Where words come from

Purists of certain languages deplore the infiltration of their language by words of English origin. Although now widely used, some French speakers dislike "le weekend" and "le selfservice"; native German speakers may frown on "downloaden" or "Computer". And they have a point. These languages have perfectly good words of their own to express these concepts.

This article from the BBC website explains how the English language has adopted words of Asian origin into common usage. Stemming from the era of British rule in India, many words are now part and parcel of the language to such an extent that many people may not notice their foreignness, such as "chutney", "pyjamas" and "veranda".  The French have embraced the word "shampoo" with such enthusiasm that they have given it the English suffix of "-ing" (to create a noun, not a verb) - perhaps to show its origins. But the suffix is only half the story.

A radio programme exploring this subject further will be broadcast on Friday 13 July on Radio 4 at 11.00 BST. 

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