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Calques from Latin[edit]

"Inside the walls?" I took it out, as well as with the preceding phrase, which may or may not have been vandalism; for "inside the walls" I think it's too long of a stretch from intramuros to downtown- in fact, I have never heard the term "inside the walls" used quite like that.

As for the other one, I'm pretty sure it's self explanatory.



"English breakfast calques French déjeuner (which now means lunch)" Déjeuner needs to be parsed so that we understand that a "fast" is being "broken"? Is it, in fact? If not, then it's not a calque. Fancy terms need accurate examples. Wetman 20:14, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yes, déjeuner (Latin: disjejunare) is literally to break the fast. Both words (dé-, 'undo/quit doing/do in reverse/whatever' + jeûner, 'fast') still exist in French. Also, the word déjeuner itself started switching meaning only in the middle of 19th c. (and only in some French dialects).
I have no clue though as of the formation of the English equivalent... Hope this helps. :-) --Valmi 02:44, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Heh sounds like it should have really been defast or unfast in English :)Iopq 23:19, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

This is not a calque. If it were, the French would be rompe-jeûne* or something similar, or, as Iopq says, the English would be "defast"*, "unfast"* (or "disfast"*, even). — (talk) 16:30, 15 May 2008 (UTC)


I played around with the structure of the article a bit--I thought it would be more logical to group calques by language rather than by part of speech. Hopefully we'll be able to come up with calques in languages other than English (I checked out the calque page in the French Wikipedia and found it to be unhelpful). Psp 05:21, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)


I have to say that this entry is a bit confusing. It's not clear from the examples gathered if a calque is a word that's translated literally but then takes on a different meaning, or one that's translated literally but used for a different meaning or used for the same meaning.

As I understand it, the definition could be rewritten more clearly thusly: 1. In linguistics, a calque or loan translation is the borrowing of a phrase from a foreign language by the literal translation of the original word or phrase. The new word or phrase may retain the original meaning or evolve to have a different meaning.

The examples given are questionable or unclear. Not being a liguist (in either French, German, Spanish or Hebrew) I can't judge the veracity of the examples, but I have never heard that breakfast evolved from dejeuner (I always thought the meaning was literal) and I need an explanation of how the French word for pomegranate evolved into 'Adam's apple'. How empathy (a Latin word.. or is it Greek?) comes from the German Einfühlung is beyond me, especially since Einfühlung is not a particularly common German word. The connection between Commonwealth and Res publica is also unclear (publica=common and res=thing=wealth??). Is this really the result of a literal translation or is it a native English derivation?

Finally, if I really do understand the definition of calque correctly, I will offer one in German: Wolkenkratzer from skyscraper. &#91-- anon]

I got most of the calques I added from the American Heritage Dictionary online. Déjeuner and res publica were already up there so I decided to leave them alone. Psp 20:42, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)
"res" commonly means wealth in Latin, see Horace, Epistles I.1. alexalderman
I'm still confused as to what a calque is. Currently, the first paragraph of the article is: "In linguistics, a calque (pronounced /kælk/) or loan translation is a phrase borrowed from another language by literal word-for-word translation. For example, in some dialects of French, the English term "weekend" becomes la fin de semaine ("the end of week"), a calque, but in some it is left untranslated as le week-end, a loanword. "Loan translation" is itself a calque of German Lehnübersetzung." OK, is it that both "la fin de semaine" and "le week-end" are calques? If not, then perhaps a less ambiguous example could be used. Also, why is "la fin de semaine" considered to be a word-for-word translation of "weekend"? I would assume that "semaine-fin" is a calque while "la fin de semaine" is an ordinary French phrase. The examples do little to clarify things. Some (such as vanguard) seem to be English corruptions of foreign words, while others seem to be phrases that would be the same in another language with or without borrowing (such as "liver sausage" -- it's a sausage made out of liver, what else would you call it?). Ravenswood 17:59, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
I have to agree with the original(?) author of this 'Confused' entry. The definition of 'calque' given in the article does not match up with the given examples. So, for example, the definition insists that it must be a translation of a _phrase_, but many of the examples are translations of a _word_. The confusion is compounded by the fact that in many of the examples, the original word is a compound word, whereas the target language (for the translation) will not form such a compound. And then there are other examples whose status as a "word for word translation of a phrase" is doubtful, such as 'vlijanie' (the Russian example) being offered as a calque from French 'influence'.
I have to doubt that this is correct, since the noun 'vlijanie' is formed very naturally by adding the thoroughly Russian suffix 'nie' to the verb-stem 'vlija-' from 'vlijat'. To claim that this is a calque, one would have to show that this verb was never used in this sense until after French influence.
This is not impossible, and it may even be true. But without some reference to how this happened, 'vlijanie' should _NOT_ be used as an example of a calque.
Finally (on this example), even if this usage really did derive from French, it is NOT a word for word translation of a _phrase_. SO no, it does not meet the definition given (in this article) for 'calque'. 22:04, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
To address the question above about whether the Russian vlijanie is a calque of 'influence,' I would point out that the Latin root verb fluere ("to flow") and the corresponding Russian lit' ("to pour") both refer rather specifically to the movement of liquid, and similarly the Russian prefix v- conveys the same idea as the Latin in-, namely into the inside of something. But note that there are other ways to metaphorically suggest that you are exerting your will on someone or something, besides "flowing in" -- for example, you could "sprinkle on" your influence, or maybe your influence could "adhere to" the intended target. The fact that the Russian happens to use the exact same metaphor as the Latin -- namely, the idea that influence is, glug-glug, poured into someone as though you're spiking the fruit punch with vodka -- seems to me a dead giveaway that the Russian word was invented by calquing an older model from another language.
I would suggest that calques, by nature, will inevitably have some sort of figurative, metaphorical logic underlying them, and one way to "test" whether a word is a calque from another language or an independent coinage is if the metaphors match in a suspiciously similar way.
Throbert McGee 11:57, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Correlation != causation. It is far more likely (and at very least quite possible) that the duplicate metaphor is a holdover from Proto-Indo-European or some intermediate language between the forking of the Slavic and Latinate language groups. It is also possible that it's simply a coincidence. The metaphor similarity is not evidence of calqueing in the absence of other clear corroboration. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 22:40, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
In the specific case of Russian, it's a matter of historic fact that Russian literary figures of the 19th century, such as Pushkin and Lermontov, were prodigiously busy calquers who brought in a large stock of foreign vocabulary by Slavicizing the roots.
That said, I don't have evidence that the word vlijanie specifically was among the large number of calqued coinages from the 19th century, so I've removed it from the list of Russian examples.
SMcClandish is correct that metaphoric similarity is not sufficient evidence of calqueing -- that's why I put "test" in scare-quotes -- but I do think that a close match of metaphors is a clue suggesting a probable calque.
While editing the Russian section, I reformatted the examples in hopes of illustrating more clearly how the compound words can be parsed into their individual roots, which might be a helpful modification to some of the other language sections. I also added Latin transliterations of the Cyrillic.Throbert McGee 03:22, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
That all makes sense to me. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 23:18, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
I would suggest that the entire Russian section be re-written. Karamzin and Zhukovsky are by-far the best known calquers of the early Russian literary language. Karamzin specifically used calques to expression foreign ideas relating to the burgeoning Romantic and phenomenological movements in Europe.


