From Academic Kids

An anglicism is a word borrowed from English into another language, but considered by a fair part of the influential speakers of that language to be substandard or undesirable. It is also an English structure abusively used in another language.


Anglicisms in French

Occasionally governments of both Quebec and France have undertaken strenuous efforts to eradicate anglicisms, with limited success, although in modern times there has been a more relaxed attitude. Sometimes a pleasant-sounding word is coined in French and succeeds in replacing the anglicism — for instance, logiciel ("software").

However, the Académie française's directives are not always considered very appropriate; for instance, online chat is supposed to be called causette or parlotte, which are old-fashioned words for chat that nobody ever uses. (Note that in Quebec a different solution has been found to translate online chat. The word clavardage is increasingly common. This neologism is a portmanteau word coined from the words clavier, in English, keyboard and bavardage, in English, chat.)

Quebec French and European French tend to have entirely different anglicisms for historical reasons. Quebec French picked up its anglicisms from a gradual process of linguistic borrowing resulting from living among and alongside English speakers for two and a half centuries since the British Conquest of 1759. European French, on the other hand, mostly adopted its anglicisms in recent decades due to the post–Second World War international dominance of English. Thus, the people of Quebec and France will rather amusingly often consider each other's anglicisms as barbarous, while considering their own perfectly normal.

An example of a European French anglicism not used in Quebec:

sweat: short for sweatshirt, but pronounced like the English word "sweet" (!)

An example of a Quebec French anglicism not used in France;

frencher: to French kiss

As can be seen above, sometimes an anglicism will have a different meaning from the original English word, due to abbreviation or other reasons.

Because English itself borrowed a great amount of French vocabulary after the Norman Conquest, some anglicisms are actually Old French words that dropped from usage over the centuries in French itself but were preserved in English, and have now come full circle back into French. For instance the verb to flirt comes from the old French conter fleurette, which means "to (try to) seduce". This expression is no longer used in French, but the English "Frenchism" to flirt has made its way back over the Channel and has now become an anglicism in French. A nice example of two cultures flirting with one another.

Sometimes an expression incorrectly translated from the English becomes more successful than the original one. For instance, a tax heaven comes from an incorrect translation of tax haven by French speakers who mixed up haven and heaven. So they spoke about a paradis fiscal, an expression that inspired the English speaking people who retranslated into tax heaven.

Note, some words were borrowed from English into French centuries ago, such as clown (pronounced "kloon") and spleen (in French the latter means "melancholy", and not the "spleen" organ). These are not anglicisms, but rather are considered perfectly good French words fully accepted by the Académie française. Perhaps the only difference between an anglicism and a full-fledged French word is the test of time.

Anglicisms in German

See Germish

Anglicisms in Italian

Under Benito Mussolini efforts were made to "purify" Italian of anglicisms and other foreign "contaminants".

Anglicisms in Spanish

See Spanglish

Anglicisms in Finnish

See also (American) Finglish

The anglicisms can be divided to four types: direct phonetic imitation, lexical and grammatical calques, and contamination of orthography. Official language (as given by the Language Planning Office) deprecates anglicisms, and for the most part, native constructions are sufficient even in spoken language. Nevertheless, some anglicisms creep in.

Computer jargon is generally full of direct imitation, e.g. svappi "swap". Other jargons with abundant anglicisms are pop music, scifi, gaming, fashion, automobile and to some extent scientific jargon. This is regarded a sign of overspecialization, if used outside the context of the jargon. Generally, direct imitation is not as common, but there are examples. For example, the word sexy [seksy], pronounced with an Y unlike in English [seksi], might be used as an adjective. This is teenager-specific.

Lexical calques take an English expression, like killer application, and produce tappajasovellus, which does mean "an application that kills" just as in English. You will need to know the equivalent English term to understand this.

An example of a grammatical calque (borrowing grammar) is the English you-impersonal. The English impersonal utilizes the second person pronoun you, e.g. You can't live if you don't eat. Here, the word you does not refer explicitly to the listener, but signifies a general statement. The same example is rendered in Finnish as Symtt ei el, where a separate grammatical impersonal (a.k.a. passiivi) is used. When translated word-by-word, S et el jos s et sy, it will refer directly to the listener. Then, you will need to understand that it is an anglicism, or you can be offended by the commanding "You there!" tone produced.

An English orthographical convention is that compound words are written separately, whereas in Finnish compoundwords are written together, using a hyphen with acronyms and numbers. We write prosessitekniikka and Intel 80286-prosessori, not process engineering nor Intel 80286 processor. Failure to join the words or omitting the hyphen can be either a honest mistake, or contamination from English.

Another orthographical convention is that English words tend to be written as the originals. For example, the computer jargon term from to chat is written as chattailla (chat + frequentative), even if it is pronounced sttill. The forms chattill or chttill are used, too. Sometimes, it is even standard language, e.g. sherry [ʃerry], instead of according to English pronunciation eri [ʃeri].

Britishisms, Americanisms and other -isms

A Britishism is an expression peculiar to British English, from an outsider's point-of-view. The term "Britishism" is an Americanism.

An Americanism is an expression peculiar to North American English, from an outsider's point-of-view.

There is an article discussing American and British English differences, and for English worldwide look at the English Language entry.

The influence of Australian television has also introduced some Australianisms to English speech elsewhere.

See also

es:Anglicismo fr:Anglicisme lb:Anglizismus nl:Anglicisme pt:Anglicismo fi:Anglismi sv:Anglicism


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