EDUCATIONAL

English Words Of Foreign Origin You Never Knew

borrowed english words from french

English as one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, with over 350 million native speakers worldwide and a further 350 million speakers – as a second or foreign language. The old British Empire rivals most great empires of antiquity in terms of sheer size and dominance over the ancient world, as a result of this, the English language has borrowed, extrapolated and imported some words of foreign origin; usage of this words has become commonplace in modern times (mostly early 18th – 21st century).
Words like zeitgeist, inter alia, and status quo easily comes to mind when speaking of foreign words incorporated into the English language. Most users are already familiar with the words on this list; it may still come as a shock to some, in learning about the non-English origin of it. Without further ado, let’s sink our teeth into some facts.

ADOBE

adobe bricks 1An un-burnt brick dried in the sun (English dictionary). When speaking of Adobe, most youth readers mind wanders to the immensely popular software and smart phone app of the same name. While its importance cannot be overstated, the name suggests a house or structure built of unburned mud or clay. The word has its history from the Sands of Sahara; from the middle Egyptian to mean mud or Sun dried brick, the word was loaned by the Arab as Al-tub (retaining the meaning), and later translated to the old Spanish “adobe” (intact or compact). The word was borrowed in the early 18th century from the Spanish.

…the word was loaned by the Arab as Al-tub (retaining the meaning), and later translated to the old Spanish “adobe”

HORROR

scary faceMerriam Webster dictionary defines the word as: a very strong feeling of fear, dread, and shock. This is one of the most famous/infamous (based on your discretions) word in the English speaking communities (movie industries can attest to that). The word has always maintained its nightmarish denotation amongst the Roman and it remains one of the foreign words not to have undergone much alteration or mutated into a completely different one.

“Horror” means dread, veneration, or religious awe amongst in the Latin dialect; scooped directly into the old French vocabulary, while still retaining its initial pronunciation (around 12 century.). The round allurement of this word was irresistible for the English men — seeing to its addition to their vocabulary in the early 14 century. Still unable to grasp the concept? Try watching ‘The Conjuring 2″ or “SAW” alone, on a cold, dreary night.

“Horror” means dread, veneration, or religious awe amongst in the Latin dialect; scooped directly into the old French vocabulary, while still retaining its initial pronunciation

DANCE

dance group One of the most popular words in the language, the word that has become the crux of entertainment in the modern world. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t understand the meaning, or performed the act once, twice, or numerous times in their lifetime. The word ‘Dance’ has come to mean about the same thing to different people and of differing ideologies — to express happiness or as a form of merriment.

The origin is mirred in controversy; etymologist on one side claims it has no related Indo-European roots, while those on the other side of the divide claim it is actually a loan word from the Latin language. What can be universally agreed, without much kerfuffle amongst the literati is the association with the old French word “dancier”. Due to the immense contribution of the French in arts and society, it has become the primary word for the activity across the continent of Europe.

JUMBO

jumbo A very large person, animal, or thing according to numerous dictionaries or literary work. We have come to associate the word with ‘massiveness’, there’s the jumbo sales, jumbo jet, jumbo deals and so on. What most people don’t know is that the name got acquainted in England, thanks to a pachyderm! Captured as a young calf somewhere in E. Africa in 1860. Jumbo was initially transported to Paris, but was later bought by the London zoo after much persuasion. Here, the elephant grew to an astonishing 12ft while also performing as a circus show-animal. The writer W.P Jolly stated in his book “jumbo” that the name was gotten from the Zulu “jumba” meaning a large packet or parcel. There have been theories disproving Jumbo the elephant as the object who lent his name to the English lexicon, citing a racing manuscript in 1823 where the word, Jumbo, appeared as a reference to a clumsy person.

KINDERGARTEN

kindergartenBroadly mean an educational institution for young children, usually between a certain ages. It is also known as nursery school or preschool in many countries. It is a phase of education that most young children will have to pass through, mostly compulsory, in order to move on to the next stage of their academic careers. Kindergarten has its origin from the German word meaning “kids’ garden” or idea some translation “guarded garden”. The idea was the brainchild of a German educationalist, Friedrich Froebel, who initiated the idea of a garden where children play together, expresses themselves, while also learning. The idea was quickly adopted by most European nations; this has become a standard form of Education in the world since the late 20th century.

Kindergarten has its origin from the German word meaning “kids’ garden” or idea some translation “guarded garden”

ALGEBRA

Algebraic equations and a pencil.This list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of mathematics. One of the most important branches of mathematics — showing the vast intellectual abilities of the ancient world! Algebra is a Latin variant of the Arabic spurred: al-jabr (reunion of broken parts). The name was gotten from a book by the great Persian mathematician — Muhammed al-khwarizmi (algorithm was coined from his name), in his famous book, Hidab al-jabr wal muqabalah, written after the method of Indians; he formalized and commented on ancient Indians and Greek works. The muqabalah was omitted, with the passage of time, and this type of maths became known as algebra in many languages. Interestingly, algebra made its way into the English lexicon through the Moors of Spain and Northern Africa. The name used to mean a bone setter or restorer of bones in the moorish tradition.

Readers are enjoined to give their take on the topic in the comment section below.

Submitted by Elias Babatunde

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elias is a student of FUNAAB, an avid reader with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and the macabre. He can be found engaging in passionate debates in Football, Arts, and latest Techs. You could read his previous post 6 TV Series Everyone must watch

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