Does this really belong here?

If it doesn't, what does? --Vuo 21:11, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
The anonymous questioner seems to have a point with #1: Which non-Finnish word is "toimesta" calqued from?
"Tulee" is clearly stated to be a calque of "kommer att" so that one is fine, though the different style from the other entries buries the key words a bit. — Hippietrail 23:09, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
The grammatical category of an agent ("by someone") does not exist in Finnish, and the calque is the category, not the word itself. --Vuo 13:06, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
Addition: it is impossible to calque the word "by" or "av" as is, as in Finnish, grammatical cases are used instead of the word "by". Thus, it is necessary to make up some word that makes some, if limited, sense, and that is toimesta "from the action of". --Vuo 17:11, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
The parallel is lost with the upper sections, which is an aesthetic loss that throws the reader and may obfuscate the meaning. It is better to keep the initial example up front and see if it makes the article gel better - toimesta "from the action of", then the explanation. On a semantic level, I actually disagree that it fits, but I'm willing to reserve judgment. - Dave

Is tankki really a calque, isn't it a loanword?

Quoth the article:

  • from Chinese: aivopesu (brainwash, from Chinese "xi nao")

Is that really a calque from Chinese? How much contact have the Finnish had with the Chinese? It seems much more plausible that "aivopesu" calques the English "brainwash"—what the English word happens to do would be irrelevant. —Felix the Cassowary 12:56, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm also skeptical about "siniverinen"; Finnish has no natural contact with Spanish. Aivopesu is probably calqued via English. --Vuo 10:39, 4 January 2006 (UTC)


Empathy is a greek word which was used before germans were historically relvant. Therefore I removed it. --Gigantas 10:38, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Presumably, whoever originally cited "empathy" as a calque of the German Einfühlung got the directionality backwards, and intended to say that the German word is a calque of the Greek original (Ein - fühlung = em - pathy = "in feeling") Throbert McGee 01:28, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Evidence for this? My dictionary says "empathy" is a translation from German. Did you guys actually research this at all, or are you just being high-handed? -AG, 2 March 09
Hmmm, it might be a retranslation, connecting the German Einfühlung to an older unrelated Greek empatheia (which had a different meaning in the older corpus) Anyway, it's a complex example so it might be best excluding it. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 20:35, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Calques in Ukrainian[edit]

I added one because in Ukrainian there are a lot of calques from Russian. Can someone add more?

Translate their meaning into English, please. 02:53, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
Isn't Russian neobxodimyj a calque, or at least a semantic calque, of inevitable anyway? Man vyi 07:00, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
It might be, but the source of the calque was originally from Russian. Maybe it is a calque in Russian at the same time. -Iopq 00:35, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Cf. #Transliteration, below. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 23:19, 11 January 2007 (UTC)


The element "chop" in the Chinese examples came from imitating the pronunciation of an actual Chinese word (tsap). I took "chop chop" and "chopsticks" out and left the true calques. --Cam 13:36, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Doesn't Chinese calque every foreign word they find?Cameron Nedland 18:19, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Not Verified[edit]

This article strikes me as a questionable product of guesswork. I have a hard time believing that all these words and phrases are in fact calques. I think more care must be taken to document these words and to show that they are not the result of parallel linguistic evolution within a common cultural context, i.e. Europe, and show that they have been translated. BrianGCrawfordMA 23:58, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
With very few exceptions, it would be difficult to show the difference. An important exception is the Pushkin vocabulary of Russian. He (and a few of his circle) literally invented a great deal of modern Russian through calques. I don't believe there are many other instances where calques are so clearly documented and attributable to an individual.Donaldal 06:24, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
But your accusation of guesswork is itself just a guess, isn't it? I can't speak for any examples other than those from English and German, but all these are well-established and are cited in the literature and etymological dictionaries. However, the accusation of lack of documentation is fair enough. It would certainly be a good idea for a couple of the examples to be explained in detail and some suitable etymological dictionaries to be cited at the end. Obviously it would be even better to cite a dictionary for each example.
Contrary to what Donald says, there are perfectly straightforward lexicographical techniques for distinguishing loan-translations, certainly for recent times where we have good documentation. Such as the fact that the loan-translation often lives alongside a loan for a while, e.g. worldview and Weltanschaunung, where there can be no motivation for the loanword if the apparent loan-translation is in fact already in the language. (This is a problem with the article because of the separation from the one on loanwords - IMO it would be better to have a single article on linguistic borrowing which discusses the various categories and their inter-relation.) Often the loan translation is first found in a translated work. I don't see that every example needs to be explained, but the general techniques could be usefully covered. --Pfold 11:47, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Pfold is right. Another good example is Fagborun (1994); a study on the Yoruba koiné in which many calques are meticulously traced throughout early literature and the first Bible translation in Yoruba from the hand of Samuel A. Crowther. Fagborun devotes a sizable part of his study to the development of a methodological framework. — mark 13:01, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Eh? Funny indenting, there. Anyway, most of the entries look OK to me. I removed one false entry. --Kjoonlee 05:03, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

  • I want to sound the call for quality control for this article.
  1. Many of the examples are uncited and of dubious quality
  2. The definition of calque is not strong enough for a layman to distinguish between calque and loanword. Neither is the definition scholarly enough.
  3. If the list of calques grows any longer, each section should be put into their own article.
Kwarizmi 20:56, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Latin loanwords[edit]

I suggest that it would be useful to include one of the most famous examples of loanwords from Latin - gospel (Old English 'godspell', literally good news" from Latin evangelium.

Don't calques require more literal translations than that? (talk) 21:30, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

I checked because I was confused as to whether this was Latin or Greek, which what the article says it is. Greek is correct, so I created a new section, "From other languages," below, in which to discuss this one. (talk) 07:21, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

From other languages[edit]

Gospel - If this is a calque, I think the listing needs to include the explanation about it coming from the Old English "godspell", etc., listed above in the "Latin loanwords" section, because when I read the article, I had no idea why that was a calque, as "gospel" is not a compound word made from any two Modern English words. It only made sense when I read the above comment on this talk page.

Also, while the Old English "godspell" may have been a calque of the Greek "evangelion," I don't think that the Modern English corruption "gospel" really counts as a calque. Rather, I think that this is really just an interesting etymological anecdote, because of the fact that the expression "the Good News" is today used to mean the Gospel. (talk) 07:21, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Transliterated Ukrainian[edit]

Shouldn't the Ukrainian words be written in the Cyrillic alphabet (as the Russian words are) and not transliterated?

I was lazy when I typed it in. Either someone else do it, or I'll do it when I get home.-Iopq 21:57, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

French / English[edit]


Does anyone know if pourielle is also a calque or is it a french neologisme. It's used here in Manitoba and translates to junk mail(when it's email) so junk e-mail. Any how seeing as how it sounds more like rotten e-mail pu + courielle = pourielle. Does that seem like a calque? Also whoever said weekend is only used in france is wrong, I hear it here all the time, even though it's discouraged, and I would go for fin de semaine being a calque because good grammar would get fin de la semain, but a calque might drop that la since english doesn't use it.

