Posted: June 21st, 2021

Spanish and Italian Borrowings to the English Language

Romanic languages, group of languages belonging to the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. They are spoken by about 670 million people in many parts of the world. Among the more important Romanic languages are Catalan, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. My report is particularly about Italian and Spanish borrowings to the English language. Spanish borrowings appeared in English in 16 century. Historic circumstances which influenced on these borrowings are associated with some geographic discoveries at that time.
There was a colonization of the South and North America by the Spanish. So the close cooperation with Spain contributed to the developing of borrowings from Spanish into English language. In 16 century close political and economic ties of England with Spain and of Spain with France led to borrowings both directly from Spanish and through the French language. In the beginning of the 16th century there were many Spaniards in England due to dynastic relations between England and Spain. So England inherited many Spanish words which related to Spanish manners.
Many Spanish words have come to us from three primary sources: many of them entered American English in the days of Mexican and/or Spanish cowboys working in what is now the U. S. Southwest. Some words were borrowed with the Spanish culture-dances and musicals instruments. Words of Caribbean origin entered English by way of trade. The other major source is the names of foods whose names have no English equivalent, as the intermingling of cultures has expanded our diets as well as our vocabulary.

All of these were the objects of trade. They were borrowed from Spain to England. Anglo-Spanish War also greatly enlarged the vocabulary of English language which included such military terms: galleon – guerilla.
In XIX century many borrowings from Spanish were brought through American literature. Such words as: cigarette, lasso, mustang. There are following words among the recently borrowed ones: macho, amigo, gringo.
As we see, the majority of borrowings from Spanish retain their shape and are commonly used in English in the stylistic purposes to give the narration some Spanish shade. Of course it makes our speech more interesting and shows that we are culturally enriched. For example, we can say “adios” instead of “bye” to diversify our communication.

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English
Spanish

Alcove
Alcoba

Alfalfa
Al falfa

Artichoke
Alcarchofa

Apricot
Albaricoque

Calibre
Calibre

Armada
Armado

Apricot
Albaricoque

Binnacle
Bitacula

The Italian language had the strongest influence on the English language in the Renaissance period. The art and literature had the great importance for the whole European culture. Italy was the leading country in the economic, politic, cultural fields, so familiarity with the rich Italian literature of this period, painting, sculpture and architecture, traveling to Italy, an interest in the country itself, was reflected in the loans from the Italian language.
We should notice that, due to the wide spread of Italian debt in the European languages?? , some Italian words were borrowed to the English language, not directly but through other languages. Most of the Italian words was borrowed through French. And only in the XVI century, the borrowings were directly from the Italian language. The earliest borrowings related to trade and military affairs. There were borrowed the following words from the field of commerce and finance: ducat – coin, million – million, lombard – pawnshop, bank – bank.
From the field of military: alarm – alarm, brigand – bandit, bark – bark, colonel – Colonel, squadron – squadron, sentinel – guard, pistol – gun. The greatest number of words borrowed from Italian related to the field of art, literature, music, theater and architecture. For example, canto – song, sonnet – a sonnet, stanza – stanza, slogan, model – model, miniature – miniature, madonna – Madonna, fresco – fresco, balcony – balcony, mezzanine – mezzanine, mezzanine and so on.
Especially a lot of borrowing were from the field of music, such as: – The names of musical instruments: piano, violin, piccolo; – The name of singing voices: bass, baritone, alto, soprano; – The name of music: opera, sonata, aria. Among the 20-th century Italian borrowings we can mention : gazette, incognitto, autostrada, fiasco, fascist, dilettante, grotesque, graffitti etc. We should be notice that there are used even whole phraseological combinations in English, for example, sotto voce – whisper.

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