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Results 1 to 10 of 81 (page 1 of 9)

Food for thought: Exploring the origins of culinary terms

An English blog post about how words related to food travel from one language to another.At an Indian restaurant, I’m transported by the tantalizing spices and tasty dishes. When I eat out Italian, I savour the rich and creamy sauces. In Japanese cuisine, I’m amazed by the visual presentation of the dishes. If you’re like me, flavours, aromas, textures and colours take you away. But how many of us realize how far the vocabulary of food has travelled? English words borrowed from afar Words from foreign languages make us think of exotic places and unusual flavours. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that the English language has borrowed many such words. Note that the language from which English has borrowed these words is not necessarily the language from which these words originated. When it comes to language contact, there’s often an intermediary! Here are a few examples of English food terms borrowed from other languages. Some might surprise you… Foreign words borrowed into English English words borrowed from other languages Source language bratwurst, Emmenthal, kirsch, lager, noodle, pretzel, pumpernickel, sauerkraut, schnapps, schnitzel, strudel, vermouth German apricot, coffee, couscous, falafel, orange, saffron, shawarma, spinach, syrup, tabbouleh, tahini, tajine Arabic beef, café au lait, casserole, cream, croissant, cuisine, custard, eclair, mayonnaise, meringue, mousse, mustard, omelette, pastry, quiche, sauce, soufflé French avocado, barbecue, chorizo, daiquiri, empanada, fajita, gazpacho, guacamole, jalapeno, maize, maté, nacho, paella, quinoa, salsa, sangria, tapa, tortilla, vanilla Spanish amaretto, arugula, bergamot, broccoli, cauliflower, espresso, farfalle, lasagna, latte, macaroni, spaghetti, tiramisu, vermicelli, zucchini Italian baklava, bulgur, dolma, hummus, pilaf, raki, shish kebab, yogourt Turkish English words created in Canada From Canada’s Indigenous peoples, English borrowed words such as “saskatoon” berries and “pemmican” (dried meat mixed with fat and berries), as well as the names of animals enjoyed for their meat, like caribou, moose, sockeye, muskie and geoduck. We’ve also invented names for home-grown dishes: Beaver Tail (Ontario) Nanaimo bar (British Columbia) schmoo torte (Manitoba) English words used in other languages If English has borrowed food-related words, then you can be sure that English food terms have found their way into other languages as well. Take the humble sandwich: its name is well entrenched in French, Italian and Spanish! And who hasn’t heard of expressions such as “apporter son lunch,” “prendre un cocktail” or “préparer des muffins” in French? Terms like “hamburger,” “bacon” and “fast food” are also well known to Francophones. Culinary expressions Food is even the basis for many English idioms. Have you ever wondered why there are so many expressions with the word “salt”: worth one’s salt, take something with a grain of salt, the salt of the earth? In ancient times, salt was highly valued and was used as an item of trade and a form of currency. And here’s another example: when things are going well, we say everything is peaches and cream; when things are not going well, we say they have gone sour! I’m not feeding you a bunch of baloney when I say that words linked to food are used in a great variety of ways. To finish off, how about trying a food-themed quiz? I’m sure the Language Portal of Canada’s quiz Food clichés 1 will whet your appetite. You can find the “Food clichés” series in our quizzes on vocabulary, under Idiomatic expressions. Now, it’s your turn to make our mouths water. What are your favourite culinary words and expressions? Which ones make you chuckle? Share your thoughts in a comment! Adapted by Josephine Versace, Language Portal of Canada
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 154,593