French calques[edit]

  • are you claiming the French got their "end of week" concept ("fin de semaine") from the English? week-end is a loanword only used in France, it's not used in Québec and i'm not sure about Bénélux and Swiss. EnthusiastFRANCE 19:39, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
  • what about "face to face" ("face à face") EnthusiastFRANCE 20:06, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
Have you a source for face to face being a calque? Man vyi 20:03, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
i have no source for "face to face" yet, but i know the english "face" comes from the french word, hence the french expression came before the english expression. sounds logical don't you agree? EnthusiastFRANCE 20:06, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
No, the reasoning is faulty, that "face" is a loanword does neither prove nor disprove "face to face" is a calque. 惑乱 分からん 09:46, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Do we really think merciless is a calque? Wiki Wikardo 02:07, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

It might be, but we need a source. Kwarizmi 20:47, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Academic French discussion[edit]

  • tour de force is a straightforward borrowing, not a calque. A calque is a loan translation. if the phrase is not translated literally, it is not a calque. A hypothetical tour of force might well be a calque if translated literally from another language. And weekend is not the only word in French borrowed from English.
  1. fr:Marketing
  2. fr:Buzz (marketing)
  3. fr:Slogan

comes via English thought the origin is Gaelic) fr:Lobbying fr:Think tank fr:Spin doctor.... all loans. Man vyi 19:47, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

There is a strong difference between spoken french which is a free form rapidly evolving including TV quotes, alien languages, frenglish, verlan (spelling backward), argot (slang) or jargon (technical slang incorporating alien words). Spoken french is known as urban french or "abus de language". "Abus de language" means taking some liberties with the academic french including using a word for another, using "neologism" (to create new words), mixing parts of alien and french words together (frenglish like "parking" for "car park") or using brands (ex: "mobilhome"). French spoken mass media often uses "abus de language". The alien word are accepted as french when there are no academic french words to tell the same thing. The reason is each word is different, synonyms are slow variations not duplicates. EnthusiastFRANCE 20:48, 2 May 2006 (UTC)~
Academic french is the true official one, the one used in schoolbooks and dictionary (Le Robert, Larousse, etc), the one that is teached at school. Academic french is slow to evolve, new words have to be discussed by officials (at "l'Académie Française") before to be added in the new edition of a dictionary. You are not supposed to use urban french, nor "abus de langage" at school, this is not correct and marked as a mistake. EnthusiastFRANCE 20:49, 2 May 2006 (UTC)~

French Loanwords[edit]

  • This basic introduction made, let's take a look at these words of yours:
  1. "marketing" no this is tech slang (loanword), the academic french word is "étude de marché" which is not a calque (BTW "market" comes from the french "marché")
  2. "buzz"'s a 00's media, spoken word and technical media word only. The french is "bouche à oreille" (lit. "mouth to ear") which is an old expression. I don't think "buzz" is in the Robert dictionary yet. This is definitely not a loanword nor a calque.
  3. "slogan" academic french is "formule" but "slogan" is commonly used since quite a time now so i'm ok with this one!
  • The words you think are loanwords are only "abus de language", technical english words used in the marketing business ("business" itself is "abus de langage", urban variation is "bizness", but the french word is "les affaires" which is not a calque). The reason these English words are used in a French phrase is the words are used in "convention d'entreprise" when the french employees have to travel to another country (UK/US) to learn the ways of the enterprise. These words are also imported by American/English companies establishing in France and using their domestic technical language (McDonalds, Packard-Bell, Chevrolet, etc).
  1. "lobbying" and "lobby" are used on media and talk, but the french academic for "lobby" is "groupe de pression" which is not a calque. I don't think there is french for "lobbying".
  2. "Think tank" what's this? never heard about, even not in english! this can't be an official french word.
  3. "spin doctor" ask a french about "Spin Doctor" he will be puzzled or will answer "Two Princes". This is not academic french you'll find in a dictionary. The french wiki stub only states: <"spin doctor": La traduction française la plus approchante proposée est : docteur folimage"> "spin doctor" is not even a loanword, i's an english word used by very few. If searching for the hypothetical "docteur folimage" calque, you'll find peanuts. These are urban words used by very few!
  • I'm affraid the french wiki cannot be refered as an official dictionary, since everyone from the planet can write what he wants inthere (including false theories, rumor, etc).
  • There are many comic sketches (for gag) about people using neologism or english tech words dans le texte. EnthusiastFRANCE 20:06, 2 May 2006 (UTC)~

Known english to french loanwords[edit]

  1. "sketch" (there is no french word for this, this is a loan)
  2. "gag" (same here)
  3. "self" (short for "self service" restaurant/gas station meanings only, loan)
  4. "fast food" (but academic officials are figthing for "restauration rapide" which is actually a calque, we found one at last!)
  5. "budget" (coming from the Old French "bugette") EnthusiastFRANCE 20:07, 2 May 2006 (UTC)~

False loanwords[edit]

  1. "flop" (a commercial failure used by media)
  2. "videoclip" (common use for a musical promo movie, french is "séquence vidéo" which sounds like a calque) EnthusiastFRANCE 20:08, 2 May 2006 (UTC)~
(Aren't these true loanwords?) 惑乱 分からん 11:52, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Sure English to French calque (dialects)[edit]

  • I've found a english to french which was added in the French "Le Robert" academic dictionary (the French's holy bible) in the 00's it is "Courriel" from englais "Email". I don't think it's commonly used in France, but rather the english straighforward. I know it's officially used in Québéc though (traditional french as spoken in Canada), i don't know about the Flamand (french language variation used in Belgium) which is set somewhere the "Québécois" (traditional french) and France french (modern french).

EnthusiastFRANCE 20:09, 2 May 2006 (UTC)~

Sure Words (Latin-French-English)[edit]

  • "anus mundi" latin giving "asshole of the world" english. ADDED
  • the french latin calque -"trou du cul du monde" also exists but is rarely used, because of it's vulgarity, the straightforward latin is commonly used instead in this language. EnthusiastFRANCE 05:39, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

Unsure Words[edit]

  • Under Louis XVI's reign, French was the international language like the English became in the late XXth and early XXIst centuries that's why you'll find many french calques created around this period.
  • i know a newy it's an english from french, it is "french doctor" ever heard of? it refers to Bernard Kouchner (french fame doctor, works at the UN) and humanist's "Médecins sans Frontière" (lit.: "Doctors whithout border") NGO. It is not a calque though since "Docteur français" doesn't exist in french as it "Médecins sans Frontière". This is en english "abus de langage"! ^^
  • "middle age" english from french "moyen age" (english word "age" comes from the french "âge" so the french expression was created before the english)
  • "stronghold" english from french "place forte" (it was already in the list you removed)
  • "cul par dessus tête" is used in english as "head over heels" (with vulgar "ass" removed and replaced by neutral "heels").
  • "new born" (english) from "nouveau né" (french)
  • "it's life" (english) from "c'est la vie" (french)
  • "as well" (english) is a calque from "aussi bien" (french).
  • "ballbreaker" (eng) from "casse couille" (fre), with english "ball" coming from "boule" ("balle" is closer and also exists in french). a ball breaker is very same as a "casseur de couille!" ("boule" is also used in french for "couille"). Excuse my french! LOL
  • "high speaker" (english) / "haut parleur" (français). i don't know which one came first. *for "fairground" (eng) "champs de foire" (fre): same.
  • UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) / OVNI (Objet Volant Non Identifié): french and english are sthe same but i just know which one is the 1st.

