Foreign Words and Phrases

Topics: English language, Phrase, Longest word in English Pages: 7 (2143 words) Published: April 20, 2011
Foreign Words and Phrases.
Irina Vardanyan

Foreign words and phrases shouldn't become a bête noire, but, ceteris paribus, English sentences should be in English… (Jack Lynch 2008)

Throughout its history, English has been shaped and enriched by words and phrases of French, Scandinavian, Italian, Latin, Greek and German origin. When cultures come into contact with one other, borrowing takes place primarily in the realm of lexical terms (Anderson 1973). As A. I. Smirnitsky points out, a foreign word is a shapeless piece of material, which gains its shape only by means and in the system of the new language (Смирницкий 1954). Many words of foreign origin have been in the English language for so long that they have been freely integrated and can no longer be distinguished from English words and may not trigger a sense of “foreignisms”. However, there are cases, when the word is not assimilated and retains its foreign language spelling, pronunciation as well as foreign language connotation. Such cases are perceived as “organic inclusions” (Смирницкий 1954). Depending on the degree to which the originally “alien” word has been adapted to its new linguistic surroundings, linguists distinguish between foreign words and loanwords. However, the borderline between them is blurred and a concise classification is not always an easy task. In this article the word foreign is used for those borrowed words, which had not been accepted by the English as “part and parcel” of their language, in other words, which had not been naturalized yet (Lindgren 1943:240). The use of foreign words and word combinations in film reviews has direct connection with the peculiarity of the newspaper style. Along with informing the reader about the film, it gains the readers’ attention and makes an impression on him. For this purpose, the reviewer uses some foreign words and phrases in the text being aware of their expressive power. They can be perceived as elegant and educated, and they are likely to show up in the writing of individuals who seek to give a special elevated touch to their work. It is worth mentioning, that this means is more productive when it does not arouse extra difficulties in understanding the whole text. For this purpose, the reporter should take into account both educational and social status of his reader. He should be aware of the background knowledge of his reader, as all the above mentioned is very important for establishing contact with the latter. The use of foreign words and word combinations in the film reviews perform both expressive and informative functions. It is possible to show how the relationship between these two functions is changed depending on the role of foreign words and phrases in the text of film reviews. A comparison of film reviews published at the same period of time on the same film but in newspapers of different social orientation will help to show how the choice between a foreign word and its functional English equivalent depends on the readers’ social and educational status. It should be noted that the use of foreign words is peculiar to the English language. Foreign words form a considerable part in the Englishman's vocabulary and background information. The use of foreign words and word combinations are considered to be marked, as they reveal both the reviewer's and the reader's social status. However, the use of foreign words and phrases is not always socially marked. The admixture of foreign words is one of the distinguishing peculiarities of newspaper style. It should be noted that some foreign words as vanilla, visa, blitz, etc., are so commonly or long used in newspapers in general and film reviews in particular that they have become totally familiar to the reader, and there is no need to print them in italics. On the other hand, a number of loanwords, which are not frequently used, keep their original spelling,...
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