so, I have a question.

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pandoricaopens

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Where I live, a lot of people occassionally toss around phrases in other languages, common ones though. In the middle of their conversations, they'll be like, "yo no se" or "xi xi" (I took mandarin, but I completely forgot how to spell that. Sorry if it's wrong!), and other such things. So I was wondering if people in other countries do this, too, or is it just us.
Also, if you do, what do you say?
 

Caitlin Black

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Here in Australia I occasionally hear words in other languages. Not specifically foreign words that English has adopted, but still common words in French or whatever. It's sometimes short phrases, like "Jin e sei quois?" or however it's spelled...

It's not an often occurrence though...

Generally if it is a foreign word combination that has been used on TV or in song recently, you might hear someone try to casually drop it into conversation... But we don't get a lot of that here.
 

backslashbaby

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In reading blogs and things in other languages, I think they do it much more than we do. It depends on the country, of course.

A lot of it is English or French. I think you just have enough people who understand those so well, in large numbers, that some things are more fun or precise to express that way.
 

SaraP

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I would say it depends on your country and home language, as well as your personal background and culture.

In my family we use a lot of englishisms and frenchisms that many people don't understand.
 

mscelina

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Here in Australia I occasionally hear words in other languages. Not specifically foreign words that English has adopted, but still common words in French or whatever. It's sometimes short phrases, like "Jin e sei quois?" or however it's spelled...

Je ne se quoi. :) That certain, indefinable air some people have--
 
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It's a prestige issue. If there's a prestige language in the country different from the official language, then a lot of people will learn little bits of it to impress others.

For example, at my uni, there's a high nerd population, which includes a lot of anime and J-Pop fans, so Japanese has a great deal of cultural prestige and you can hear scraps of it everywhere.
 

ArcadiaDarrell

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I was raised by a woman who speaks over half a dozen languages. As a child she lived in Germany and Hawaii where she learned German, Japanese and Hawaiian for starters. Then she decided to learn a few other languages for various reasons. She became very ill when I was about 5, and the pain and doctor treatments reaked havoc on her mind. When she'd try to communicate with others she'd end up speaking several languages in a solitary sentence. Not to impress anyone, but because she either didn't realize what she was doing or sometimes simply couldn't think of the English version. This is just my very round about way of saying that I think the people who tend to toss around phrases in other languages the most are either multi-lingual or they're raised by the multi-lingual.
 

BigWords

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It's a prestige issue. If there's a prestige language in the country different from the official language, then a lot of people will learn little bits of it to impress others.

This applies across cultural and social classes to an amazing degree. In the UK people are more than likely to hear snippets of Indian, Latin, Japanese, French, Russian and Arabic. For a slightly older generation, this is the same as dropping in Gaelic (all strains), Welsh and regional-specific words. It's not obvious from a cursory examination of the English language, but if you know where to look, there are a whole raft of words which have been absorbed from other cultures over the years, so we might be in the midst of another cultural expansion of the language.
 

ConChron

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I'm Swedish and people here often toss in an English phrase or a couple of English words when they speak. It's because of the influence that English has on us of course, through TV shows, movies, music and the Internet.

Living in northern Sweden I also hear Finnish words being tossed into conversation, but it's rarer than the English ones.
 
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This applies across cultural and social classes to an amazing degree. In the UK people are more than likely to hear snippets of Indian, Latin, Japanese, French, Russian and Arabic. For a slightly older generation, this is the same as dropping in Gaelic (all strains), Welsh and regional-specific words. It's not obvious from a cursory examination of the English language, but if you know where to look, there are a whole raft of words which have been absorbed from other cultures over the years, so we might be in the midst of another cultural expansion of the language.


The major cultural expansion of English involved Britain being conquered by a group that spoke a different language, and then American English ate up a lot of foreign words when it came to the Americas. That made English a very hungry language, gobbling up this word and that word from everywhere. But other than possibly Spanish in America, I'm not seeing a lot of evidence for a second large absorption.


One of the more well-known modern examples I can think of is Japanese, which has recently absorbed an enormous number of English words, partially due to the post-war occupation by America, partially due to a soft-power cultural spread, and partially because the enormous cultural prestige of English among many younger Japanese people.

