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Home > General > English – a potpourri of languages

English – a potpourri of languages

English has undergone a great transformation by borrowing words from different languages.  This has been brought about by conquests, immigration and by increased globalisation.

Today, English has words from all over the world.  Due to increasing usage as an official language in many parts of the world, the local people have introduced their own colloquial terms and these have now found their way into English.

English words borrowed from other languages :

The Vikings who came to settle in England brought in many words with them:
anger, bleak, fellow, kindle, meek, oaf, reindeer, skirt, troll, wise

The Norman conquest in 1066 brought in many words like:
arher, bacon, chivalry, defeat, elope, embezzle, felony, injury, salmon, venison

The arrival of Christian monks and scientists brought in many Latin words to England:
abdomen, creditor, dictator, dilemma, elevator, fetus, genius, insomnia, nausea, virus

The Greek language provided lot of English words too:
atlas, barbaric, catalyst, charisma, epitaph, dynamic, government, horizon, nostalgia, tyranny

The Spanish contributed with words like:
adios, avocado, barracuda, cannibal, chihuahua, embargo, fillibuster, pimento, salsa, tortilla

French words that are commonly used in English are:
a la carte, avant-garde, bon appetit, bon voyage, bourgeois, bureau, carte blanche, chauffeur, croissant, deja vu, espirit de corps, faux pas, cul-de-sac, laissez faire

Some words from Arabic are:
Admiral, albatross, alfalfa, azure, cipher, divan, gazelle, harem, henna, lilac

Words from Russian in English are:
Cosmonaut, babushka, mammoth, ruble, kalishnikov, borsch, glasnost, perestroika, kefir, tzar

German words which are found in English are:
alzheimer, blitz, dachsund, gesundheit, hamburger, poltergeist, doppelganger, schadenfreude, strudel, rottweiler

Indian words that were adopted in English are:
avatar, bangle, brahmin, bungalow, cheetah, chutney, guru, jungle, pundit, pyjamas

Japanese words that are used in English are:
bonsai, haiku, ikebana, karaoke, manga, origami, kimono, bento, shensei, teriyaki

Some Chinese words that are used in English are:
chopsuey, fengshui, ginseng, gung ho, ketchup, kow tow, kungfu, mahjong, shanghai, tai chi

Italian words that found their way into English are:
artisan, balcony, caricature, dilettante, facade, fresco, grotesque, masquerade, mezzanine, villa

Some English words derived from Dutch words are:
aardvark, bazooka, coleslaw, howitzer, gherkin, poppycock, schooner, filibuster, tulip, knapsack

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Categories: General Tags: , , ,
  1. May 20, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Its nice to know about different word we use and their actual origin..

  2. kranjini
    May 23, 2012 at 3:22 am

    Very informative. Now I know. Good job.

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