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The article is a mess. The section on the classification could be better organised. The section about English should end up at the end of the article. But primarily, the "other languages" section is a mixture of everything, from Jèrriais applying historical processes to recent borrowings to the recent displeasure of the Italian government. Rather than such trivia, the article could use some more core content on e.g. the phonetic adaptation of borrowings or the circumstances in which words are being borrowed. -- (talk) 16:27, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

I edited the part of the source for the English loan of loanword. In the source itself it's only spoken about German as source for it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:45, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

"Borrowed from one language"[edit]

Is it meaningful to talk of terms being "borrowed" from one language? I know this is the term used, but "borrowing" has the sense of depriving with the intention of returning at a later date, and this is not what happens with loanwords. Then again, the same problem arises with the word "loanword", so perhaps "borrowing" is OK after all. — (talk) 17:09, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

"Borrowing" is the word used in the literature. --Pfold (talk) 18:08, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
This is a little crazy when you think about it. "Loanword" is a very strange term to apply in situations in which words or expressions from other languages are incorporated into common language use. But I disagree with the above commenter who says "borrow has a sense of depriving with intention to return...." it's obvious this is not about a "physical object" being handed off, but about a word - a spoken sound. Words / spoken sounds can be used freely. This sounds like a cutesy expression from a some college English teacher who was not thinking deeply about what he / she was saying ... by-the-way, do they still teach English in college these days? Loan infers the original host language acted purposefully to allow the borrower language to use the expression. That sounds like "expropriated." Language do not act purposefully. It is even weird if you think about it. By that measure borrowed is also inappropriate. Words/expressions are also not purposefully borrowed from another language. They are both action verbs but there is no actor doing the acting. Of the two, borrow is more appropriate for obvious reasons since the "borrower" did this thing ... the "loaner" had zero say, zero to do with this matter. Maybe "adopted from" is better yet.Danleywolfe (talk) 16:29, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
I repeat: "Borrowing" and "Loanword" are the terms used in the literature. This a well established field of linguistic scholarship - arguing with the terminology and suggesting "corrections" is utterly pointless. --Pfold (talk) 17:51, 26 November 2013 (UTC)


In the Classes section the following appears:

"One of the most dramatic examples of a loan word that carries with it a new concept is the introduction of the idea of the seventh day as a holy day of rest presented to the pagan world through Hebrew. The Hebrew word שַׁבָּת has been transliterated into practically every language in the world: in Arabic it is transliterated as السبت; Greek Σάββατο; Latin sabbato; Spanish sábado; and in English Sabbath."

The suggestion that Arabic "borrowed" the word "sabbath" from Hebrew can be most charitably described as inaccurate. Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic (among others) descend from the same language, and the word for Saturday is derived from the Arabic numeral seven in exactly the same way that all other days of the week are derived from the numbers 1-6. Suggesting that the word is borrowed from Hebrew is rather like suggesting that French borrowed the word "Lundi" from Spanish. I'm removing the reference to Arabic, but would also recommend rewriting this section. (talk) 19:45, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Clean up banner[edit]

Saw banner, had a go, but will need several editors to give this article a churn.

  • reorganised the leading section trying to turn it into a 101 for general users
  • didn't touch the linguistic classification section (this is way too technical for anyone with no academic knowledge - but then happy to leave this untouched)
  • transmission - minor changes, but mostly subsectioning
  • reborrowing - deleted the beefsteak example per previous editors critique and due to the cinema one being self-evident.

In ictu oculi (talk) 05:03, 30 October 2011 (UTC)


The intro appears rather long, however, a definition can often be clarified by giving the opposite, here "native or inherited word", where I would suggest "native", because also loans can be inherited. HJJHolm (talk) 10:20, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Citation Request[edit]

I added a citation request on the origin of the English suffix -er due to the possible (and likelier) source alternative in Proto-Germanic -ārijaz. (talk) 11:01, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Contradiction with example "café"[edit]

In the introduction, it lists the word borrowed from french "café" as an example of a loan word. Yet, in the linguistic definition diagram it lists "café" as a "foreign word," not a "loadword." This seems like a contradiction? If I'm understanding correctly, since café keeps the original spelling, it is in fact not a loanword? It's all rather confusing, honestly. I think this article could do much better to clarify things. Fritzendugan (talk) 02:11, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

In keeping all the discussion centralized, I've included discussion from my talk page on this topic from another user:

Hello, Fritzendugan. In your Talk note about Loanword, you make a good point about the ambiguity of "café" between the categories of "loanword" and "foreign word". The system of categories seems to entail more precision than is warranted by the data. What would you think of inserting the following wording immediately below the diagram?
The diagram’s distinction between a “loan word” and a “foreign word”--based as it is on the presence or absence of orthographic adaptation--can be problematic in a language whose spelling system is heterogeneous, such as English. By one standard, the frequent omission of the accent from “café”, for example, might constitute an adaptation and qualify the word as a loanword. By another standard, the fact that the spelling has not been altered to “caffay” might mark the word as an unadapted “foreign word”. Kotabatubara (talk) 14:10, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

I would like to add that I think the above suggestion helps to clarify the confusion, and would probably be sufficient. Fritzendugan (talk) 06:59, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Linguistic classification image[edit]

This branching image seems a little awkward to read, illegible at smaller screen sizes and entirely useless to screen readers. Should it be a table or something instead, perhaps with fewer examples? --Gnomus (talk) 18:23, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

I agree. Unfortunately, I wouldn't know what to do to really help tackle the accessibility issues of the image (although I've seen Wikipedia tables with pretty interesting cell sizes, so it probably is possible to move to a table), but I would agree that less examples are needed (I would even go as far as to say one example per item is enough). As well, I think something needs to be done with the font and style. Change the font, change the line spacing, something, because what it is now is not the best (although I am no expert). JaykeBird (talk) 13:13, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

"Citation needed"[edit]

Did someone have a field day posting {{Citation needed}} tags all over the article?

I definitely agree that citations are important to have, especially for information that is not generally known, but some of the information that is here, I may consider common knowledge of the subject. Some of the stuff tagged are things that you would get by simply looking at the two words. From Origins, "[Latin words] missa and communio have entered English as mass and communion". Anyone looking at the English and Latin words would obviously assume that one led to another; the only concern would be a false etymology, and if that is the case, it should be removed, not cited.

At the very least, though, this is an example of overtagging. All but one paragraph in Origins has a "Citation needed" tag on it. Nearly every single paragraph in Transmission Patterns has this tag. This is simply too much.

I would suggest we review the article and think more about what does and does not really need a citation, and remove unnecessary "Citation needed" tags from the article. If there's still a multitude of them, I would suggest we instead post {{refimprove}} at the top of the article, and write a post in the talk page stating what sections and sentences need citations. JaykeBird (talk) 13:56, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

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Add something like this?[edit]

I moved some text from the article Transliteration to its Talk page, because I felt it does not belong to transliteration but perhaps to the topic of loanwords. I do not want to insert it into this article because I feel it needs quite some editing before it can be added. I think the author of the removed section wanted to express some thoughts on how loanwords are modified in the goal language. For example, the English "bishop" does not include the nominative suffix "-os" from the Greek original "episkopos". My guess at the reason is that the nominative marker was, in a sense, translated (to an empty morpheme in English) while the main part of the word "episkop-" was borrowed. Is this an example of a loanblend? Is it something to add to this page? -- David N. Jansen (talk) 12:55, 30 June 2017 (UTC)