Loanwords are the Milestone of language

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      Words that are borrowed from other languages are Loanwords. No language is entirely pure. There is no nation that has not adopted some loan-words. These loan-words indicate the dates of linguistic changes. They also show us the course of Civilisation and the nature of inventions and institutions. In many cases, they give us valuable information as to the inner life of nations.

The Loanwords inform us of the reciprocal relations of nations and their relative position in culture and other human activities. From such loan-words as piano, soprano, opera, tempo, adagio in modem north European languages, one can conclude that Italian music has played a great role in Europe.

      The Loanwords inform us of the reciprocal relations of nations and their relative position in culture and other human activities. From such loan-words as piano, soprano, opera, tempo, adagio in modem north European languages, one can conclude that Italian music has played a great role in Europe. The presence of so many Greek scientific and technical terms such as telegram, telegraph, clinic, astronomy, chemistry, physics in the vocabulary of all civilised countries shows that Greek science and technology have played great role all over the civilised world. The study of language shows the give and take of words, and things. Foreign words are borrowed even in cases where, it would seem to offer no great difficulty to coin an adequate expression by means of native word-material.

      Jesperson is of opinion that the Loanwords may be called "some of the milestones of general history", because they show us the stages of civilisation in different countries and give us information regarding the cultural and spiritual life of different nations, When two languages are found not to have adopted words from each other, we may safely conclude that the people speaking the two languages did not come into contact with each other. When these loan-words are properly interpreted they will throw a flood of light on the reciprocal relation of these people. The study of loan-words in English may be made with reference to their significance in the history of civilisation.

      The early loan-words from the Latin language are such words as wine, cheap, monger, anchor, punt, etc. The concrete character of the words is evident. It was not Roman philosophy or the higher mental culture that impressed the Germanic forefathers. They adopted practical, material things. They were short words and they became very soon part and parcel of the native language. This is a distinctive feature of the oldest Latin loans as opposed to later strata of loan-words. When, however, Anglo-Saxons were converted into Christianity, they adopted a great many foreign words together with the ideas. But in most cases they utilised the resources of their own language without wholly depending on the foreign words. It is because no Latin-speaking community was in direct intercourse with the English people. They adopted such words as were easily assimilated with the native vocabulary. This is a clear sign of the healthy condition of the language.

      It is correct to say that in spite of the self-sufficient character of the English language, a Scandinavian element, French element and Latin element modified the character of the language as a whole. Through this loan-word test, the spheres of human knowledge and activity in which they taught English can be ascertained. The earliest stratum of Scandinavian loan-words relate to war and Navy. Next, we find a great many Scandinavian law-terms. Many of the loan words are commonplace. We find such nouns as husband, fellow, sky, etc. This reveals no industrial or cultural superiority of the Scandinavians. But this at the same time shows a more intimate fusion of the two nations. The manner in which the English intermingled their own native speech with Scandinavian elements shows that the culture of the Scandinavians was not of a superior order, because in that case, technical terms indicative of this superiority could be seen in the loan-words. The bulk of Scandinavian loan-words are of purely democratic character. Thus the Scandinavian loan-words show reciprocal relations of the English and the Scandinavian settlers.

      On the other hand, the French words introduced in the following centuries represent the rich, the ruling and the refined. The Normans became masters and they greatly influenced English culture. The immigrants formed the upper classes of English society, Words relating to government, law, army, church were borrowed from the French. Large number of French words signifying something pleasant and relating to dress and fashion were taken over into English. The words which are highly significant as to the relations between the Normans and the English such as Sir and Madam, Master and Mistress with their contrast, Servant came to English language. While the names of several animals are English, they appear on the table with French names ( beef, mutton, venison, etc.).

      Jesperson says that this is explained from the masters leaving the care of the living animals to the lower classes, while they did not leave much of the meat to be eaten by them. Thus through the French Loanwords, the relationship between the English and the French is determined. Similarly, the Latin influence as a result of the Renaissance has a peculiar significance. It embodies abstract or scientific words adopted through the medium of writing and never attaining to the same degree of popularity as words belonging to the older strata. The learned Latin and Greek words adopted since the Renaissance are not used and understood by all. Much of it is superfluous.

      The English have come into contact with a great many people and have adopted their words. These borrowings have, however, not modified the character and structure of the language. Yet they indicate the cultural and commercial relations and adaptability of the English language. Thus the English language has freely borrowed from Spanish, Dutch, Arabic, Italian, Hungarian, Indian, etc. at different periods of history. During the renaissance Italian words like artisan, carnival, gondola have come. The words from Spain refer to trade and fight - gaueon, cargo, embargo, esplanade. This indicates the naval relationship.

      In the middle ages, Dutch words entered into English language such as iceberg, yacht, furlough. Arabic words are recognisable in alcohol, alchemy, alcove, sofa, sherbet, Persian words are evident in bazaar, dervish, chess etc. English have taken many words from India. Bhakti, Guru, Nirvana refer to Posophy; Words like sahib, begum, pundit, baboo have been taken over by the English. Common words like coolie, pucca, goonda, gherao are now used by Englishmen. rom the study of the history of English borrowings from other languages, the course of civilisation, the nature of borrowings and the relationship between nations as well as linguistic changes can be understood. So it has been said that the loan-words are the milestones of English language.

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