4 ways French has influenced the English language

An English blog post about how the French language has influenced English.Throughout history, the movement of people has led to the development of the languages we speak today. The English language is no exception. While English is the most-learned and most-spoken language in the world today, it hasn’t always been this way. English has changed a lot through the centuries. Today, the English language is an amalgamation with influences from languages and cultures around the world. Some of the languages that have influenced modern English include Greek, German, Arabic. However, one of the biggest influences on the English we speak today has been French. French has influenced English not only in its vocabulary but also in its grammar, pronunciation, and writing. Here are the ways French has helped transform modern English. The addition of vocabulary According to different sources, at least 30% of the modern English vocabulary is directly borrowed from French. Words like “prince,” “joyful,” and “beef” come from the French language, as well as common terminology in the military, legal, technological, and political fields. For example, the words “army,” “parole,” “telephone,” and “regime” all have their origins in the French language. French literature, music, and art have also extended into the English-speaking world throughout the centuries. With the spread of Francophone culture, it’s currently estimated that English speakers who have never studied French can still recognize about 15,000 words in French (ThoughtCo, 2019). That’s a lot of words, considering the average person uses about 16,000 words per day (Huynh, 2014)! You may hear words like “cliché,” “déjà vu,” and “faux pas” in everyday speech. These words are directly taken from French and haven’t changed at all! The development of English grammar Surprisingly, we still use some phrases today that are influenced by French grammar. Particularly in the fields mentioned above where French has heavily influenced the vocabulary, French grammar plays a prominent role in seniority and titles. Titles like “consul general” and “agent-general” retained the original French grammar rule of nouns followed by adjectives. In the military, similar titles like “lieutenant general” and “brigadier general” are also used. English pronunciation French is known for having very different pronunciation rules than English, but most people don’t realize that English also borrows some French pronunciation rules. Some vocal sounds that French has contributed to English include the “g” sound in “mirage,” the “v” in “vacation,” and the “z” in “zigzag.” French is a beautiful language to listen to, and its influences on English pronunciation have added an additional layer of beauty in English. Writing in English French spelling helped transform Old English into the modern English we speak today. As Simon Ager indicates in his article “The Influence of French on the English Language,” words like “queen,” “ship,” and “should” used to be spelled “cwen,” “scip,” and “scolde.” The acute (é), grave (è), and circumflex (â) accents aren’t typically used in the English language, but some words borrowed directly from French still maintain these accents when used in English. These words include “café,” “décor,” and the delicious dessert, “crème brûlée.” Both French and English are widely spoken in the world today, and they’re the two official languages of Canada. Both languages have played a significant role in the history of our societies and cultures around the globe and have contributed to Canada’s unique and colorful linguistic heritage. How has French influenced your life? View references Ager, S. (2012, November 15). The Influence of French on the English Language (opens in new tab) [Blog post]. Huynh, J. (2014, June 19). Study Finds No Difference in the Amount Men and Women Talk. UBRP Gazette. ThoughtCo. (2019, November 4). Terms of Enrichment: How French Has Influenced English (opens in new tab) [Web article].
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 79,027

False friends: Appearances can be deceiving

An English-language quiz on French–English false cognates.Over the years, English has assimilated many words from French. While some of these French and English words may still look alike, they often have different meanings. In French, these words are known as faux amis; in English, we call them false cognates. In the following quiz, avoid false friends by choosing the right word to fill the blank.1. The sales manager called a to discuss the new marketing campaign.reunionmeeting2. Heather drinks juice every day because it has the same heart benefits as wine.raisingrape3. Stuart, a retired high school , now volunteers at the library helping newcomers to Canada learn English.teacherprofessor4. Serena the project well before the deadline.achievedfinished5. Tanya volunteered to be the of the focus group.animatorfacilitator6. There's a choir every Wednesday night at the community centre.practicerepetition7. The computer programmers are working to resolve the firewall issues.actuallycurrently  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 32,817

Indigenous loan words

An English-language quiz on Indigenous loan words.Canadian English has borrowed many words from Indigenous languages. Some of these loan words designate animals and plants, while others describe Indigenous life and culture. Brush up on your Indigenous vocabulary by taking the quiz below. You'll be surprised by the origin of some common, and not‑so‑common, words!1. The word Canada comes from the Iroquois word kanata, meaningtribecolonyvillage2. Which of the words below means "dwelling"?totemwigwamanorak3. A geoduck is a native to the Pacific Northwest.fishbirdmollusk4. The city of Saskatoon is named after a native to the area.berrygrainflower5. Traditional pemmican was made with coarsely ground dried , melted fat and berries.rabbitbuffalocaribou6. What does Nunavut mean in Inuktitut?our landthe place of manreindeer that looks like caribou7. The word is Cree in origin and refers to a type of swamp or bog.musketmuskiemuskeg  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 18,974

