LINGUIST List 10.1388

Wed Sep 22 1999

Sum: Pseudo-loanwords

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Anatol Stefanowitsch, Sum: Pseudo-loanwords

Message 1: Sum: Pseudo-loanwords

Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 17:12:35 -0500 (CDT)
From: Anatol Stefanowitsch <>
Subject: Sum: Pseudo-loanwords

A few weeks ago I posted a query asking about examples and references
concerning pseudo-loanwords. I would like to thank everyone who replied to
this query for their great examples and insightful comments. You have all
helped me a lot, and I hope this summary is fun to read for you too.

I did not have the time for a real synthesis of the replies, so I have
simply edited them minimally and grouped them according to language (in
alphabetical order). All definitons and discussions are the respective
authors', which are listed at the beginning of each language. I have the
feeling that some of the example are actually 'true loanwords,' but I have
not checked this, and I have included all examples exactly as supplied to

I have ommitted general comments about pseudo-loanwords here to keep the
summary short. However, anyone who is interested should send me an email
and I will send them a document containing all replies in full.

From: Leonor Santos <>

OUTDOOR (written like that, with a pronunciation of our own) = 'a roadside
poster that is called "billboard" in England'

From: Mima <>

Croats call this symbol:  (which appears in e-mail addresses) MONKEY.
When I first heard it, I thought it was originally MAJMUN in Croatian, and
they just translated it for me (since I live in the U.S.). So, the next
time I used it as MAJMUN and they laughed at me!

From: Stig W. Joergensen <>

FLUTE (pronounced in French) = 'baguette' 
BUTTERFLY = 'bow-tie' (My grandparents, who had never learned English,
pronounced BUTTERFLY in Danish, whereas younger generations give it a more
English pronunciation.

An amusing modern example of a loan-word acquiring a use foreign to the
source language is Danish "spanking". This word entered Danish in the late
sixties in the sense of "spanking in a sexual context". To this day, the
loan word will be used in Danish only in the sexual sense, never about
punishing a child etc. However, getting a "spanking" has acquired a
metaphorical use corresponding perhaps to English "having to face the
music". In particular, it is used about politicians whose unwise remarks
or actions bring them into trouble. This use (which is not considered
vulgar) abounds in newspapers and political magazines.

From: J.M. Wiedenhof <>

BANDRECORDER = 'tape recorder' (originally a hybrid formation from Dutch
BAND, meaning 'tape', and English RECORDER. However, the expression is
also reinpreted as an English loan in its entirety, as evidenced by the
pronunciation by some speakers of the first vowel as an open-mid front [E]
(the IPA epsilon). This vowel is the regular reflection of English [ae] in

From: Damon Allen Davison <>, Matthias Hutz

LIFT = 'elevator'
TWEN = 'someone in his/her 20s' (as extension to Teen[ager])
SHOWMASTER = 'host of a talk show'
PARTY SERVICE = 'company that provides food for special occasions like
WEDDDINGS, birthdays etc.'
DRESSMAN = 'male model'
CITY = 'city centre/downtown'
JOGGING-HOSE = 'long trousers used for running'


From: Damon Allen Davison <>, Robert Papen
<>, J.C. Khalifa <>,
Richard Laurent <>, Laurence Horn

BABY-FOOT = 'table-top football (soccer)'
BASKETS = 'tennis shoes,' 'sneakers' (from basketball shoes)
BUILDING = 'a multi-story (apartment) building'
CAMPING = campground
CHARTER = 'low-cost' [adj.]
FAIRE LE FORCING = to pile on a lot of pressure
FIXING = a quotation - stock exchange use
FOOTING = 'jogging' (and probably the source of the Spanish example)
LIVING = 'living room.'
MOVING = 'exercise' (< fr. mouvement - I have only seen one instance of
this, on a fitness studio's sign)
PALACE = 'a five-star hotel'
PARKING = 'parking lot'
PRESSING = 'the dry cleaner's'
RECORDMAN, recordwoman = 'holder of a world record.' 
SHAMPOOING = 'shampoo'
SHIT = 'hashish'
SMOKING = 'smoking jacket/tuxedo'
SPOT = 'spotlight'
STICK = 'marijuana cigarette'
TENNISMAN, TENNISWOMAN = 'profesionnal tennis player'
WALKING = 'walking race'