EnthusiastFRANCE 08:12, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

UFO was the model for OVNI, the French Wikipedia page states the creation from early American history. Otherwise, several of these examples seem too vague to be calques: "Newbown" and "That's life" seems extremely doubtful. That's "loudspeaker", not "high speaker", and I definitely suspect that French calqued English here. 惑乱 分からん 23:31, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
OVNI - I dont think that OVNI should be included because it is not a literal word-for-word translation, as I understand the meaning of calque to be. "Objet Volant Non Identifié" does actually make sense in French. I think that if this were a true calque, it would be "Non Identifié Volant Objet" (with the French words in the English word order). No matter which language this first appeared in, it does not seem to be a calque in either one.
as well - I disagree with including this term. First, it depends on the context of the English "as well." For example, in the sentence "I like to sing, as well," French would not use "aussi bien." In the sentence "I sing as well as you do," French does use "aussi bien," but I would not call this an example of calque because "aussi" is not the primary word used to mean "as;" "as" usually translates as "comme," and "aussi" usually means "also" or "too." Perhaps if the English expression was "also well" then this would be a calque. Instead this is really an example of two different languages using words with two different meanings when making comparatives.
C'est la vie - Although we do say "That's life" in English, I don't think that this really counts as a calque because 1) this does make sense in English, and 2) we have other similar constructions that make sense. For example, I could say "That's politics, for you," etc. Also, a word-by-word translation would be "that's the life."
This is my first time posting on Wikipedia so I hope I did this right. :) (talk) 06:48, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

English from German[edit]


  • there is probably "autoroute" (french) / "autobahn" (german): i don't know which country had the infrastructure first.
  • sunbath (english) / bain de soleil (french): i'm not sure which came first as "bath" is not a french word but an old german one.
  • middle class: concept probably introduced by Marx and coming form the German "mittlere Klasse".

EnthusiastFRANCE 09:10, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

English kindergarten calques German Kindergarten? Seems like a loanword, unless the change in capitalization counts! --rmbh 23:05, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it's a loanword, a calque would have been "Childgarden". 惑乱 分からん 23:17, 4 August 2006 (UTC)


  • Submarine is not a translation, therefore not a calque. German Unterseeboot is more likely (but not certainly) a calque. Man vyi 07:31, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Civil war probably from Latin in both cases; civil status (not "civil state") arguable; soundtrack not a calque ("track" is not a translation of "bande"). Man vyi 08:04, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
"sub" is a Latin word (under) used by English language. The "Submarinus" Latin concept (and de facto the word itself) existed long before the "submarine" English word, therefore "submarine" could be a translation (and a calque). EnthusiastFRANCE 09:05, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Superman being the same as Overman is arguable (since overman does not exist in english and is only a rough translation), ubermensch and overman are the same, but "super" exists in deutsch so it's more supermensch-superman. Super comes from Latin "supra" and means "on top of" (over). EnthusiastFRANCE 09:12, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
  • foreword -> Vorwort and not Vorwart [1]
  • cross-dressing The german origin sounds bizarre because the german word comes actually from latin trans (cross) vestio (dress). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:38, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Rückbildung is more primarily used as "degeneration", though it is not always the best usage «Verfall» is more often used in the normal English meaning of things falling apart. Regardless, «Bildung» on its own, in the noun form means "education", and in this compound usage; "formation". It never means "building", which is always some form of «Bau». In addition the footnote contains no mention of «Rückbildung» Hechz (talk) 14:01, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
  • The German word for masterpiece is Meisterwerk, while Meisterstück must refer to what a craftsman has to deliver when wantig to become a master of his trade. Since I did not check the source, I haven't changed Meisterstück into the correct Meisterwerk, but would propose to do so. Strombomboli (talk) 23:11, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I checked the reference, understood the misunderstanding, and changed the entry. Strombomboli (talk) 23:18, 1 August 2009 (UTC)


  • "sturm" is "storm" not "assault", therefore not a calque, since soundtrack is not considered a calque. ("storm riffle" is not "assault rifle"). I've removed: <"English assault rifle calques German Sturmgewehr"> EnthusiastFRANCE 09:13, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

In English the verb "to storm" also means "to assault" so the two would be synonyms in a millitary context - I'm assuming "assault" can translate "sturm"? My German isn't good enough to answer that question Reynardthefox 18:36, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

In this context, yes. Ansturm, for instance, is "assault" (noun), and stürmen usually means assault (verb). Sturmgewehr doesn't come from Sturm (= "storm" (noun)), but from stürmen (= "assault" (verb)). —Nightstallion (?) 16:09, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
So does this mean that the deletion should be undone? (Just making sure resolution occurs.) — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 23:22, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I've taken out quite a few non-examples from the German-to-English list:

automobile, where the Latin roots do not translate the German
cobalt, dollar, glitz, glitzy, which are simple borrowings (with respelling)
mad cow disease, which does not translate Creutzfeldt-Jakob
gramophone, masochism, microphone, which are borrowings adaptated to English spelling convention (convention relating to words from Greek or Latin roots)
Kris Kringle, which is a fanciful interpretation of the German, possibly a folk etymology, but certainly not a translation in any sense
realistic politics, which is not a term used in English (It's not even in Wiktionary, and instances in the "Google corpus" are either apparent glosses of the German term (in quotes) or simple adjective-noun constructions rather than established phrases
submarine, which, as a vessel, is transferred from the adjective, an old borrowing from Latin ('Submarine boat' would be a loan-translation, but does not occur.)
tank, which is independent of Panzerwagen and the pre-existing English word is not semantically related to either Panzer or Wagen
parentship test, which has absolutely no instances in a Goolge search (2 pages both referring to the quality of parenting)

I suggest that diseases where the name of the disease is adopted as is with the English 'disease' substituted for 'Krankheit', as it must be, is not a loan-translation, but it's certainly arguable. Klippa (talk) 23:17, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree; see my entry below. "(Proper name's) disease" from "(Proper name's) Krankheit" isn't a loan translation, unless the proper name is translated too (which would be erroneous, since proper names are generally NOT translated). I'd say there'd be more of an argument if there were two or more common-noun elements along with a proper name: those two (or more) elements might satisfy the requirements of a calque. --SigPig |SEND - OVER 07:23, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

More removals:

  • "alpenglow:" Partial translation only; "Alpenglow is a partial translation of German Alpenglühen, from Alpen, 'Alps' + glühen, 'to glow.'"[2]; "Origin: 1870–75; < G Alpenglühen, with "glow" r. G glühen"[3]
  • "apple strudel": Partial trans of German Apfelstrudel; Strudel is a German loanword; a calque would be "apple whirlpool"[4]
  • "backpack": no citation to prove it's a calque of Rucksack (itself a loanword into English). Rucksack would calque into English as "backsack"; to translate Sack to "pack" is a stretch and leans toward OR without a cite
  • "cookbook": cite links nowhere; dictionaries only list the word as an Americanism.

