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Foreign words

Tim in the department storeroom
There are lots of English words that come from other languages. There are two main types of foreign or loan words.
First, there are words and phrases which are used without being translated or changed in any way. For example, 'quelle surprise' is French but we use it in English to mean 'what a surprise' without changing the French at all. In fact, we even pronounce 'surprise' in the French way, rather than the English way.
Second, there are words that have a foreign origin but which have been changed or adapted when they were brought into English. For example, the Czech word 'robota' meaning 'labour' or 'drudgery' was changed to 'robot' when it was introduced to English.

Foreign words used in English without translation:

déjà vu (French):
a feeling in the present that you've experienced something before

a fait accompli (French):
a thing has already been decided and there's no point arguing about it because it can't or won't be changed

a faux pas (French):
an embarrassing mistake (often in a social situation)

glasnost (Russian):
openness, especially in government

the hoi polloi (Greek):
the ordinary, common people or the majority

sushi (Japanese):
dish made of raw fish, vegetables or other ingredients and rice, wrapped in seaweed

vice versa (Latin):
the opposite of what has been said. Should I make dinner or vice versa?

a wok (Cantonese):
a large, deep frying pan (often used in Asian cooking)

English words with foreign roots:

a bungalow - (Hindi): a house that is often all on one level

a coffee (Turkish): a hot drink

a guru (Sanskrit): spiritual teacher or very knowledgeable coach or trainer

an opal (Sanskrit): a precious stone (usually clear or white)

an orang-utan (Malaysian): a large ape with long, red hair

paparazzi (Italian): photographers who follow famous people and take pictures of them (often without the famous person's permission)

pyjamas (Persian): clothes we use when we're sleeping, made up of trousers and a loose jacket or top

a safari (Swahili): a hunting or fishing trip (often in Africa) or to see animals in a wild environment

shampoo (Hindi): liquid soap used to wash your hair

yoghurt (Turkish): semi-solid food made from fermented milk (sometimes with fruit added)


the counter (n):
the table or shelf in a shop that separates the shop assistant from the customers

your ambition knows no bounds:
there is no limit to your goals or dreams

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