Some people might think that learning a foreign language is too difficult, but if you take a closer look at the English language itself you’ll find tons of words and phrases from other countries already exist in our everyday speech!
Here in Britain, we have foreign phrases left, right and centre! We experience déjà vu; we make a bona fide offer and we order food à la carte.
An apprentice could be called a protégé; Shrove Tuesday is otherwise known as Mardi Gras and eating outside is dining al fresco.
You could describe something on trend as à la mode or use the same phrase to ask for ice cream with your food.
If we want to share with somebody, we might say ‘mi casa es su casa’; many of us live in a cul de sac and a social blunder is known as a faux pas.
In France on the other hand, the Academie Français is against their language being anglicised, however a couple of English words have managed to sneak in such as ‘weekend’ and ‘wagon’ (the letter ‘w’ doesn’t really exist in French – ‘west’ translates to ‘ouest’).
And in Spanish, some English words have broken into their language but the sounds and spellings have been changed. Examples are the verb ‘to photocopy’ – fotocopiar, ‘football’ – fútbol and ‘shampoo’ – champú (the word ‘shampoo’ actually originates from Hindi).
This sharing of languages could be due to people from different countries travelling a great deal more than they have ever done before or possibly the increase in business links between countries. Adopting phrases from other countries is just something that is bound to happen eventually, so learning a language maybe isn’t as hard as we originally thought – we know plenty of foreign words already!
Guest article by Annie Smith.
12 July 2010 14:08