--SigPig |SEND - OVER 07:57, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

And more:
  • "clinker": Loanword, not calque.[5]
  • "subscribe": Loanword from Latin.[6] "Underwrite", already mentioned, is the calque.[7]
  • "brandywine": Partial calque; true calque would be "burning wine", as attested within the article.
  • "Santa Claus": Loan of Sinterklaas,[[8]] itself a corruption of Sint Niklaas, a calque of which would be "Saint Nicholas", which undoubtedly already existed in English.
  • "pineapple": All the etym dictionaries I checked -- Merriam Webster,, American Heritage, Online Etym, Word Detective, etc -- only list it as Middle English origin, originally applied to the pinecone; the name got tagged to the fruit because of its resemblance to the cone, whence the second name was coined. The only cite is website for a landscaper; and while he may be knowledgeable about botany, I cannot see any credentials on his site as an etymologist, linguist, or philologist; for our purposes, I don't think he's a WP:RS. --SigPig |SEND - OVER 08:27, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. Didn't see that SigPig entry below after after his prior removal of almost exactly the same German non-calques I removed (apparently reverted in the interim). Is it certain that a *partial* calque (such as alpenglow or brandywine) is not a calque and therefore doesn't belong on this page? I've always thought of several such terms in English as of the same sort as other loan translations. (I prefer 'loan-translation', as it's a very common term and 'calque' strikes me as arcane. Or is there a slight difference in use?) Klippa 00:26, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
The dicdefs I consulted (M-W, AHD, RH, Chambers) do not mention partial calques; they seem to indicate that it must be a complete translation. They could perhaps be listed in a separate section, with a subsection over at loanword referring back here, since a partial calque is also a partial loanword.
As for the proper name, M-W and AHD prefer "loan translation", while RH and Chambers prefer "calque"; AHD includes the meaning of "loanshift" under "calque", so that sense must also be included here, or else "calque" should become a dab page for "loan translation" and "loanshift". However, in all of these entries, "calque" is strictly a noun, not a verb. I think the all the entries "Foo calques Grenovian bar" should be converted into a table (English word, original word, language, note, cite).--SigPig |SEND - OVER 13:23, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Romance words for film[edit]

Isn't French "pellicule (photographique)", Spanish "película (fotográfica)", Portuguese "película (fotográfica)" and Italian "pellicola (fotografica)" calques of (photographic) film, with both words originally referring to skin or hide?

While I was adding cites...[edit]

...I removed the following:

  • chopsticks: "Chop" from Pidgin for "quick"
  • vicious circle: from Latin circulus vitisus, circular argument, not "vicious circle"
  • dog days: from Latin diēs canīculāris, "dog star days"

There are a few others I'm concerned about, but I won't touch them until I have done further research. Nor will I add any calques I know of until I can find a decent cite (like "captain of industry"). --SigPig 05:53, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Multi-language calques[edit]

Webhat 02:12, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

The last isn't a calque; it's the proper name of an organization. It would be a calque if "doctors without borders" were a common English phrase. -- SigPig |SEND - OVER 04:14, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

From the article (Skyscrapers section): Telugu: ""అంబరచుంబితం"" ("aMbaracuMbitaM") appears to be a phonetic. Is there a literal translation? Otherwise, this may be vandalism.Mzmadmike (talk) 06:27, 25 April 2013 (UTC)


It would be very helpful if both non-Latin character sets and Latin-charset transliterations were used when giving terms in Greek, Chinese, Russian, etc. Without the latter, the non-Latin text is meaningless "noise" to most readers. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 23:20, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Agree... 惑乱 分からん 01:47, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree, and further suggest as a general practice to improve readability, that Cyrillic and Greek (but especially Cyrillic) characters be bolded when they occur in the midst of Latin text -- otherwise it's easy to confuse, e.g., the Cyrillic р in ресторан (restoran, "restaurant") with the Latin "p" in "petunia." Throbert McGee 01:56, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
In that case, I'd prefer italics. Bold text stands out too much... 惑乱 分からん 02:05, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Please don't use italics for Cyrillic: ресторан becomes ресторан, with т (т in italics) visually equal to m (m in italics). Doloco (talk) 15:44, 22 September 2010 (UTC)


If someone would like to find sources, I could recommend the sites , and . Try to avoid guesswork. 惑乱 分からん 12:47, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Days of the week cleanup[edit]

Further explanation is needed with regard to those items under Latin, since it will not at all be evident to the average reader how these are actually calques through deity name substitution, in several cases. The source quoted for Wedenesday actually covers all of them, and the one for Tuesday appears to be a mis-cite, since it does not address "Tuesday" at all. Didn't look at the rest of them. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 19:06, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Wednesday, thursday and friday did not come from the latin words for those days. These days are named after Germanic gods. Wednesday comes from Woden's day. Thursday comes from Thor's day and Friday comes from Frig's day. I dont know if Germanic tribes had such days, but the names themselves come from there, not Latin.
Right; we know all that already. The conention is that this naming was arrived at by simple local-deity name substitution from the Latin originals. I.e., it is a "complex calque", if you will. The sources presently cited, however, do not establish this, making the passage technically an instance of the forbidden original research, though of course it can actually be cited. The point is, it needs to be and soon, or the article is in danger of either AfD or truncation of the offending material. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:16, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Is this really the right approach for this article?[edit]

I think it's useful to have a few well established examples of calques as well as a few non-calques, but an exhaustive list of calques seems for one to serve little purpose but also to be doomed to failure, considering that there must be 10s of thousands of calques in various languages, probably hundreds in English alone. This is not even taking into account the rather cursory standards of verifiability encountered in most of the etymologies used as sources. OK, a dictionary is cited - where did the dictionary get it from? - a conventional dictionary without citations is not a reliable source for much else besides widely accepted meanings and spelling conventions. Tarchon 01:02, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes, there are too many undifferentiated examples. When defining something such as "idiom", it's a useful concept, because it helps people learning the language. Labeling it as an idiom says to the learner "Don't attempt to understand this phrase by decomposing it literally." To me, something of the same applies here. Some phrases a learner would struggle with, because they don't "fit" in a known pattern. For example "beer garden". There are "rose gardens" -- with roses, there are "herb gardens" -- with herbs, there are "botanical gardens" -- which emphasize botanical varieties, but what's a "beer garden" in that framework? A garden where beer is grown? It's useful to understand that the phrase is a calque. It's a concept from a foreign culture.
Knowing something is a calque also helps understanding words in foreign languages. For example, the French word "ligne" in the phrase "en ligne". Knowing it's not a part of the regular patterns of the use of the word "ligne" avoids having someone with limited French skills scrambling for a dictionary.
Including entries such as "watershed" in the article may be correct, but a special case. (Or possibly contestable: the OED only says it "probably" comes from the German.) One may know that watershed comes from Wasserscheide, but the word seems idiomatic in German, anyhow ("water" + "separates" ?). It might be worth noting in the article that calques of idioms are themselves idioms.
Including entries such as "staircase wit" is probably unuseful as a typical example. The Wiki entry shows it is "rare", so as an example it's weak. However, there is another aspect to "staircase wit", which, again, might make it a useful example of a special case. From what the Wiki page says, staircase wit comes from both the French and the German. That's an amusing concept, worth investigation.
Alpha Ralpha Boulevard (talk) 17:30, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Removal of OR[edit]

