Unit 25. Deja Vu, Angst, Tsunami.
Foreign Words in English
|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/*.
|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 /'dор∂l,gæη∂/, realpolitik /reι'a:lpolι,ti:k/, wanderlust /'wond∂lΛst/ or /'va:nd∂lust/*.
|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/.
|Italian words used in English
He complained that he couldn't go anywhere without being followed by the paparazzi. /,pæp∂r'ætsi/ ( = photographers who follow famous people to get pictures for newspapers)
Other examples: cognoscente /,konj∂u'∫enti/, prima donna /,pri:ma'don∂/.
|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/.
|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/.
|Listen 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.
Check your answers in the Key, where you can also find the meaning of the words.
|Listen 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.
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.
|Here 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.
glasnost intelligentsia politburo samovar troika
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