Writing Prompts: The Appropriation of Language

I’ve done a couple of recent prompts on words, including farouche and sui juris, and what I found interesting is that these words, which appear in English dictionaries, are a good example of non-English words that have woven their way into the fabric of English. Indeed, English as a language has a history of appropriating words from other languages. French, Germanic and Norse languages (not to mention Latin) have all shaped modern English.

One could be crude, and suggest English is the bastard child of several other languages. It’s that or English is a thief, picking at different languages to form a new one. Thief might be the more appropriate term. English is a cobbled collection of whatever term or expression seemed best at the time, mixed together with grammar and syntax from various places. English has always been like this, right up to the modern day. We’re always ‘borrowing’ words from other languages, and incorporating them into our own. It’s a recurrent theme (not only with the history of the language) for English to poach from other cultures. It makes you wonder what the cultural identity of the English language truly is.

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