The Foreign Languages You Speak Everyday – Daily Quote

Jo Hawk


When I started studying Spanish, I noticed a vast number of crossover words. I had already studied my dictionary and discovered words of Latin and Greek derivations along with German and French-based words. English is fantastic at borrowing words. Forever. Linguists call the appropriation of a foreign language word, a loanword. Some loanwords undergo a phonetic makeover, which makes the word sound more English and less like its home origin.

Linguists say loanwords account for 80% of English words and borrows from 350 other languages. Yep, that number amazed me, but it turns out there may be 7,000 unique languages in the world. More than half of the world’s population speak just 23 of those. The statistic also shows almost 3,000 languages are in danger of extinction and are spoken by fewer than 1,000 people.

I wonder if some foreign words will one day only live in their English form…

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