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#1 2009-12-18 13:08:25

JuanTwoThree
Eggcornista
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 298

Words that learners are surprised to find aren't English.

I’m not sure if this has been covered before but distant cousins of the eggcorn must be those words in other languages which their speakers are sure are English: In German ‘beamers’ are projectors, ‘antibaby’ is contraceptive, a ‘handy’ is a mobile phone and an ‘oldtimer’ is a classic car. French ? has produced ‘footing’ for jogging. I’m sure there are many more.

A ‘smoking’ seems to be a dinner jacket (tuxedo) in a lot of languages but this might come from the French and Spanish tendency to abbreviate by cutting off the “wrong” word and leaving only the adjective: Les Rolling (The Stones), un super (market) , un parking (lot), un panty (hose) and so un smoking (jacket).

Anyway I’ve just found this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudo-anglicism


but it doesn’t help with how these borrowings which aren’t borrowings come about.

Last edited by JuanTwoThree (2009-12-18 15:09:16)

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#2 2009-12-18 17:57:29

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2030

Re: Words that learners are surprised to find aren't English.

Fascinating. I didn’t realize there was a word for these linguistic events.

A large number of these pseudo-anglicisms (probably a larger percentage than the list in the wikipedia article might suggest) are probably English brand names that become generic terms in other languages.

The reverse of pseudo-anglicisms, words that enter English from other languages and that cease, at some point, to have the borrowed meaning in the source language, are closely related to eggcorns.

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#3 2009-12-19 04:35:56

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: Words that learners are surprised to find aren't English.

The word “smoking”—used to refer to a tuxedo—appears in languages as unlikely as Polish. (I say unlikely because the word does not resemble any other word of Polish).

I’m sure if we tracked down the history of the smoking jacket, we might identify the era in which this word diffused to other languages. One source suggests that Turkish tobacco became popular in England in the 1850’s at the time of the Crimean War, and the smoking jacket served the purpose of absorbing smoke, etc. Perhaps this custom gained international popularity in the decades thereafter. I’m only guessing about this. If someone has any particular skill at tracking these things down, maybe he can set me straight.

http://www.answers.com/topic/smoking-jacket

Last edited by jorkel (2009-12-19 04:42:18)

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