From: Lars Anders Kulbrandstad <>

SMOKING = 'tuxedu' (pronounced /1smo:kiNG/, with 1 marking tone 1, which
in cases like this is indicative of foreign origin)
AIRCONDITION = 'airconditioning' (pronounced /aerkondiSJn/. In writing
both forms are accepted, but AIRCONDITION dominates in practical use. An
alternative word is KLIMANLEGG, a translation loan from German

From: Arthur Holmer <>

FREESTYLE = walkman (I believe it may have originated in the name of a
certain model, but I have no exact source to quote)

From: Diana Ben-Aaron <>

Probably you are familiar with "shaping," used for aerobics or other
body-shaping exercise in Russia.

From: Eric Scott <>

In Taiwanese mandarin (don't know about Mainland China) there's an
interesting expression:

	xiao kei-si

where 'xiao' means 'small' and 'kei-si' is a transliteration of the
English 'case'. The meaning of the expression is 'that's no big problem'.
My impression is that this comes from lots of encounters with mathematical
proofs in english-language textbooks.

YIDDISH (as spoken in America)
From: Jules Levin <>

There is a classic case in American "Yiddish": It was, and probably still
is, common in Jewish-style delicatessens to serve a dish that in yiddish
was called simply "kishke", but which was translated on the menu into
English as "Stuffed Derma"--I actually grew up thinking there was such an
English word for that dish--it of course doesn't exist.


From: Stephanie Burdine <>, Suzanne K. Hilgendorf
<>, Stig W. Joergensen <>, Richard Laurent
<>, Bert Peeters <>,
Laurence Horn <>

CARSTENSEN, Broder, Ulrich Busse and Regina Schmude. 1993-96.
Anglizismen-Woerterbuch. Der Einfluss des Englischen auf den deutschen
Wortschatz nach 1945. 3 vols. Berlin: de Gruyter.
CARSTENSEN, Broder. 1965. Englische Einfluesse auf die Deutsche Sprache
nach 1945. (Beihefte zum Jahrbuch fuer Amerikastudien 13). Heidelberg:
CARSTENSEN, Broder. 1967. Amerikanische Einfluesse auf die deutsche
Sprache. In Broder Carstensen and Hans Galinsky (eds), Amerikanismen der
Deutschen Gegenwartssprache. 2nd ed. Heidelberg: Winter.
Etiemble, Rene . 1664. Parlez-vous franglais? Paris: Gallimard.
JARVAD, Pia. 1995. Nye ord - hvorfor og hvordan? Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
KACHRU, Braj B. 1987. The bilingual's creativity: Discoursal and
stylistic strategies in contact literatures. In: Larry E. Smith (ed.),
Discourse Across Cultures. Strategies in World Englishes. New York:
Prentice Hall, 125-140.
KACHRU, Braj B. 1990. The bilingual's creativity and contact literatures.
In: Braj B. Kachru (ed.), The alchemy of English. The spread, functions,
and models of non-native Englishes. Urbana: U of Illinois, 159-173.
KOESSLER, M. 1975. Faux-amis des vocabularies anglais et ame'ricain.
Paris: Vuibert.
LENOBLE-PINSON, M. 1991. Anglicismes et substituts francais. Paris:
PICONE, Michael D. 1996. Anglicisms, neologisms and dynamic French.
Amsterdam: Benjamins.
RIBER PETERSEN, Pia. 1984. Nye ord i dansk 1955-75. Dansk Sprognaevns
Skrifter 11. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
SANDERS, Carol. 1993. French today. Language in its social context.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
SPENCE, N.C.W. 1987. Faux amis et faux anglicismes: problems of
classification and definition. Forum for Modern Language Studies 23 (2).

Anatol Stefanowitsch
Rice University
Dept. of Linguistics - MS 23
6100 Main Street
Houston, Texas 77005-1892
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