I removed the following (English calques of German):

  • English alpenglow calques German Alpenglühen
    • Only one part is translated; if it were a calque, it would be "Alpine glow"
  • English Alzheimer's disease calques German Alzheimer Krankheit
  • English Arons tube calques German Aronssche Röhre (lit. Arons
  • English Braun tube calques German Braunsche Röhre
  • English Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or Mad cow disease calques German Creutzfeldt-Jakob-Krankheit
    • I'm not sure about the provenance of the diseases, machines, etc of the form "Normalverbraucher Dingsbums" or "Mustermann Krankheit", where only one part of the compound is translated, and the other, being a proper name, is brought in directly. If CJ disease was called wütende Kuhkrankheit ("mad cow disease"), that's definitely be a calque.
  • English apple strudel calques German Apfelstrudel
    • Only the first word is translated, the second is a loanword. Not a calque.
  • English automobile calques German Kraftwagen(lit. Machinized wagon")
    • That's not a calque. An English calque of the German would be "mechanized wagon". "Automobile" comes from the French.
  • English Kris Kringle calques German Christkindl(lit. "Christ child")
    • Mispronuciation, not a calque.
  • English cookbook calques German Kochbuch
    • At least this is a calque, but the dictionaries give its origin as American, 1800s.
  • English glitzy calques German glitzern(lit. "glittering")
  • English glitz calques German glitzerig(lit. "glittering")
    • Not calques, because not translated.
  • English gramophone calques German Grammefon
    • Nope. Inversion of phonogram, borrowed from Greek. Since it's not translated into English, it's not a calque anyway.
  • English microphone calques German Mikrefon
    • Ditto. Not a calque. And from Greek, anyway.

The others that got flushed with the revert, I'm putting back in, with either a cite (if I can find one) or a fact tag. --SigPig |SEND - OVER 05:38, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

country or region names used in english phrases (CORNUIEPS)[edit]

Is there a special word for this concept????

This is for all the phrases in the english language using the name of a foreign country to describe something. English Phrase using a foreign countries as and adjective for a better formatting see:

What they call it in the adjectival country's language What the foreign phrase literally means translated into English Meaning in English Contributor

French kiss

Turkish Delight rahat lokum,

Brazil nuts castanhas-do-Pará chestnuts from Pará",

French Leave

French Polish

Dutch courage

Russian roulette


Dutch courage

Spanish fly

La vice anglais: French slang ( argot ) meaning English-vice , sadomasochistic sexual activities involving flagellation.

Greek fire

French windows

Prussian Blue

Eau de Cologne

Danish Blue

Spanish Bowline

Dutch Cap

Swede "kålrot" (cabbage root).

Rusian vine

Scotch mist Scotch Mist refers to a light, steady drizzle, the name being typical of the Scottish penchant for understatement.

Chinese Burn

Maltese cross

The English Disease Jerry Williams

Welsh Rarebit Jerry Williams

Polish Spirit Jerry Williams

Swiss Roll Jerry Williams

Mexican Wave Jerry Williams

China (porcelein) Jerry Williams

Sex is rife with examples: - Mal de Naples French Letters a Brazilian Jerry Williams

Danish pastry Bob Carne

Indian summer Bob Carne

Portuguese Man of War Bob Carne

Sardines? Bob Carne

Eau de Cologne Bob Carne

Venetian blinds BobCarne

Mexican Stand-off Dave Andrews

german shepherd Bob Carne

scotch eggs Bob Carne

Chinese Whispers Andrew Garside

China syndrome Jerry Williams

Cullinary examples Jerry Williams

Baked Alaska Jerry Williams

Norwegian Omelette Jerry Williams

Spanish Omlette Jerry Williams

French Beans Jerry Williams

Chinese Walls

Yorkshire puddings Bob Carne creme anglais Custard

Russian vine

Yorkshire pudding Yorkshire

Lancashire hotpot

hotpot  —Preceding unsigned comment added by Engineman (talkcontribs) 15:09, 23 September 2007 (UTC) 

Long Time No See[edit]

Even though this expression does sound like the sort that would come from the Chinese language, I do remember reading in a general-interest book that this expression came from Native Americans. If so, then the source I read doesn't agree with the one posted on the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Charizardpal (talkcontribs) 00:51, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Here is a simple links that support that this phrase is actually a native-american one. Having personally read about this at least once from a printed source, I don't totally trust wikipedia and the internet on the consensus that the phrase is of Chinese origin.

Furthermore, I have just clicked on the reference given by the original author and found a dead link. Therefore I'm going to remove the sentence, although it's interesting, until someone can provide a reputable citation. I'll post the removed section for record here:

I re-added the entry with a link to; the cite is from the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms; it looks like doesn't deal with them any more. I got rid of the Chinese itself, since I can't find evidence of the transliteration, only that it comes from Chinese. I'll add a (see also below) with a link to Online Etym, as soon as Without a Trace is over. --SigPig |SEND - OVER 02:33, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Lots of Chinese in the nineteeth century American west; perhaps what the linguistics world needs (or may already have) is a name for the creole that the injuns and the rail workers and the bastard cowboys and everyone else used when they were drinking together in frontier saloons and a-hootin and a-hollerin and whatnot and yippee ki yi yay.

Calques from German[edit]

I also rm the following:

  • Alpenglow: Partial translation at best:[11][12]
  • apple strudel: ditto - "Strudel" is not an English word, its literal translation is "whirlpool" or "eddy".[13]
  • backpack: No dictionary evidence that it's derived from Rucksack,[14][15][16] itself a loanword.
  • Santa Claus: not a calque.

I'm not overly comfortable with "pineapple": only cite is a gardener's website; and while I do not deny he may be an expert in that field, it does not make him an expert linguist. None of the dictionaries I checked - Merriam-Webster, AskOxford,, Online Etymology, Chambers - makes any reference to Dutch. The only reference to a non-English origin that I can find is Robert Hendrickson's The Facts On File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins (1997, Checkmark Books, NY, ISBN: 0-8160-4088-5) which says "The Spanish conquistadores named this fruit piña because of its pine-cone shape and the English translated piña to pineapple, which they also called the cones of the pine tree." (p. 527) Word Detective only mentions "Europeans" naming the fruit to an existing English word. --SigPig |SEND - OVER 15:32, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Hi! I performed most of the removals yesterday, before I had read the talk-page here. It is very frustrating to learn that most of the entries I had to removed as incorrect or unsourced have already been removed twice before by User:SigPig and User:Klippa. Persistent and repeated insertion of incorrect material without discussion is highly disruptive; the editor in question seems to have misunderstood the distinction between calques and straight loanwords, and does not seem to have much experience in German translation.
It would be nice if someone cast their eye over my edits to check them and get a second opinion. Furthermore, I fully agree with SigPig's later removals; I should have picked those up myself! It's nice to read this talk-page and find a large group of editors doing so much work and research to maintain this article's integrity. Knepflerle 10:25, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
...and I've had to remove them again. Same entries, same reasons to remove them. This needs watching for in the future. Knepflerle (talk) 00:59, 28 December 2007 (UTC)


Do pidgin phrases really count as calques? They're more a combination of two languages than one language borrowing entirely from another, especially since phrases like "long time no see" didn't exist until such pidgin sprung up.

