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New word in English, in another language?


DiesIrae
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Say, if there's a new word in English, how do other languages use it? Do they use the English word or come up with their own that's similar to the English word?

For example, the word "selfie." In the Philippines, it's used as it is, but that's because English is used lots along with our own language. For other countries, are there equivalent words to that? How do other countries even come up with the equivalent word?

I'm just curious, because I'm thinking about the evolution of language, and am kind of worried about my own. Who knows, in the future, we'll just adopt whatever the English term is and only older words would be in our native language.

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  • 1 month later...

I think that depends on the word and how they choose to use so. I mean I can see them trying to create a similar word, then again I can see them just creating a new word that is similar as well. I think it really depends on the word and where it is intended to be created.

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I think countries will just adopt the English word for it, and if a country decides it is easy enough to adapt into their own spelling or diction, then they will. I'd assume that the country of origin would dictate the standard, and it's up to the individual cultures as to how they will adapt it. If I'm not mistaken, I know Japan adapts most words into their native language/alphabet because the formula set in place makes it easy enough to do so, and because they don't really rely on English as much so it just makes more sense to translate it into their own.

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Usually, coined words are never translated and just adopted as is, like in the example of the word "selfie", especially if the country also speaks English as one of their languages. I think it would hard to find a literal word counterpart for coined words, but the meaning can easily be explained in one's local language.

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Every country manage new words in English in different way.

I have seen however that new English words are simply incorporated into the local language preserving its meaning but sometimes distorting their use, as in example, using English nouns as local English verbs using the local language conjugation rules.

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In Romania we adopted foreign terms for which we already had an equivalent so that's definitely what we'll do with new words from other languages. I haven't even heard about 'selfie' until now and I looked it up. Now I know what it means and I'm sure more and more people in my country will use it as it is. It's short and easy to pronounce, I can't find a reason to replace it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I guess it really depends on the country. In Germany and in Switzerland for instance, I feel like people really like English terms and they like to use/adopt words from English as they are. In other countries, especially in France, the tendency is more towards coming up with an equivalent word for that new term. French people do care a lot about their own language and they don't like to use English words a lot. You would like to hear an example? Well, here you go. The word "Walkman" for instance is (and was much more in the past obviously as Walkmans are outdated already) widely used in Germany and Switzerland and many other countries all over the world. In France, however, they have their own word for Walkman, which is "le balladeur". The same thing with Computer. Whereas "Computer" is used almost everywhere in the world, french people say "l'ordinateur".  Pretty funny, isn't it ? :wacky:

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It's always a hassle, especially with the new digital age/www lingo. "Selfie" has been repeated in the media lately instead of the former Portuguese word for it, "auto-retrato" (self-portrait) - that annoys me a bit. But it's not like we haven't imported words from English before: we still use expressions for football imported over 100 years ago from English, like "penalty". 

The French are pretty good at coming up with equivalent expressions in their language. Trouble is, I'm not sure how good that is for the survival of the language...

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