We Indians are well aware that our colonial history has lent itself to a hangover that we have still not gotten over. Yes, the English language. However, did we realize that it’s not only English that we use our everyday lives.
According to Dictionary.com, if you open up an English dictionary, approximately 80 percent of the words inside were originally borrowed from another language. Latin and French are the most important sources of loanwords. These ‘loanwords’ have been incorporated into the English language mainstream, so much so, that many at times we don’t even know that the word we are using has been borrowed from another language. Read on to find out!
First thought: FB event invitations. We see them used abundantly. But did we pause for a moment before we hit the yes/maybe/no buttons to think what its expansion could actually be? It is Répondez s'il vous plaît, that literally translates to "Reply if you please"
When we want to classify anything, this word comes to our rescue quite naturally. Borrowed from French, le genre refers to type or kind.
8. CurriculumVitae (CV)
Sometimes used interchangeably with its French counterpart résumé, curriculum vitae is a Latin word so commonly used in the recruitment world in its abbreviated form.
7. Et cetera (etc.)
When we fall short of words, we usually pick this as a filler to complete a list. Again, a Latin word that means ‘and all’.
As you are reading this, you could be called tech-savvy, which means ‘to know’ in Spanish.
Yes, did you notice the ‘t’ in the second part of the word. It is no garden, for heaven’s sake, as is often pronounced as. In German, Kindergarten refers to a school for very young children. Our idea of a play school!
This usually suffixes itself to a number of small-time malls of the past. Spencer’s Plaza, Prince Plaza and the like. Of Spanish origin, it refers to a public square or similar open area in a town or city.
A done and dusted word used extensively in newsroom circles, irony is borrowed from Greek and means feigned ignorance.
One of the ingredients on festive days or special occasions, Tofu is a Japanese derivative that comes from Chinese Mandarin. No one would have ever thought about its origins before feasting on this calorific delicacy.
The blandest adjective that we use as a filler ever , comes to us from the Old French “verai,” which means “true, truthful, sincere; right, just, legal.”
Now wonder then, Guy Deutscher, a linguist, has rightly compared language to a reef. It is constantly growing, borrowing, changing, living—but we only notice the new additions on top. So each time you believe you are speaking English, think again!