'alchemy' (< χημεία);
coinages in post-classical Latin or modern languages using classical Greek roots, e.g., 'telephone' (< τῆλε + φωνή) or a mixture of Greek and other roots, e.g., 'television' (< Greek τῆλε + English 'vision' < Latin visio); these are often shared among the modern European languages, including Modern Greek;
direct borrowings from Modern Greek, e.g., bouzouki.The post-classical coinages are by far the most numerous of these.Frentera
A frentera is a part of some halters and bridles, usually on a horse. It is a cord, strap, or chain on the face of the horse that is attached to the crownpiece or browband and runs down the horse's face to the noseband or bit rings. A frentera can be split at the top to pass on either side of the forelock, or on either side of the ears. In the latter case, the frentera usually substitutes for a browband. A frentera can also be split at the bottom into two or more parts to support and stabilize a heavy noseband or bit.
The known history of the frentera dates back to Ancient Greece, possibly earlier, and the frentera is in use today in Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. When it includes a disk or sheet of metal, often silver, it is known in English as a testera (Spanish loanword), chamfron (French loanword), or faceplate.
Equipment with a similar purpose of stabilizing a bit or noseband include the forelock hanger (North America), bit lifter (Australia), and cheekers (Australia). The frentera is not to be confused with a similar appearing piece of tack, the overcheck.Hong Kong Cantonese
Hong Kong Cantonese (Chinese: 香港粵語) is a dialect of the Cantonese language commonly spoken in Hong Kong, as well as Macau. Although the Hong Kong people largely identify this variant of Chinese with the term "Cantonese" (廣東話), a variety of publications in Mainland China describe the variant as Hong Kong speech (香港話).
There are slight differences between the pronunciation used in Hong Kong Cantonese and that of the Cantonese spoken in the neighbouring Chinese province of Guangdong, where Cantonese (based on the Guangzhou dialect) is a main lingua franca.
Over the years, Hong Kong Cantonese has also absorbed foreign terminology and developed a large set of Hong Kong-specific terms. These differences from the Guangzhou dialect are the result of British rule between 1841 and 1997, as well as the closure of the Hong Kong–China border immediately after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949.Mukim
A mukim is a type of administrative division used in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The word mukim is loanword in English. However, it was also originally a loanword in Malay from the Arabic word: مقيم (means resident). The closest English translation for mukim is precinct, commune, ward or parish.Mummu
Mummu is a Mesopotamian deity. His name is an Akkadian loanword from Sumerian "umun", which translates as "main body, bulk, life-giving force" and "knowledge" as the active part in contrary to the more lethargical primordial forces Tiamat and Apsu (Sumerian Abzu).
He appeared in the Babylonian creation myth, the Enuma Elish as the vizier of the primeval gods Apsû, the fresh water, and Tiamat, the salt water. and sometimes referred to as their son. Towards the middle of Enuma Elish, Ea locks Mummu and Apsu away. Mummu is also one of the names given to Marduk, the ultimate victor over Tiamat.
Mummu is a craftsman, the personification of practical knowledge and technical skill. As the third of the primordial gods, Mummu symbolizes the mental world, the logos.The word mummu appears also in the Sumerian myth of Zu where Imdugud, whose name is translated as 'flashing wind', steals the Tablets of Destiny but in turn is defeated by Ningirsu. In their battle an arrow in midair is ordered to return to its 'mummu', which in this case meant the shaft's return to the living reed from which it was cut, the guts return to the animal's rump and finally the feathers to the bird's wings. Therefore, in a larger magnitude, mummu is detransformation, the return to chaos, demanifacturing.Oblast
An oblast (UK: , US: ) is a type of administrative division of Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, and the former Soviet Union and Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Official terms in successor states of the Soviet Union differ, but some still use a cognate of the Russian term, e.g., voblast (voblasts, voblasts', [ˈvobɫasʲtsʲ]) is used for regions of Belarus, and oblys (plural: oblystar) for regions of Kazakhstan.
The word "oblast" is a loanword in English, but it is, nevertheless, often translated as "area", "zone", "province", or "region". The last translation may lead to confusion, because "raion" may be used for other kinds of administrative subdivision, which may be translated as "region", "district", or "county" depending on the context.Okrug
Okrug (Bulgarian: окръг, okrǎg; Russian: о́круг; Serbian: округ, IPA: [ôkruːɡ]; Ukrainian: окру́га, okruha; Belarusian: акруга, Akruha; Polish: okręg; Abkhazian: оқрҿс; Meadow Mari: йырвел, jyrvel) is an administrative division of some Slavic states. The word "okrug" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "district", or "region".