There's also a slightly smaller counter-absorption of Japanese words among many young Americans because of the expansion of Japanese soft-cultural power into the US and other countries. But you're much more likely to hear your average young Japanese speaker say "Thank you" or "Lucky!" than you are to hear a young American English speaker say "arigatou" or "urusai".
 

BigWords

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There are specific reasons for language expansion (there are words which mean a very specific thing, which would require an unnecessary word being created if a good one in another language already exists), but every time the UK has sent a significant number of people to one place - India, for example - we end up with a bunch of entirely new words trickling down into everyday usage. What we have at the moment, with the Internet and films from around the world being made available on DVD - is a slow absorption of words and phrases which might as well be considered English, as the use of some of them have shifted from their original context.

Okay, so it might be a bit much to suggest that we are experiencing a major increase in the vocabulary of our language, but it is growing. Ignoring technical and scientific terms, compression of existing words, slang, and acronyms, we've still seen a spectacular number of words from numerous cultures being brought to light in English-language dictionaries in the last decade. I support this embracing of language fully - it's exciting to see people embracing other cultures in this way.
 

DamaNegra

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Since I live in the border between Mexico and the U.S.A., people use a lot of English phrases and words in everyday conversation. Some of the most annoying ones will speak only in English, but I always ignore them and try to avoid people who speak like that. In southern Mexico, people mix a lot of Mayan words into their Spanish, because there are a lot of Maya people in there.

Personally, I usually mix a lot of English and French phrases into my Spanish, with a couple of Portuguese, Italian and Japanese words every now and then (disclaimer: I speak none of those last three languages, I just know some words in them). Since I'm now learning Latin, I find myself using words and phrases from that language on my everyday conversation. It just depends on which languages you know and where you live, I guess.
 

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There are some french phrases that are very commonly used in England, though. Bon appetit is often said at the begining of meals or bon voyage when someone's travelling. People will say 'He has a certain je ne sais quoi' or 'that's a real bete noir of mine'.
 

maestrowork

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There are quite a number of foreign words in English: sushi, bon appetit, mama mia, capiche ...

In China and Hong Kong, people mix Chinese and English all the time... it's very interesting to listen to people having conversations (and when they use the English word, it would be Chinese-ied. But when they speak English, the word is pronounced correctly... it's quite interesting). Part of the reason is to show off that someone actually knows the English vocabulary or the references (they'd say Apple iPad, instead of the Chinese name for both the company and the product). Part of the reason is also it's easier to use the English word instead of translating it back to Chinese... in a way, they are staying "native." ;)
 

shelley

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In Greece, every other sentence has an English (most common) word in it. It's not that we don't have the word for it -I just think some people find it so much easier.
Example: In my job you hear the letters p.c. in many sentences (referring to a computer) when in Greek it's : ηλεκτρονικός υπολογιστής.
 

shelley

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Ok, maybe p.c. is not an actual word but I think I made my point...
 

DamaNegra

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We use PC in Spanish too (but we pronounce it using Spanish rather than English sounds). Laptop, tablet, netbook, mouse and email are also words that are used all the time in Mexico.
 
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shelley

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Well, yeah -the greek pronunciation is a big deal here, too-. Same words you said, we use too. I couldn't think of any other one in my previous post.
 

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Really? LOL. That's cool.

We have so many Greeks in my town, that anytime in class someone would say, "It's Greek to me" you'd always hear somebody else say, "I wish it were Greek!" :)
 

DamaNegra

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Ha, in Mexico we also use Chinese instead of Greek for things we just don't understand. Not that we understand Greek, mind...
 

MeretSeger

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Ha, in Mexico we also use Chinese instead of Greek for things we just don't understand. Not that we understand Greek, mind...

That's pretty interesting considering the massive trade contact with Asia back in the day...I have a friend who is a Filipina and I can understand about 1/4 of what her family says, Cebuano has so many Spanish loan words. (Not to mention she looks perfectly like a Zapateca and her sister looks Chinese!)
 

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