Additionally, is "long time no see" (most of the Chinese-English pidgin phrases, for that matter) really a calque from Chinese? It's more of a phrase that originated in English out of necessity. (talk) 21:26, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

One can see that pidgins would invent calques for convenience (or use existing calques), but as you imply, pidgin creation is not dependent on calques. Probably there are pidgins with no calques whatever? Alpha Ralpha Boulevard (talk) 18:10, 20 July 2008 (UTC)


Chashmal is not a Hebrew calque of Greek's Electra, and is actually a new twist for an old word found in the book of Prophets to describe a fiery power or substance. I recommend that it be removed from the article. You can see a longer explanation of Chashmal here: (talk) 03:36, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

From german: Intelligenzquotient[edit]

Despite the given source at, the correct term in german is "Intelligenzquotient" or "Intelligenz-Quotient". -- (talk) 17:51, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Old Church Slavonic -> Macedonian?[edit]

"The modern Macedonian language inherits much of its lexicon from Old Church Slavonic. The Saints Cyril and Methodius who developed the language in the 9th century(...)"

This is silly at best. I suggest removal. Rosier (talk) 18:19, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

You dispute that the Macedonian language inherits a large portion of its lexicon from OCS or that the Saints Cyril and Methodius developed OCS in the 9th century? --Hegumen (talk) 13:49, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
1.Prove all the words you cited that were constructed in 9th century.
2.Secondly if such words exist, they should be cited as calques of Old Church Slavonic.
3.All Slavic languages inherited from OCS. (talk) 13:33, 19 July 2008 (UTC)


Since the English word for burning is "burning", and not "brandy", then brandywine is clearly not a calque. It is just a plain borrowing, respelt using English spelling conventions. TharkunColl (talk) 19:22, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

I noticed that too. Will remove. Gr8white (talk) 19:22, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

German calques[edit]

A lot of the examples mentioned under German may not be calques but words that share a common development ("world war," "beer garden," "loan word," "thought experiment," etc.). The compounding process is very similar in English and German and more importantly, both languages share basic idioms and syntatical relationships. It's inevitable then that either identical compound words would appear simultaneously in both languages or the development of a new word in one would be imitated immediately in the other.

What distinguishes a calque from a word of common origin for me is the tendency for a calque have a strangeness to it if one thinks about it literally. This is not the case for most of the words listed under German except perhaps "superman," "antibody," "standpoint," etc. G. Csikos, 26 June 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:42, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree generally (although not specifically with "beer garden", see my comments above in "Is this really the right approach for this article?"). It is possible for phrases in different languages to have a common syntactical basis. For someone bilingual, the natural (or perhaps lazy) way to select a phrase in one language is to use a phrase they already know in another language.

The "strangeness" of a calque is key. It's something beyond the peculiarity of an idiom, because it's an important enough concept in a foreign culture that it's been imported. There's likely a cultural background. An idiom doesn't necessarily have that distinction. Understanding that "beer garden" comes from modern German, one can go to German sources for a comprehensive explanation. An idiom, somewhat oppositely, may have originated within a language; its meaning is likely to become obscured by the passage of time; its original meaning may be unrecoverable or speculative.

Alpha Ralpha Boulevard (talk) 18:00, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Chinese academic vocabulary calques[edit]

Chinese vocabulary uses innumeral calques from Greek and other western languages for scientific (ie. hippopotamus, is translated word-for-word as "river horse"), political, and economic words. Should I try to put in some of them? Le Anh-Huy (talk) 17:21, 31 December 2008 (UTC)


The page says,

"mandag (Monday), from Old Norse mánadagr ("moon day") calques Latin dies lunae.[64] The name of every day of the week, except lørdag (Saturday), are loan-translations from Latin."

This is incorrect. Tuesday through Friday are all from Norse gods.

Tirsdag (Tuesday) is from the god Tyr; onsdag (Wednesday) is from Odin; torsdag (Thursday) is from Tor/Thor; and fredag (Friday) is Frey/Freya.

Whomever is involved in the editing of the page should correct this accordingly. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:27, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

The words were calqued using the equivalent Norse gods substituting the Roman. Mars = Tyr, Mercurius = Odin, Jupiter = Thor, Venus = Freya/Frigg. (For some reason Saturn/Saturday was never calqued, just borrowed or replaced with a random name, although Freyrs original name *Ingwaz is quite distinct from Freya/Frigg.) 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 00:44, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Split article, archive talk page[edit]

After a quick glance at the article it's pretty clear to me that there needs to be a more in-depth and better-structured page solely dealing with topics like:

  • What are calques?
  • How do they happen?
  • Where does the term "calque" come from?
  • How are they different from loanwords and cognates?
  • Are there languages which are particularly notable for their usage of calques?

and the rest of the content (the long, currently messy list) should be split to List of calques.

Also, this talk page is getting quite hairy, and I can only imagine that most of the questions raised here have been dealt with. Someone who's been watching this article for longer than I have could offer a better assessment. Greg Ravn (talk) 20:26, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Had the same idea and split out the lists to List of calques. The other suggestions made here are good ones. Knepflerle (talk) 18:07, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Grass mud horse[edit]

This seems like a terrible example to me. Unlike every other item listed on the page, the Chinese phrase has not been adopted into any other language; it has merely been translated in order to explain the joke. – Smyth\talk 21:55, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

A calque is any word or phrase in a language formed by translating a word in another language word-for-word or morpheme-by-morpheme, according to Wiktionary. The definition provided by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is very similar, even though it is not worded in the same way as Wiktionary.
Grass mud horse is a word-of-word translation of cǎo ní mǎ (草泥马) into English. Grass mud horse literally means a true horse that eats grass and plays in the mud. However, grass mud horse can mean:
  • The mythical creature, usually depicted as an alpaca, that lives in the Gobi desert. The grass mud horse has also been depicted in some sources as an vicuna, llama, or zebra. I have not seen any grass mud horse depictions featuring a true horse, even though some depictions of the grass mud horse feature an appearance that has similarities with true horses.
  • An ordinary individual being oppressed by government censors
  • To insult your mother
  • One who insults your mother
I believe that grass mud horse fits the definition of a calque because:
Is there a different linguistic term that fits grass mud horse than a calque or loan translation?
Jplatts (talk) 01:37, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it's a translation, nothing more. Most straight word-for-word translations are not calques, because the key attribute of a calque, like a loanword, is that it must actually have been adopted into the target language, to the extent of being listed in dictionaries of that language. All the other examples on this page meet this criteria.

"Grass mud horse" does not qualify, because the phrase's entire current life in English and other languages consists of discussions of the original Chinese joke. It has no independent existence from the Chinese phrase. It is not part of any other language, and due to its nature as homophonic pun, probably never will be. Can you find a reliable source indicating that a significant number of regular English speakers are now, in day-to-day communication outside of the context of this joke, using "grass mud horse" as a euphemism for "motherfucker" or "victim of censorship"? If not, it doesn't belong on this list. – Smyth\talk 16:55, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Running dog[edit]

What does "running dog" mean? The link goes to a book! -- (talk) 22:22, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

See Also[edit]

Shouldn't this article have a link to the List of Calques, and vice-versa? -- clahey (talk) 15:46, 15 September 2010 (UTC)


I distrust the explanation of bienvenue as used in Quebec French. Welcome in English can be used in two contexts, i.e. a) "Welcome to our city (our country, our home)" and b) in the exchange, "Thank you...You're welcome". However, standard French has only the first. (For the second, one would say "De rien" or similar.) It is generally thought that the second usage was introduced into Quebec French by native speakers of English who (incorrectly) used bienvenue in this sense. However, I cannot document this.

