Loanwords

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Satsuma
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Loanwords

Postby Satsuma » 2011-06-25, 14:16

Does Chinese have any loanwords that aren't of recent and/or English origin? As yet, I haven't encountered any. If they exist, they must be few and far between, or have assimilated extremely well.

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Re: Loanwords

Postby linguoboy » 2011-06-25, 15:47

Satsuma wrote:Does Chinese have any loanwords that aren't of recent and/or English origin? As yet, I haven't encountered any. If they exist, they must be few and far between, or have assimilated extremely well.

Yup. Several of these stand out by being disyllabic but not analysable as compounds:

琥珀 "amber"
玻璃 "glass" < ult. from Sanskrit sphatika "crystal"
玫瑰 "rose"
葡萄 "grape" < Sanskrit bodhi
駱駝 "camel"

And if you ever study Buddhism, you'll find tonnes more. 佛, 菩薩, 禪, 盂蘭盆, etc.--all borrowings from Indic languages.
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Re: Loanwords

Postby Pangu » 2011-06-25, 23:36

linguoboy wrote:
Satsuma wrote:玻璃 "glass" < ult. from Sanskrit sphatika "crystal"
葡萄 "grape" < Sanskrit bodhi

Sphatika -> Boli
Bodhi -> Putao

Even considering how much Chinese pronunciation has changed in the past, it still seems quite different. Where did you get your information? I'm curious, not ridiculing you.

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Re: Loanwords

Postby linguoboy » 2011-06-26, 19:39

Pangu wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Satsuma wrote:玻璃 "glass" < ult. from Sanskrit sphatika "crystal"
葡萄 "grape" < Sanskrit bodhi

Sphatika -> Boli
Bodhi -> Putao
Even considering how much Chinese pronunciation has changed in the past, it still seems quite different. Where did you get your information? I'm curious, not ridiculing you.

I've seen the sphatika etymology in various sources. Here's a reasonably thorough discussion of it in the blog Language Log: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2939. (It helps to understand that the word wasn't borrowed directly from Sanskrit--hence the "ult." for "ultimately" in my comment--but through an intermediate form, cf. Pali phalika.) As for the other, keep in mind that the Early Middle Chinese ancestor of pútáo was (according to Pulleyblank) *bɔdaw, which makes a derivation from bodhi much more plausible than it seems at first bounce.
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Re: Loanwords

Postby Tenebrarum » 2011-06-26, 23:57

Mandarin has gone through incredible transformations, so perhaps it will become more apparent when you look up those words in other languages with Sinitic vocabulary, as they're more conservative. That's pha lê and bồ đào in Vietnamese btw (but pha lê means crystal instead, and ordinary glass is thủy tinh - 水晶/shuǐjīng).

linguoboy wrote:http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2939

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Re: Loanwords

Postby linguistixx » 2013-09-29, 16:33

Well, there are some loanwords but compared to other languages I am tempted to say that Chinese really does not make use of a lot of loanwords. When you take Japanese for an example, you will find 1000's of loanwords (mainly form English but also some from German and many other languages). In German as well, you have tons of loanwords and I don't even have to mention the amount of loanwords in the English language:=)
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Re: Loanwords

Postby ling » 2013-09-29, 18:40

Lots of loanwords through Sanskrit, attributable to the spread of Buddhism.

魔 (mo: magic, the devil, sorcery), from 摩羅 (moluo), the demon Mara. The Sanskrit name Mara originates from the same root as Latin mortus.

Often, native Chinese words were combined to create neologisms based on meaning rather than pronunciation. 世界, the modern word for "world", originates from translations of Buddhist texts around the 4th century: it was a translation of the Sanskrit lokadhatu.
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Re: Loanwords

Postby linguoboy » 2013-09-29, 22:43

linguistixx wrote:Well, there are some loanwords but compared to other languages I am tempted to say that Chinese really does not make use of a lot of loanwords. When you take Japanese for an example, you will find 1000's of loanwords (mainly form English but also some from German and many other languages).

If you do a little research, you'll find hundreds of loanwords in Chinese just from Japanese. Since the Japanese modernised first, they coined oodles of new vocabulary from Sinitic roots in order to translate texts from Western languages. When similar texts were put into Chinese, the translators borrowed the Japanese vocabulary en masse.

You seem to be thinking solely in terms of phonetic loans. But that's not the only way new vocabulary enters a language.
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Re: Loanwords

Postby md0 » 2013-09-29, 22:59

Latest article I read on the topic is this http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=5348
That's about Japanese slang entering Chinese, because well, East Asian pop culture is mostly created in Japan and South Korea.
But I remember reading about engineering/scientific/etc Japanese words entering Chinese. But ever since Google Reader closed down, I've lost my saved posts.
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Re: Loanwords

Postby ling » 2013-09-30, 8:24

linguoboy wrote:If you do a little research, you'll find hundreds of loanwords in Chinese just from Japanese.

Yup. Both from characters, like 達人, and phonetically, like 歐巴桑.
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Re: Loanwords

Postby Pangu » 2013-09-30, 16:26

ling wrote:
linguoboy wrote:If you do a little research, you'll find hundreds of loanwords in Chinese just from Japanese.

Yup. Both from characters, like 達人, and phonetically, like 歐巴桑.

I believe both, especially the latter, are limited to Taiwan though.

I am less certain about 達人, but I highly doubt someone from Beijing, Xi'an or Shanghai would use (or even understand) the term 歐巴桑.