Etymologically, "okrug" literally means circuit. In meaning, the word is similar to the German term Bezirk ("district") and the French word Arrondissement; all of which refer to something "encircled" or "surrounded".Panzer
The word Panzer (German pronunciation: [ˈpantsɐ] (listen)) is a German word that means "armour" or specifically "tank". It is occasionally used in English and some other languages as a loanword in the context of the German military.
It is mostly used in the proper names of military formations (Panzerdivision, 4th Panzer Army, etc.), and in the proper names of tanks, such as Panzer IV, etc.
The dated German term is Panzerkampfwagen, "tank" or "armoured combat vehicle". The modern commonly used synonym is Kampfpanzer, or Panzer. The first German tank, the A7V of 1918, was referred to as Sturmpanzerwagen (roughly, "armoured assault vehicle").
The German word Panzer refers to any kind of armour. It derives through the French word pancier, "breastplate", from Latin pantex, "belly", "paunch", and is possibly related to panus, "swelling".Papoose
A papoose (from the Algonquian papoos, meaning "child") is an American English loanword whose present meaning is "a Native American child" (regardless of tribe) or, even more generally, any child, usually used as a term of endearment, often in the context of the child's mother. The word came originally from the Narragansett tribe. In 1643, Roger Williams recorded the word in his A Key Into the Language of America, helping to popularize it.Pestil
Pestil, a Turkish word meaning dried fruit pulp, is best exemplified in the English term "fruit leather." Fruit leather is made from mechanically pulverizing fruit, then spreading it out to dry into a tough, yet flexible and edible material which can be kept preserved for several months in an airtight container. Pestil is an Armenian loanword from pastel. In Greek it is called pastilos. In some regions of Turkey, including the southeastern city of Urfa, this fruit dessert is also called bastık.Polack
In the contemporary English language, the nouns Polack ( and ) or Polak are ethnic slurs and derogatory references to a person of Polish descent. It is an Anglicisation of the Polish masculine noun Polak, which denotes a Polish male or a person of Polish ethnicity and unspecified gender. However, the English loanword is considered now an ethnic slur and therefore considered insulting in nearly all contemporary usages.Schnapps
Schnapps ( or ) or schnaps is a type of alcoholic beverage that may take several forms, including distilled fruit brandies, herbal liqueurs, infusions, and "flavored liqueurs" made by adding fruit syrups, spices, or artificial flavorings to neutral grain spirits.
The English loanword "schnapps" is derived from the colloquial German word Schnaps [ʃnaps] (listen) (plural: Schnäpse) which is used in reference to spirit drinks. The word Schnaps stems from Low German language and is related to the German term "schnappen", which refers to the fact that the spirit or liquor drink is usually consumed in a quick slug from a small glass (i.e., a shot glass). In British English, a corresponding term is "dram" [of liquor].Ziyuan (book)
The Ziyuan (Chinese: 字苑; pinyin: Zìyuàn; Wade–Giles: Tzu-yüan; literally: 'Character Garden'; or "Essays on Chinese Characters") was a Chinese dictionary attributed to the Eastern Jin Dynasty scholar Ge Hong. The original text was lost, and the small modern Ziyuan recension has 34 headwords, mostly Chinese Buddhist loanword terminology.
The Ziyuan is notable for having the first occurrence of the Chinese borrowing ta (塔; tǎ; t'a; "tower; pagoda"). Feng (2004:205) classifies ta as a "monosyllabic phonemic loanword," and notes:
塔/ta/=浮屠/futu/=浮图/futu/=佛图/futu/=数斗波/shudoupo/=兜婆/doupo/：Buddhist tower: "塔,佛堂也 [The ta is Buddhist tower]" (字苑), "作九层浮图 To build the Buddhist tower with nine levels" (水经注), "塔亦胡言, 犹宗庙也. [ta comes from languages of Hu nationalities, it means tower.]" (魏书). It was borrowed from buddhastupa of Sanskrit. The process of pronunciation change is as follows: Buddhastupa stupa tupa t’ap.Über
Über (German pronunciation: [ˈyːbɐ] (listen), sometimes written uber in English-language publications) is a German language word meaning "over", "above" or "across". It is an etymological twin with German ober, and is cognate (through Proto-Germanic) with English over, Dutch over, Swedish över and Icelandic yfir, among other Germanic languages; it is distantly cognate to Sanskrit word upari and Hindi uper (both meaning 'above', 'over' or 'up') probably through Proto-Indo-European. The word is relatively well-known within Anglophone communities due to its occasional use as a hyphenated prefix in informal English, usually for emphasis. The German word is properly spelled with an umlaut, while the spelling of the English loanword varies.