I agree. "Bienvenue" doesn't belong, unless we're saying that it was borrowed from English, even though it already existed in French with a different meaning, which isn't likely. This use of "bienvenue" is more accurately called a "loanshift", using the terminology of Einar Haugen (a native word that shifts its meaning as a result of foreign language contact). It would be better off in the Language Contact article, or at least Loanword. (talk) 04:16, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

"Translation" as an example of a calque[edit]

It's unclear to me exactly why all these words are calques. What is the original language from which they are calqued? If it is Latin, then the article must state explicitly that translatio is Latin for "translation" (which it doesn't currently). The mother-daughter relationship between Latin and the Romance languages makes these cases especially tricky. Grover cleveland (talk) 02:41, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

German is full of calques because, at times, Germans have taken pride in avoiding Latin and Greek. Thus "Fernsprecher" where everybody else says telephone and "Mitleidigkeit" for condolence, sympathy. (Since the war Germans have adopted words enthusiastically: "handy" for mobile phone even though they do not usually use the letter y.)

Japanese makes up Chinese words the way we make up Greek ones. Sometimes this gives a calque. "Sekiyuu" is written with two Chinese characters. The first is used on its own for the word ishi, stone, but seki in compounds; the second is abura, oil on its own but yuu in compounds. So sekiyuu is stone-oil - petroleum. Since the war they have borrowed words so now they say gasorin and write it phonetically.

Bukovets (talk) 15:08, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Section on "translation" is (still?) unclear[edit]

So, um, wtf, people? A 13k article with a 70k talk page?? Only in linguistics. :D Anyways, the section that talks about the word "translation" seems to state that it both is and is not a calque. The first line says its derived from translatio, but it is also listed as a word calqued from traducere. So which is it? Eaglizard (talk) 02:57, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

The various-language terms, as stated, have been calqued either on transferre or on traducere; in the case of the English term, on transferre. Seems pretty straightforward. Nihil novi (talk) 18:32, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
transferre is not even noted in the section, and the example is anything but straightforward. This seems to be a corner case of calquing in the first place, if it even is calquing, excepting the Germanics. It's clear that Ubersetzung is a calque from the latin, but it is unclear how traduccion or translation are calqued from the latin, as opposed to normal derivation from latin. Since neither "trans" nor "lation" are english words, I don't understand how this can be a calque in English, or 80% of the other language on that list. Maybe I just don't get it, but wouldn't a calque of the latin "translatio" be an "across-bringing"? Please explain this to me and revise the article to clarify. In the meantime, I'm deleting it because it is clearly a weird edge case and is not conducive to understanding whatsoever. Vile-eight (talk) 06:29, 12 December 2016 (UTC)
I have revised the "translation" section. I think the current version addresses your concerns.
Please let me know of any further concerns. Thanks.
Nihil novi (talk) 04:00, 17 December 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for modifying, it is much more clear. However, I'm afraid you're missing the forest for the trees on this word. This is a poor representative example of a calque, as according to this article, the defining feature of a calque is a literal translation to the new language. "Translation" contains no English roots other than those taken directly from the loaning Latin word. I see a citation to a printed reference to support your contention that this is indeed a calque (notably, it is not included in List_of_calques), but I'm unable to verify it. Nevertheless, even if it has been called a calque at some point, it does not seem instructive to feature this word, as it is a bizarre corner case of calquing, to the extent that it is a calque. The article at List_of_calques lists a large number of regular and understandable calques that would certainly be more instructive to readers than "translation". The only helpful aspect of "translation" as a calque is the translation to German -- the English explanation only serves to confuse the reader, and I strongly suspect the status of "translation" as a calque is debatable.
Secondarily, there is already an example of a loan-translation calque on this page, and a List_of_calques, so I'm not sure what function this entry would serve even if it were terribly straight-forward. Would you agree to replacing with another calque, or removal? Vile-eight (talk) 00:40, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments.
I don't think that "List of calques" would claim to be an exhaustive list of the world's calques.
The current "calque" article does not argue that the English word "translation" is a calque. But the Latin roots of that English word have been one of the two principal sources of European languages' words for the concept—words that certainly comprise Germanic or Slavic roots, respectively.
Since many words have entered the world's languages via translation, including translation by calque, it seems fitting to highlight the calque sources of many languages' words for the concept of translation.
Nihil novi (talk) 03:35, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
Ahh, the heart of the matter. Thanks for working it through with me. The previous version indeed implied to me and apparently User:Eaglizard that the article was arguing "translation" was calqued into English. The confusion seems to stem from the use of the word "translation" in the section header, as well as in the first paragraph of the section. Since "translation", the English word, has not been calqued, I'm not sure why it's even used in the article. Wouldn't a header of "translatio" make more sense? I think this would avoid the confusion.
In the revised version you produced, the English is discussed in the first paragraph, further compounding the problem. In other words, if translation is not calqued in English, then why is it the section title and first paragraph's subject? I've revised the ordering of the paragraphs to reflect that. I think the previous version would have been fine as well, but needed to be careful using of the word "Translation" at all, since it is not a calque, and the language that have calqued "translatio" have not done so from the English "translation". However, I do enjoy the additional information on traduccion as well as the English explanation, which is interesting and informative contrast.
I considered whether an explicit statement that "translation" is not calqued in English is necessary for future readers to avoid the confusion, but I think the version I've saved avoid the need for such a statement. I believe the new paragraph ordering and section header are sufficient to avoid the confusion that Eaglizard and I experienced. Vile-eight (talk) 05:26, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

An IP comment[edit]

The previous sentence is incorrect. Both of the phrases noted are standard english and there is no indication in any source anywhere that they are calqued from french sources. This is an example of why Wikipedia is absurd -- things go unchallenged because some dumbass thinks he can get away with it, and no one else cares. In other words CITATION NEEDED.

Above comment by User: User talk207.237.88.130 moved here from the article. Mcewan (talk) 07:09, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Difference between loan translation and phraseological calque?[edit]

As far as the descriptions and examples go, these are pretty much the same thing, it seems. I see no difference in nature between "flea market" > Dutch "vlooienmarkt" and "skyscraper" > Dutch "wolkenkrabber". The article claims that the latter is a loan translation while the former is a phraseological calque. The latter, however, isn't a perfect calque because it means "cloudscraper" not "skyscraper". CodeCat (talk) 17:49, 20 May 2016 (UTC)

An example[edit]

I think an example should be given in the first example. The examples in the second paragraph are too meta/recursive to help. -Reagle (talk) 19:28, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

Could you please be more specific? I don't understand your meaning. Thanks. Nihil novi (talk) 19:46, 5 December 2017 (UTC)