Feedback – A Borrowed Word

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Last updated: November 28, 2018 at 16:43 pm

feedback photoSometimes, in a particular language, there is not an exact translation for a word from a foreign language. In other words, one language does not have a word to express a thought adequately expressed in another.

For example, there is no direct translation for the French “de ja vous.” Therefore, the English lexicographers borrowed the French expression “de ja vous” to express the very same thought in English. “De Ja vous” is a French word and is pronounced using French phonetics even when used in English – to remind us that it was borrowed from French.

But I find it a bit funny that the word “borrowed” is used here for this practice. I mean, are we only borrowing the foreign word or are we taking it? Do we plan to put it back sometime in the future? Or stop using it?

Borrow means to take with the intention of returning or repaying. I think a more appropriate expression would be “steal.” We “steal” this word from the foreign language. So it is not a borrowed word technically, it is a “stolen” word. But I guess no one wanted to use the words “steal” and “stolen” because the bible commands “thou shalt not steal.” Thefore, it might be viewed as a bit shameful and obscene if we say that we stole the word from the foreign language. Or perhaps we’re using the word until we can coin a word in our own language to replace the word, and then we’ll stop using it, and in that case, would have returned it? “Itate the fact.”

Coming back to the point, when I was in Brazil, I learned that Brazilians have borrowed the English word “feedback” to express the same idea in Portuguese. It is also pronounced the same way as in English. Therefore, “feedback” is a borrowed word in Portuguese. #stolen.

I learned this when I went to give a copy of my new language course to the language department of a school. I asked to them to give me a “…o que e a palavra para ‘feedback’?”

“What’s the word in Portuguese for ‘feedback’?” I asked them.

O mesmo – feedback, (The same – feedback), they replied.

So how did you enjoy this article? Give me some feedback.

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