Vani’s Musings


Posted on: June 13, 2007

No, this post has nothing to do with loans, or about the specific loan jargon on the bank documents….yeah, in the broad perspective, it is about how a language itself evolves by borrowing from others .

Loanword (or loan word) is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. By contrast, a calque or loan translation is a related concept whereby it is the meaning or idiom that is borrowed rather than the lexical item itself. The word loanword is itself a calque of the German Lehnwort.  Loanwords can also be called, “borrowings.”

 Words which a language inherits from an ancestral language from which it develops are not borrowed words. Inherited words usually constitute most of the vocabulary of a language. Although loanwords are typically far fewer than the native words of most languages (creoles and pidgins being exceptions), they are often widely known and used, since their borrowing served a certain purpose, for example to provide a name for a new invention. 

Our own “Lingua Franca”, English has many such loan words. Here is a small list of such words that we use in daily conversations. Most of us are unaware of the origins of these words, and it is a curious exercise to find out where these words came from.  

  • absolute, from Middle French, compare modern Fr. Absolu
  • academic (Fr. académique)
  • accusative (Old Fr. accusatif)
  • adieu, which literally means “to God” (à Dieu), farewell
  • advertisement, compare avertissement (warning)
  • affair, from Old French, compare modern Fr. affaire (business)
  • Algorithm  from the name of the Persian scientist Khwarazmi
  • Balcony  from balcone (Italian)
  • Bandicoot, from pandikoku (Telugu)
  • Bother (from bodhar, “deaf” or “to deafen”) To annoy or disturb – Irish
  • Cash: from Sanskrit karsa, a weight of gold or silver but akin to Old Persian karsha-, a weight. a unit of value equivalent to one cash coin.

o                    coffee – disputed; either from the Ethiopian region/Kingdom of Kaffa, where coffee originated, or Arabic kahwa

o                    Chit  from Hindi chitthi “a letter, note”,

o                    Dhole, from tOla (Kannada)

o                    Jack fruit from Chakka, (Malayalam )

o                    jive – possibly from Wolof jev (African Origin)

o                    mamba – from Zulu or Swahili mamba

o                    Mongoose, from mungeesa (Telugu) or mungusi (Kannada)

 o                    wee small, tiny, minute. – Scottish 

These are very few of the enormous collection of loan words in the English language. Just goes on to prove that each language shares a symbiotic relationship with others in the world.

 And yes, before I forget, this is my 50th post.


27 Responses to "LOAN WORDS"

Whew… you are soon getting to be a dictionary of sorts with some difference. Great post!

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!! To all muktha Balagaa…..
(If u already Know this Kindly Regret…)

Vani has started New English(or Kanglish) Tutotials in Bangalore. First it was Daffodils now its Loan Words… So, in future u will find Shakesphere to RK Narayan Kind of articles…

Vani akka kindly let us know more about Ur Tutions…!!!!!!

Eagerly waiting to join……..

Ah! posts, two score and ten,
let the site be filled very often,


Bellur, u wanted English Teacher right? See here… some one has taken it up already.

Vani madam, congratulations on the 50th post. Nimma classes heege namge hosa lessons tandu kodtaa irli.

This is a very good post, educative also.

Mohan….Looks like I am deviating from the original motive of starting to blog….more drawn towards literary activities… 😦

Naren….neeve first student!

TSSM, Thanks……

Srik…teacheramma obbru idaare namm group nalli…saaku…naanu consulting bekaadre madteeni..yenanteera 😉

very informative – -to add to the list – maarukatte –> market ?

@Srik, naavu ond swalpa hushaaraagirbeku kanappa.. yaako MB nalli elru teachers/preachers/professors galu jaasti aagtiddaare

Yaake? Nettage kelsa madakke baralwa Prashanth? Kolu tarla?

koladroo tanni
onakenadroo tanni

no problems onake vanavva 😉

advertisement: compare avertissement (warning)

only cigarette advertisers follow the meaning literally.

really informative. remembered KNOW YOUR ENGLISH that comes in THE HINDOO every tuesday from aeons.