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Re: Loanwords

Postby cora » 2013-11-06, 14:10

ling wrote:Lots of loanwords through Sanskrit, attributable to the spread of Buddhism.

魔 (mo: magic, the devil, sorcery), from 摩羅 (moluo), the demon Mara. The Sanskrit name Mara originates from the same root as Latin mortus.

Often, native Chinese words were combined to create neologisms based on meaning rather than pronunciation. 世界, the modern word for "world", originates from translations of Buddhist texts around the 4th century: it was a translation of the Sanskrit lokadhatu.


I think of Sanskrit, too. Buddhism really has a big impact in Chinese.
刹那 Cha Na => ksaṇa (क्षण) According to script, is 1/75 second. It means a very short time, all of a sudden.
覺悟 Jue Wu. Awakening, enlightenment. However, nowadays, people often use this term to threaten others :roll: Or, sometimes if I say "我終於覺悟了" (I understand it, finally) the feeling is more pessimistic than other words.
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Re: Loanwords

Postby OldBoring » 2013-11-07, 14:17

Tenebrarum wrote:Mandarin has gone through incredible transformations, so perhaps it will become more apparent when you look up those words in other languages with Sinitic vocabulary, as they're more conservative. That's pha lê and bồ đào in Vietnamese btw (but pha lê means crystal instead, and ordinary glass is thủy tinh - 水晶/shuǐjīng).

Thanks, Tenebrarum! That was helpful to see the derivation.
Crystal and glass are reversed in Vietnamese, compared to Chinese! :shock:

About 佛 and 菩萨:
Buddha > 佛陀 (Middle Chinese: */bjoda/) > abbreviated in 佛
Bodhisattva > 菩提萨埵 > abbr. 菩萨

Among common words that I can think now: 狮子、枇杷、菠萝 (from Persian IIRC), 胡同 (from Mongolian), 马虎 (from Manchu).

cora wrote:刹那 Cha Na

Is that the Taiwanese pronunciation? We pronounce it shànà.

覺悟 Jue Wu. Awakening, enlightenment. However, nowadays, people often use this term to threaten others :roll: Or, sometimes if I say "我終於覺悟了" (I understand it, finally) the feeling is more pessimistic than other words.

Really? I've never noticed this.

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Re: Loanwords

Postby Pangu » 2013-11-07, 17:22

hāozigǎnr wrote:
cora wrote:刹那 Cha Na

Is that the Taiwanese pronunciation? We pronounce it shànà.

Pretty sure it's just a typo. Taiwanese also pronounce it shànà.

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Re: Loanwords

Postby cora » 2013-11-08, 14:56

覺悟 Jue Wu. Awakening, enlightenment. However, nowadays, people often use this term to threaten others :roll: Or, sometimes if I say "我終於覺悟了" (I understand it, finally) the feeling is more pessimistic than other words.

Really? I've never noticed this.[/quote]

well, I think the reason is I read too many comics and became too OTAKU? I got that feeling after I read and watched lots of Manga.

Pangu wrote:
hāozigǎnr wrote:
cora wrote:刹那 Cha Na

Is that the Taiwanese pronunciation? We pronounce it shànà.

Pretty sure it's just a typo. Taiwanese also pronounce it shànà.


No, our right pronounce Chànà. This pronunciation is made since 1999, hope they won't be changed in the future... http://goo.gl/0hEVwr
Here is the webpage of 國語一字多音表 http://goo.gl/H6ZST3
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Re: Loanwords

Postby Pangu » 2013-11-08, 17:58

cora wrote:
Pangu wrote:
hāozigǎnr wrote:
cora wrote:刹那 Cha Na

Is that the Taiwanese pronunciation? We pronounce it shànà.

Pretty sure it's just a typo. Taiwanese also pronounce it shànà.


No, our right pronounce Chànà. This pronunciation is made since 1999, hope they won't be changed in the future... http://goo.gl/0hEVwr
Here is the webpage of 國語一字多音表 http://goo.gl/H6ZST3

I've never heard that pronunciation before. In fact it's awkward for me.

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Re: Loanwords

Postby OldBoring » 2013-11-09, 13:02

I'll admit it. After some research, I found out cora is right and I was wrong.
刹那 is chànà
http://www.zdic.net/c/9/11/28547.htm

But it's a very common mistake in China... https://www.google.com.hk/#newwindow=1& ... afe=strict

Thanks cora for having taught me something!

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Re: Loanwords

Postby Pangu » 2013-11-09, 22:15

hāozigǎnr wrote:I'll admit it. After some research, I found out cora is right and I was wrong.
刹那 is chànà
http://www.zdic.net/c/9/11/28547.htm

But it's a very common mistake in China... https://www.google.com.hk/#newwindow=1& ... afe=strict

Thanks cora for having taught me something!

Wow, very interesting indeed. Good find.

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Re: Loanwords

Postby ling » 2013-11-10, 2:58

From Malay: 檳榔 binlang, from pinang (Areca catechu, commonly known as betel nut)
From Sanskrit: 禪 chan (= Zen), from ध्यान dhyan (meditation)
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Re: Loanwords

Postby OldBoring » 2013-11-12, 2:25

Pangu wrote:I am less certain about 達人, but I highly doubt someone from Beijing, Xi'an or Shanghai would use (or even understand) the term 歐巴桑.

达人 is now very widespread in the Mainland, and there are many talent shows on TV called 达人秀.
秀 itself is also an anglicism ("show") imported through Taiwan.

欧巴桑 is another slang from Taiwan that is becoming to be spread in the Mainland, but it means "annoying old/middle-aged lady".


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