Monday, November 2, 2009

Calque You Very Much

If it wasn't for calques, we wouldn't be able to stop at the beer garden for some free verse on our way to the flea market to take a look see for a landscape masterpiece.

As defined by WordNet, a calque is "an expression introduced into one language by translating it from another language."

The English words listed in the first sentence above are translations of the following:

beer garden is from the German biergarten

free verse is from the French vers libre

flea market is from the French marché aux puces

look-see is from the Chinese 看見

landscape is from the Dutch landschap

masterpiece is from either the Dutch meesterstuk or the German meisterstück

Calques are also known as loanwords or word borrowings and are word-for-word or literal translations. According to a Wikipedia article, "'calque' itself is a loanword from a French noun, and derives from the verb 'calquer' (to trace, to copy)."

If you are interested in reading more about calques, the Wikipedia article includes a list of many additional English words that are calques from other languages as well as words in other languages that are calques from English words.


Carlos said...

Very cool information!

Kelly said...

Don't forget brainwashing, from the Chinese 洗腦 (xǐ năo, "wash brain").

Wordacious said...

Great one. Thanks Kelly.

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