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  1. #1
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    Question Language - What's the name ???

    Is there a name for foreign words that make their way into common usage in the English language?

    The word sesquipedalian means a word with many syllables - and the word itself is a sesquipedalian. Is there a name for this phenomenon?

  2. #2
    Noego is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Language - What's the name ???

    Hmm a very interesting question. I googled around a bit to find an answer but couldn't find it. Hopefully someone else knows about this as I'd really like to know.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Language - What's the name ???

    Me too- I heard 'Stephen Byers' as Cockney rhyming slang for 'liars', which ahs a similar appropriacy, but I don't know the term for it.

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    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Language - What's the name ???

    hi!

    If you refer to the coining of new words and phrases in a language, this phenomenon is called "neologization." Such is the verb "to underwhelm" (as opposed to "to overwhelm", a Middle-English word), not so new actually -coined in the 1940s by a bunch of people- but rarely used, odd. Other even more weird examples you can find on merriam webster (I'm a regular visitor there), that has even given out a dictionary of neologisms, and encourages this trend by organizing yearly contests (known as "the national spelling bee") on newly-coined words and phrases.
    A 13-year-old Katharine "Kerry" Close of Spring Lake, N.J., who spelled ursprache—a word meaning "a parent language, especially one reconstructed from the evidence of later languages"—won last years's contest.
    Check out:

    Merriam-Webster Online
    Merriam-Webster Online

    /bianca
    Last edited by bianca; 29-Apr-2007 at 22:16.

  5. #5
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Language - What's the name ???

    Quote Originally Posted by j4mes_bond25 View Post
    Is there a name for foreign words that make their way into common usage in the English language?
    There's are two rather boring and not terribly satisfactory expressions: a borrowing or loan-word. There's a more satisfying word for a neologism coined from native words on the analogy of a foreign word - such as 'almighty' (the Latinate analogue being 'omnipotent'). I know where to find it, and will report back.

    Quote Originally Posted by j4mes_bond25 View Post
    The word sesquipedalian means a word with many syllables - and the word itself is a sesquipedalian. Is there a name for this phenomenon?
    The word "sesquipedalian" is an adjective, and refers to the sesquipes (a latin foot - Foot (prosody) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - that is by definition a foot and a half long). A poet could use a sesquipes in order to fit extra syllables into a line.

    The word "sesquipedalian' is sesquipedalian. The word is self-referential.

    b

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    Default Re: Language - What's the name ???

    Quote Originally Posted by j4mes_bond25 View Post
    The word sesquipedalian means a word with many syllables - and the word itself is a sesquipedalian. Is there a name for this phenomenon?
    An autological word is a word that describes itself; e.g., writable, polysyllabic, unique, finite, unhypenated, adjectival, read, spelled, known, and there are many more examples here.

    Sesquipedalian is also "self-referential"--to borrow Bob's finding--in that it tells us about the word itself, as well as says something about the kind of speaker who uses such lengthy and long-winded words.

    All the best.

  7. #7
    Noego is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Language - What's the name ???

    An autological word is a word that describes itself; e.g., writable, polysyllabic, unique, finite, unhypenated, adjectival, read, spelled, known, and there are many more examples here.
    I think you've nailed it with autological. I think that's the word we were all looking for.

  8. #8
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Language - What's the name ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Noego View Post
    I think you've nailed it with autological. I think that's the word we were all looking for.
    Thanks Casi. My favourite autological word is the Spanish esdrújula, which means a proparoxytone [word stressed on the third-from-last syllable].

    Re borrowed words that mimic the translation of a two(or more)-part analogue in the 'donor'-language; in my previous post I mentioned 'almighty'. The word is "calque", often replaced by the more informative 'loan translation': loan translation: Definition and Much More from Answers.com. The example given in Mugglestone [ed.] The Oxford History of the English Language is the Old English wellwillende ['well-wishing'], formed on the analogy of benevolens [Latin - 'benevolent'].

    Another, going back one step in the story is the Vulgar Latin companione(m) (conventionally, Vulgar Latin words are cited in what classicists would call 'the accusative case', with the final m of the singular in parentheses - as it was nearly always [?always] dropped). This was coined on the analogy of the Celtic ga-hlaiba [meaning "with-bread"]

    b

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    Default Re: Language - What's the name ???

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Thanks Casi. My favourite autological word is the Spanish esdrújula, which means a proparoxytone [word stressed on the third-from-last syllable]
    I'll have to come up with some. Word is my favorite.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK
    Re borrowed words that mimic the translation of a two (or more)-part analogue in the 'donor'-language; in my previous post I mentioned 'almighty'. The word is "calque"
    Right. Superman is the favored example on that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK
    Another, going back one step in the story is the Vulgar Latin companione(m) (conventionally, Vulgar Latin words are cited in what classicists would call 'the accusative case', with the final m of the singular in parentheses - as it was nearly always [?always] dropped). This was coined on the analogy of the Celtic ga-hlaiba [meaning "with-bread"]
    And... you lost me.

    All the best.

  10. #10
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language - What's the name ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    I'll have to come up with some. Word is my favorite.

    Right. Superman is the favored example on that one.

    And... you lost me.

    All the best.
    I left out the final bit of the derivation. The Celtic ga hlaiba meant 'someone you shared bread with'. The speakers of Latin maintained that idea in companione(m). The idea of eating together is vestigial (if it's there at all) in 'companion', 'compagnon', 'compañero' etc.

    b

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