What Gallicisms are and why we use them

An English blog post on Gallicisms.“I filled up on hors d’oeuvres earlier, so I think I’ll just order from the à la carte menu rather than having the table d’hôte.” What do you notice about that sentence? Probably that it contains 3 French expressions, right? You probably also noticed that the sentence didn’t sound strange to you. That’s because “hors d’oeuvres,” “à la carte” and “table d’hôte” are French expressions that we commonly use in English. Did you know that there’s a name for the French words and expressions that people use when speaking other languages? They’re called “Gallicisms,” which comes from the word “Gallic,” meaning “French.” And we use them for a number of reasons. Let’s explore a few together. 1. Cultural ties Certain words and expressions may be so rooted in a culture that it would feel strange to use the English equivalent (if there even is one). In parts of Quebec, such as Montreal and Gatineau, where English and French co-exist, words like “dépanneur,” “cabane à sucre,” “autoroute,” “guichet,” “stage,” “Régie,” “terrasse” and “chalet” are part of everyday speech, because they’re so tied to the province’s culture that using them is natural and maybe even necessary if we want to fit in and be understood. To put it into perspective, when we think of “going to the chalet,” we automatically think of the Laurentians. When we think of “going to the cottage,” our minds shift to the Muskokas or the Kawarthas. 2. Language mixing If we’re bilingual or multilingual and speak French often, we’ve likely used a French word or phrase in the other language. Maybe a word simply came to mind in French first either because that word, or to be more precise, that concept, is more common in the French culture. Or maybe we’d just returned from a full day at the office with mostly French-speaking co-workers, and we were still thinking in French. Whatever the reason, when we speak French and one or more other languages regularly, the constant contact between the languages makes it easy to use a French word or phrase unintentionally instead of the equivalent in the other language. 3. Lack of a suitable word or expression Sometimes, there’s just no suitable word or expression in another language to express a certain concept. For example, English has no equivalent for the French expressions “je ne sais quoi” and “joie de vivre.” Sure, we can find English words or phrases to describe the same concepts. For “je ne sais quoi,” we could say that something has an “indescribable quality” or “a certain something.” And for “joie de vivre,” we could say that someone has a “love of life.” But none of those phrases fully convey the meaning of the French expressions. So when we’re faced with such a gap and a French expression can fill it, we borrow it! 4. Literal translation Gallicisms can also occur when we translate a French expression word for word into another language. The temptation to do this can be strong if we’re fluent in French and can’t think of the right way to say something in another language. “Close the light” (rather than the idiomatic “turn off the light”) is a perfect example of a literal translation of “fermer la lumière.” For examples of other common Gallicisms that result from literal translations, such as “opening hours” and “providers of service,” check out the section of the University of Ottawa’s writing guide called Translation problems. Do you notice yourself using Gallicisms in everyday speech? If so, which ones do you use and why? Let me know in the comment section below!
Source: Our Languages blog (posts from our contributors)
Number of views: 15,237

False friends: Bilinguals beware!

An English-language quiz on French–English false cognates.Over the years, English has assimilated many words from French. While some of these French and English words may still look alike, they often have different meanings. In French, these words are known as faux amis; in English, we call them false cognates. In the following quiz, avoid false friends by choosing the right word to fill the blank.1. Rocco and Renata the premiere of the rock opera together.assistedattended2. Our local went bankrupt because more and more people are buying books online.bookstorelibrary3. A minority government is the outcome of the next provincial election.possibleeventual4. Aunt Esmeralda likes to serve her delicious pie with cream cheese and maple syrup.pruneplum5. My brother Finnigan's is “The Finnster.”surnamenickname6. After a long at the office, Anika likes to unwind by taking her dog for a walk in the park.dayjourney7. Chase always adds green to his smoothies for extra nutrition.vegetableslegumes  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 14,785

False friends: Spot the false cognate

An English-language quiz on GallicismsOver the years, English has assimilated many words from French. While some of these French and English words may still look alike, they often have different meanings. In French, these words are known as faux amis; in English, we call them false cognates. In the following quiz, avoid false friends by choosing the right word to fill the blank.1. Yasmina failed the entrance exam last year, but she will try her once again this year.chanceluck2. All students must the new school regulations.respectcomply with3. I work for an environmentally friendly .organismorganization4. Alex was going to meet up with us later in his car.ownproper5. That child is driving me crazy. I just can’t him anymore.supporttolerate6. Our picnic was cancelled because of rain. What a !deceptiondisappointment7. The man was shabbily dressed and did not look .fortunatewealthy  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 12,869

Inuk, Inuit (Linguistic recommendation from the Translation Bureau)

