A Word for Monday – Loanwords! – 13 October 2014

(we apologize for double-posting today – the previous version of the post had some errors, and looking back we realized we’d used the incorrect image for “drinks.”  Sorry!)

Today’s post will feature some words in Slovak that will sound familiar to you, because they are “borrowed” from English!

First off, a word on “borrowing” words – every language does it.  Some languages do it more than others.  In today’s world where cultures interact every moment and communication is instantaneous, in which new ideas and technologies appear daily, word-borrowing is a constant reality.  If someone creates a new word for something specific, it’s easier today for other languages to use THAT word instead of creating their own version.  One fairly recent example is the word “selfie,” which sounds almost the same in many languages around the world (the term actually came from Australia, see this article if you’re interested).

Consider this:  English is one of the biggest “borrowers” among the world’s languages.  Linguists calculate that at least 42% of the words we use everyday in English are borrowed from some other language.  That means almost half the words you’ll use today have their origin somewhere else in the world.  There are easy-to-spot examples like “chandelier” (French), “mosquito” (Spanish) and “kindergarten” (German), and ones you might not suspect – like “joy” (French), “window” (Old Norse), “economy” (Greek) and “ketchup” (probably Chinese).

Read this fascinating article about loanwords (from Boston Globe)


These words are called “loanwords,” and most languages are full of them!  Here are some of our favorite examples of English words that have been adopted by Slovaks:

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