In this post I am going to introduce you to 10 more words that have been borrowed from other languages and incorporated into English. In the process of borrowing a word from another language sometimes the meaning changes slightly from its meaning in the original language. This is the case with some of the words below, as well as other words I have highlighted in this series of posts on foreign words in English. The study of etymology is the study of the history of words. It is by studying the history of words that linguists are able to determine what words are borrowed from other languages and which have developed in the language over time. If a word was originally borrowed into English, the etymology of the word looks at the borrowing process tracing the word back to when and how it first entered the English language. Tracing a words origin in English can be a long process since some foreign words in English have been around for a long time (for example: words borrowed from Latin) on the other hand other words are newly borrowed (for example: words from Swahili).
Although the words below represent foreign words that have been borrowed from other languages they are all common English words now.
avalanche (Romansch – closely related to French) – a snow slide; a sudden movement of ice and snow down a mountain
For example: After the avalanche the rescue team went out to look for people trapped under the snow.
faux pas (French) – an embarrassing action or statement in a social situation
For example: Talking about how much money you make when you first meet someone is a faux pas.
incognito (Italian) – having one’s true identity concealed; being in disguise
For example: The spy dressed incognito in order to find out the information he needed.
hubris (Greek) – excessive pride or self-confidence
For example: After winning the race Joanna walked around with hubris that made the other competitors upset.
mantra (Sanskrit) – a sound, word, or phrase that is repeated to help with concentration during meditation
Fro example: I practice meditation every morning while repeating the mantra, “Today is my day.”
pro bono (Latin) – something that is for free for the public good
For example: The lawyer took on the pro bono case because the client was unable to pay.
rapport (French) – a close relationship in which people are able to understand each other’s feelings and ideas
For example: Jacob developed good rapport with his boss in a short period of time.
robot (Czech) – a machine that is able to complete actions automatically; a machine that looks like a human being and replicate human functions
For example: I want to learn how to build a robot that will do my homework.
safari (Swahili) – an expedition to observe or hunt for large animals in nature
For example: My father loves to hunt and has always wanted to go on a safari in Africa.
status quo (Latin) – the existing or current state of affairs
For example: The president would like to maintain the status quo after the election.
Here is a quick expertise to help you think about parts of speech and the words above. By reading the example sentences above you should be able to figure out which words are nouns, verbs, adjective or adverbs. Think about this and I will give you the answers tomorrow.