PLZZZ…..!!! No comments on my teacher……

Vani madam, if u get Kolu or Onake i want TC…..?? UR First Student Will not attend… 😦

Is there any halli Meshtru in MB……..


there are few tarle specimens here….onake, kolu yella avre tartare….u need not worry on any account…. 🙂


meshtru illa illi, yella madamgaLe…..!!!

tarle specimens……??? Thanks Madam u hav not categorized me into that….. Lots of Ppl still call me as tharle… Hatss off to Vani madam….

Whokey, Through out my Student life I was Part of Konebenchina Hudugaru…. So, i need place Reserved in Last bench……..

Coming back to lessons…….. I hav 2 doubts….

1.) madamgaLu means Bride… Is it Derived from Bridge…..??

2.) What do they call Onake in English..??

@ destinationsrik……

Artha Aglilla… Aagodu beda bidi….

Nam appa amma helidhare, manushya Eshte dhodavanadru Chikka magu thara irbekanthe………


As long as you address me as “Madam” nange ketta sittu baratte….adanna bittbidi please….

kelavu bala illada mangagaLu illive….avrige yesht heLidru artha aagalla… 😉

MadamgaLu andre Bride antha yaar heLiddu?

ohhhh…… bit sorry it is “Madam-gale”……… i read it as Madumagale…..

Very sorry Mad-am ….. oooops.!!! Teacher……..

then Onake means…. wat in english……

Naren….you seem to be getting influenced by the mangas….. 🙂

And I dont hold the post of teacher in MB….it is reserved already…nammdenidru “visiting faculty”….

Whokey… Now am in fix……… Can any1 help me….. Bellurannna……….!!!!!!

Even though am kone benchna Huduga i never called my faculties by their name(Only Nick Names…)…. Always Sir or MAM….. Now for my new Visiting Faculty… What shall i call… Plzzzz…. Tell me………

loaned words !! I first read the comments and was thinking what the post must be talking bout..
vani, post change maadibidi comments ge suit aagotara!…

amele congrats!!

congrats, putta tungi

what about mullagatawny?

interesting post…

@naren bhaiyya..pestle hidida vani classnallu first benchnalli kudtiraa?

Words stay on in the new language……

ga/(u)ndana manege hosa bride bundhange…

I liked ‘………each language shares a symbiotic relationship with others ….’

ಪ್ರಜಾವಾಣಿ ಹೆಡ್-ಲೈನ್ :

ವಾಣಿ ಅಜೇಯ ಅರ್ಧ ಶತಕ
ಅಭಿನಂದನೆಗಳ ಸುರಿಮಳೆ

congrats on a well made 50!

best wishes


Congratulations Vani on successful blogging

And a very informative post.

CongRats Vani madam on successful Blogging on 50th Blog and Running successfully towards 100th Post!!!!!!!!

@Neela Madam,

Pestle yaake antha gothaglilla… Ealle-adike Kuttoka…?????/ Gothaglilla…

Nam Business nalli pestle analysis antha Idhe. aa Pestle baghe helidhre whokey..

There are thousands of them in English, which are loaned from Indian words. Some of them are recent like karma, nirvana, gyan, jungle, pundit etc.
One I would like to mention is “pedestal” which came from Sanskrit word “ pada sthaLa”

talking about loaned words in English reminds me – several years ago when I was new in US, I heard a person using word “guru” – i said, thats from native Sanskrit – and he said, “can’t be – this has been in English all the time.”

this was a very informative post.. i never knew there was a thing called loan word

Dinakke ondu pada bere ber BhashegaLinda Englishge seruttale irttade.haagaagiye adu beLeyuttide, Kannada yenu kaDime illa, oc.jollyparty, ade ondu prapancha.

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