An English linguistic recommendation from the Translation Bureau on how to use the terms Inuk and Inuit in the federal public service
On this page A note about the recommendation “Inuk” and “Inuit” used as nouns “Inuk” and “Inuit” used as adjectives Additional information A note about the recommendation The Translation Bureau recommends using the terms Inuk and Inuit both as nouns and as adjectives in English. Inuit can be used adjectivally in all contexts. However, Inuk can be used only to modify one person, in keeping with its sense in Inuktitut, the language from which it is borrowed. “Inuk” and “Inuit” used as nouns A concern for reconciliation and inclusivity requires that, when referring to Indigenous persons, we use the terms preferred by the community. Thus, we refer to the traditional inhabitants of Canada’s northern regions and Arctic coastline by the terms Inuk and Inuit. Inuk is the singular noun, used to refer to one person, regardless of gender. It is always capitalized and can be preceded by a definite or indefinite article: He is the first Inuk to have been called to the Nunavut Bar. She is an Inuk from Kuujjuaq in northeastern Quebec. Inuit is the plural noun. It is always capitalized. Because the word Inuit is already plural in form in Inuktitut, it is used in English without the English plural ending “s”: Correct: Inuit are working to preserve their language. Incorrect: Inuits are working to preserve their language. Since Inuit means "the people" in Inuktitut, do not use the definite article “the” or the word “people” in combination with Inuit: Correct: Inuit use traditional hunting methods. Incorrect: The Inuit use traditional hunting methods. Incorrect: The Inuit people use traditional hunting methods. Note: In addition to singular and plural forms, Inuktitut has a dual form used to refer to two people: Inuuk. Although Inuuk is used less frequently in English, it is still accepted. “Inuk” and “Inuit” used as adjectives Either Inuk or Inuit can be used as an adjective to describe a person. These terms are always capitalized: The Inuk Elder was honoured for contributions to the community. This award-winning Inuit designer combines fashion and tradition. But the adjective Inuk can be used only to describe one person, never two or more. With plural nouns referring to human beings, the adjective that’s used is Inuit: The non-profit organization is the voice of Inuit women in Canada. The website showcases original art created by Inuit artists. In addition, Inuk is never used to modify anything non-human. The adjective used to describe one or more places, things, qualities or ideas is Inuit: This Inuit hamlet is a cultural hub in summer. Traditional Inuit garments were made from animal skins and fur. Inuit hospitality is legendary. In the Inuit concept of health, the mind, body, spirit and environment are interconnected. Additional information Update on the words “Inuk” and “Inuit” (blog post) Inuit, inuk (Recommandation linguistique du Bureau de la traduction) (in French only)
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 10,494

agenda, agendas

A writing tip on how to write the plural of agenda.
Agenda was originally the plural form of agendum, a Latin word meaning “something that needs to be done.” Hence, the plural agenda represented a list of items that needed to be dealt with. However, agenda is now considered a singular noun in English and takes a singular verb. It can mean a list of items for discussion at a meeting, a plan of action, or a book in which to organize work and appointments: The agenda for the meeting is attached to the email. Your vacation agenda sounds very exciting! This electronic agenda is much easier to use than previous versions. The plural is agendas: We have ordered new agendas for the coming calendar year.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 9,976

Language buff

An English quiz in which the user must choose the correct definition of difficult English words.Are you a language lover? An etymology enthusiast? A word whiz? If so, try your hand at this quiz.1. Apiology is the study of . . .beeswindrivers2. What does bamboozle mean?to prune bambooto perplex or trickto drink large quantities of alcohol3. Gelotology is the study of . . .ageingancestrylaughter4. What is a cherimoya?a type of custard apple with scaly green skina traditional Mexican love songa type of wild cherry grown in Africa5. What is a ptarmigan?a sea butterflyan arctic grousea waterproofed canvas6. What does lollygag mean?to tell jokes constantlyto waste time aimlesslyto have an intense dislike for lollipops7. Hematology is the study of . . .bloodcancerous tumorsreptiles8. What does discombobulate mean?to cause upset or confusionto translate a word incorrectlyto separate into numerous pieces9. What is a zephyr?a precious gemstonea mythical creaturea light breeze10. What does noisome mean?causing a bothersome noisemalodourous or foul-smellingpleasant or sweet-smelling  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 9,908