18 September 2008

Loan words in English

I was browsing through loan words, words borrowed from other languages, in English.


angst: Acc. to Etymology Online, is derived from German word angst, meaning "neurotic fear, anxiety, guilt, remorse". Apparently the latter is derived older German word referring to anger.

kindergarten: I think we all knew this word had German roots. Yes, yes, it does originally mean child's garden. Here's what is interesting - Quote from EO: Coined 1840 by Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852) in ref. to his method of developing intelligence in young children.

gesundheit: Apparently it goes all the way back to the early twentieth century. And unlike it's current usage of meaning may the Lord bless you and what not, the German word referred to your health.


Amok: Interesting bit of background history on EO. Apparently this quaint word is of Malay origin which in itself meant "...attacking furiously..." that dates back to the 17th Century. Seems like at ne point it even referred to a frenzied Malay. Oh dear.

ketchup: Another good word. And once again, originally a Malay word. Quote from EO: kichap, from Chinese (Amoy dial.) koechiap "brine of fish." . The bit about US trying to Anglicize it sounded sad. Catchup? No one caught up that phrase.

boondocks: Turns out this was originally from the Philippines. Initially it referred to a mountain, bundok. It was apparently adopted by US soldiers and came about once again when the soldiers had to run amok in wild landscapes.