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Getting Smarter through Language

Etymology and Surprising Origin of Words in English | Page 3

Evidently, this is not an exhaustive sample of English words and their etymologies. Over its history, English has borrowed countless words from other languages, and it still does.

Unless a population of speakers is isolated from other languages, lexical borrowing is common in all languages. Borrowing can include words, word roots, sounds, collocations, grammatical processes, and so forth (Daulton).

Lexical borrowing occurs for various reasons. Lexical gaps often exist in languages (Janssen), that is, a nonexisting word creates a need for a word that another language may have. Cultural contact and exchange can also result in lexical borrowing.

Code-switching refers to a process in which multilingual speakers switch between languages in conversation. As speakers become used to the words in both languages, words from one language may be used less frequently than the corresponding words in the other. Those words are then incorporated into the language. (National Council)

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Works Cited

Daulton, F. E. (2019). Lexical Borrowing. Wiley Online Library.

Wheeler, R. & R. Swords (2006). "Code-Switching: Teaching Standard English in Urban Classrooms." National Council of Teachers of English.