Friday, December 4, 2015

Pseudo-Anglicisms: Loanwords English Doesn't Need Back

A great bit of footing.
In the past, we've looked at loanwords that have made their way into English from many different languages, including Russian, Hawaiian, and Malay. Of course, plenty of languages have also borrowed English words with varying degrees of success. These words sometimes remain unchanged from the original English version and keep the same spelling and meaning. However, there are also loanwords that have nothing to do with their English incarnations, which are known as pseudo-anglicisms.

Today we're going to show you a few of our favourite words that went from English into another language and got a bit lost along the way.

If you speak German, you might be familiar with the world Air-Condition. While it's clear that this word means "air-conditioning", it still sounds very peculiar if you speak English as your first language. The same goes for shampooing in French, which is not a verb, but rather the noun for "shampoo".

French, just like Romanian, likes to use baskets to refer to trainers or sneakers, whereas Spanish and Portuguese borrowed the English word "tennis" and changed it to tenis and tĂȘnis respectively.

While basketball is quite popular, borrowing the word in its entirety is not. Several languages, including French, have taken "basket" to refer to the sport. Footing is also a popular pursuit in French, Italian and Spanish... Never heard of it? In English, we call it "jogging".

Some tents in a camping.
When you go camping, you stay in a campsite. If you go camping in a country that speaks Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, or Spanish, you stay in a camping. Do you want to park your car in a "car park" or a "parking lot"? In Arabic, Flemish, French, Swiss German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish, it can sometimes simply be called a parking.

The trend of adding the -ing suffix to English words doesn't end there. Lifting actually refers to a "facelift" in a number of different languages. Arabic, German, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish also sometimes use marketing to refer to "advertising", which is of course related to marketing, but doesn't cover all types of marketing.

A number of a languages like to call a tuxedo or suit jacket a smoking. This comes from the English term "smoking jacket", but does away with the most important part for English speakers, with "smoking" developing its own meaning in its new language.

My last pseudo-anglicism is zapping, I absolutely love this word. It means channel-hopping or channel-surfing in Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, and Swedish and has given rise to a number of TV shows that replicate that very idea without you ever having to touch the remote!

What are your favourite pseudo-anglicisms? Are there any words from your language that English has borrowed in a nonsensical way? Tell us about them all in the comments below!