Category Archives: word origins

Loan words – further resources and exercises

At the bottom of this blog is a list of 21 English words that originated in 21 different languages. I think the list originated in ‘The Entrance’ a book wrtitten in about 1989 by Inger Mulbjery and Eva Rosenvold – A book full of English readings and class activities  written to help English teachers with Faroese speaking classes.  You can see much of the book on Google Books.  ISBN 99918-0-120-0.

If you want computer based exercises try:http://www.funtrivia.com/quizzes/humanities/english/borrowed_words_and_phrases.html

If you want to create your own list/exercise start with: KryssTal’s website   http://www.oocities.org/thetropics/cabana/8197/borrow.html   This lists loan words by language of origin – it might not be 100% correct, but students arguing is a valuable English exercise.

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak, bamboo, bizarre, boss, canoe, coach, kangaroo, lilac, mattress, mosquito, piano, pyjamas, robot, sauna, silk, tycoon, vodka, whisky, yacht, yoghurt, zebra

anorak- Eskimo, bamboo – Malay, boss- Dutch, canoe- Carib, coach- Hungarian, lilac- Farsi, mattress- Arabic, mosquito- Spanish, sauna- Finnish, yacht- Dutch, yoghurt – Turkish, robot- Czech, pyjamas- Hindi, kangaroo- Aborigine, whisky- Gaelic, bizarre- Basque, piano- Italian, zebra- Swahili, silk- Chinese, vodka- Russian, tycoon- Japanese

Where are they from – my original list

Below is the list of words I usually use when the class starts to complain about English spellings.

As a warmer, list the words in groups on one side of the board and the languages on the other, in pairs, the students guess/decide where groups of words originated from.  Pairs then compare their answers with others.

Getting the exercise ‘right’ is almost meaningless, but using English to negotiate uncertainty, possibility and probability is the true purpose of the task.

No idea!, I haven’t a clue!, Search me!, I’m buggered if I know,; They could be…., They might be…. They are possibly….; I think they are …. I seem to remember that ….. is ….. I’m sure ….. is ……. and so on.

Where are they from?

Manual, manipulate, century, vocal

Democracy, biology, telephone

Shampoo, thug, punch

Algebra, alcohol, orange

Robot

Vodka, tsar

polka

Anger, egg, flat, root, window

Wrath, shirt, ditch

Tax, judge, fashion, art, sculpture

Knife, wife, calf, dwarf

Latin, Greek, Hindi, Arabic, Czech, Russian, Polish (or Hungarian, or Slovak as students may want to claim)

Anger etc., – Norse, Old English, French, Anglo-Saxon

Why is English spelling so complex?

When students start to complain about the complexities of English spelling, and they will, here is a small activity that may help them start to understand some of the reasons.

English has ‘borrowed’ groups of words from many languages over the years, not many of those languages used exactly the same letters that are used in English today.  So not only has someone had to decide how the word should be ‘converted’ from another language, but in the case of some nouns, how the plural should be spelled.

So शैम्पू was transliterated into English as shampoo and the plural is shampoos.

Ask your students to try the dustbin game and for faster finishers or to extend the exercise ask them to decide on the origins of ‘other words’ and or how the plural (or singular) forms are spelled.

http://www.classtools.net/widgets/dustbin_1/F…