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Unit 25. Deja Vu, Angst, Tsunami.

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Foreign Words in English

Unit 25; Part A

Many English words have their origins in other languages. Some of these words are no longer thought of as 'foreign'; for example, bungalow (Hindi origin), caravan (Persian origin), tomato (Spanish origin). Others, however, are still associated with the language they are borrowed from either because they are recent borrowings or because they keep the appearance of a foreign word. This unit looks at the pronunciation of words in this second group.
Some of these words are said with a pronunciation that makes them sound like English words; others may also be said in a way that is close to their pronunciation in the original language (marked * below).

French words used in English
I'm not really au fait with the rules of cricket. /,∂υ'feι/ ( = familiar with)
The negotiations have reached an impasse, with neither side wanting to back down. /'æmpa:s/ or  /'æmpa:s/* ( = a situation where progress is impossible)
The symbol - is put over a vowel when it is pronounced with a nasal sound.
Other examples: faux pas /,f∂υ'pa:/  joie de vivre /3wa:d∂'vi:vr∂/   déjà vu /,deι3a:'vu:/   fait accompli /,feιt∂'kompli:/ or /,fet∂ko:m'pli:/*.
You can find the meaning of these and other foreign words in this unit in the Key.
A number of French words in English are pronounced with a /ã:/ sound:
They show a lot of avant-garde films at the cinema. /,ævã:n'ga:d/ ( = original and modern)
Other examples: carte blanche /,ka:t'blã:nt∫/, entre nous /,antr∂'nu:/ or /,ã:ntr∂'nu:/*, en route /,an'ru:t/ or /,ã:n'ru:t/*, nuance /'nju:a:nts/ or /'nju:ã:ns/*.

Unit 25; Part B

German words used in English
He went through a long period of angst during his teens. /æηkst/ ( = worry and unhappiness about personal problems)
Other examples: doppelgänger /'dорl,gæη/, realpolitik /reι'a:lpolι,ti:k/, wanderlust /'wond∂lΛst/ or /'va:nd∂lust/*.

Unit 25; Part C

Spanish words used in English
She's an aficionado of Spanish literature. /∂,fι∫ι∂n'ad∂u/ or /æ,fιθj∂'na:d∂u/* ( = very interested and enthusiastic about the subject)
Other examples: incommunicado /,ιnk∂,mjuinι'ka:d∂u/, manana /mæn'jain∂/, El Nino (or El Niño) /el'ni:nj∂u/.

Unit 25; Part D

Italian words used in English
He complained that he couldn't go anywhere without being followed by the paparazzi. /,pæpr'ætsi/ ( = photographers who follow famous people to get pictures for newspapers)
Other examples: cognoscente /,konj∂u'∫enti/, prima donna /,pri:ma'don∂/.

Unit 25; Part E

Japanese words used in English
The tsunami killed over a million people. /tsu'na:mi/ or /su'na:mi/ ( = a huge wave)
Other examples: bonsai /'bonsaι/, kimono /kι'm∂υn∂υ/, origami /,orι'ga:mi/.

Unit 25; Part F

Chinese words used in English
He does an hour of t'ai chi every morning. /,taι't∫i:/ ( = a form of exercise originally from China)
Other examples: feng shui /,fen'u:i/ or /,fΛn'wei/*, lychee /,laι't∫i:/, typhoon /tai'fu:n/.

 



Exercises

flag.jpgListen and repeat these foreign words used in English. What language do you think each word comes from: French, Chinese, Italian, German, Japanese or Spanish? If you are not sure, use the examples on the page opposite and try to notice similar spellings or sounds.
Key.

denouement
nouvelle cuisine      
diva
ginseng        
ersatz
schadenfreude       
haiku
sotto voce     
macho
kumquat       
ninja
pront
 
Check your answers in the Key, where you can also find the meaning of the words.
flag.jpgListen and repeat the French words in column A. Then try to match them with the brief definition in column B. Use the example sentences below the table to help you.
Key.25.7.jpg

A
B
1.  bête, noire
2.  cause célèbre
3.  de rigueur
4.  clientele
5.  contretemps
6.  en suite
7.   nom de plume
8.  savoir-fai
re
a  describing something you must have or do to appear fashionable
b  a false name used by a writer
с  an embarrassing small disagreement
d  a person or thing that particularly annoys you or that you dislike
e  being able to do or say the right thing in any situation
f   the customers or clients of a business
g  a controversial event that attracts a lot of public attention
h  describing a connected bathroom and bedroom
25.1.jpg
1    My particular bête noire is people who use mobile phones when they are driving.
2    The trial of the two teenagers became an international cause célèbre.
3    Where I work, smart suits are de rigueur for the women.
4    The restaurant has a clientele that includes film stars and famous sportspeople.
5    There was a contretemps between the neighbours over the fence dividing their gardens.
6    All the rooms in the hotel are en suite.
7    She writes under the nom de plume of Cathy Kay.
8    I really envy him for his savoir-faire.

Check your answers in the Key, then read the sentences aloud, paying particular attention to the pronunciation of the foreign words.

flag.jpgHere are some Russian words used in English. First, try reading them aloud. Then listen and compare your pronunciation with the recording. You can find the meaning of the words in the Key.
Key.25.8.jpg

       glasnost            intelligentsia         politburo        samovar           troika

Follow up: Do you know any (other) words from your first language that are used in English? How does the pronunciation of the words in the first language and in English difer? Check the English pronunciation in a dictionary.

 
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