An Exposé on English Loanwords
Have you ever seen English words spelled with simplified letters, for example
naivete instead of
This bums me out a bit. Because I think these loanwords are one of the best things about English. It makes language so flexible and rich.
Usually, people type the simplified form of a word because doesn’t know how to type special characters. But, sometimes it’s because of a decision made for early computers.
So, I wanted to post a sampling of loanwords with uncommon letters or accents. See below.
In a later post, I’ll follow up with some notes on how to type these characters on your keyboard. And I’ll finish up with a bit of background on why this problem exists.
Some Interesting Words
English borrows most heavily from Germanic and Romance languages using characters/accents/graphemes like these:
- Cedilla: the
- Circumflex: the
ûin crème brûlée
- Acute Accent: the
- Grave Accent: the
èin pièce de résistance
- Trema / Umlaut: the
ïin naïve or the
- Tilde: the
ñin piña colada
But, there are also a long tail of interesting words from other languages from Slavic, Turkic, Arabic, and other language families!
- coup d’état
- crème brûlée
- déjà vu
- pièce de résistance
- resumé / résumé
- El Niño
- piña colada
- Ção: a greeting
- Açaí: the antioxidant-packed berry
- Curaçao: the Carribean island and the blue drink
- café / قهوة
- élixer / الإكسير
This is just a limited list of examples. But I love that the English language is such a mutt. It makes the language rich. And it emphasizes that America is a nation of immigrants.
I use this list as a reference sometime. And, I hope it sparks some curiosity in you as well.
Next up, I’ll post some practical guides on how to type these characters (and more) on your operating system. See part 2: Adiós to Simplified Loanwords