31 October 2016

Loan Words

A loan word (also loanword or loan-word) is a word adopted from one language into a different language without translation.

In English we use the French café to mean a small restaurant selling light meals and drinks (from French café, which literally means "coffee").

The Persian bāzār, meaning a market, is also a loan word to English.

Many words are loaned from Latin. Modus Operandi  refers to someone’s habits or method of operating. It is heard most commonly in police investigations to to describe someone’s criminal profile and is usually abbreviated to "MO."

A number of legal and business terms are taken from Latin but have found their way into common usage. Mea culpa (my own fault) is used by a person who is admitting guilt or blame. Quid pro quo (literally, "something for something") is often used in negotiations . The idiom "You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours," is a variation on this.

"Loan" itself is a bit of an odd choice of a word to describe this language  transfer since the ordinary meaning of loan is something borrowed that will be returned. No returns on these words

From German, we borrowed "kindergarten" (children's garden) for that first year of school that was once a kind of pre-school where play and socialization was originally emphasized.

Foods offer many examples of loan words as we borrow dishes from other cultures. The Spanish taco, burrito and the rest of a Mexican restaurants menu are examples.

If you want to dig deeper into this linguistically, you will find that a loanvword is distinguished from a calque (loan translation), which is a word or phrase whose meaning or idiom is adopted from another language by translation into existing words or word-forming roots of the recipient language.

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