The English language is extremely versatile. Its versatility can be attributed to an evolutionary process that spans over one thousand years and includes many foreign words that have become part of the common vernacular. For example, you might encounter a bon vivant while dining out with a friend, have carte blanche in choosing where you’ll eat, or even spot your cousin’s doppelganger. The phrases “bon vivant” and “carte blanche” come from the French language, while “doppelganger” has German origins, but these foreign words and phrases are considered standard English. As you can see, English as a foreign language involves phrases that were derived from foreign languages.
Spot the Non-English Words
Let’s see if you can spot the words and phrases with non-English origins in the following paragraph:
As the guru of my class, I had my kindergarten students learn the origins of Kung Fu after watching a cartoon. So I set up some donated mattresses, but little did I know they would mess up the feng shui of the room.
Drumroll, please! And the correct answers are:
– guru [India]: a spiritual teacher.
– kindergarten [German]: a school of class that prepares children for first grade.
– Kung Fu [Chinese]: an unarmed martial art.
– cartoon [Italian]: a motion picture using animation techniques.
– mattresses [Arabic]: a fabric case used for sleeping.
– feng shui, [Chinese]: a system of laws considered governing spatial arrangement.
Learning English as a foreign language is much easier when you begin to see how dynamic it can be. Here are more examples of other words and phrases that are not English but are often used in conversations:
– Vox populi (voice of the people) – My vote echoes that of the vox populi.
– Faux pas (a social blunder) – Some may consider it faux pas to put your elbows on the table while dining.
– Cri de coeur (a heartfelt appeal) – About to leave the store, the child made one last cri de coeur to his mother for candy.
Take the tour and discover more about English as a foreign language today!
Special thanks to Sharon Mollerus for the image.