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In linguistics, a calque ( ) or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word (Latin: "verbum pro verbo") or root-for-root translation.

For example, the common English phrase "flea market" is a phrase calque that literally translates the French "marché aux puces" ("fleas' market").

Going in the other direction, from English to French, provides an example of how a compound word may be calqued by first breaking it down into its component roots. The French "gratte-ciel" is a word-coinage inspired by the model of the English "skyscraper" — "gratter" literally translates as "to scrape", and "ciel" translates as "sky". The same is true for the Spanish word "rascacielos" (literally, a "scrape-skies") and to a certain extent the German word "Wolkenkratzer" (literally, a "cloud-scraper").

Used as a verb, "to calque" means to borrow a word or phrase from another language while translating its components so as to create a new lexeme in the target language.

"Calque" itself is a loanword from a French noun, and derives from the verb "calquer" (to trace, to copy). Loan translation is itself a calque of the German "Lehnübersetzung".

Proving a word is a calque sometimes requires more documentation than an untranslated loanword, since in some cases a similar phrase might have arisen in both languages independently. This is less likely to be the case when the grammar of the proposed calque is quite different from that of the language proposed to be borrowing, or the calque contains less obvious imagery.

English

From Chinese



From French



From German or Dutch

  • Masterpiece: probably translation of Dutch meesterstuk or German Meisterstück: Dutch meester and German Meister, master + Dutch stuk and German Stück, piece of work. (The Dutch translation of masterpiece is meesterwerk, the German translation is Meisterwerk.)


From Dutch



From German



From Hebrew

  • Scapegoat, a mistaken calque of עזאזל (Azazel) as ez ozel ( literally, "the goat that departs"; hence "(e)scape goat". Mistranslation attributed to William Tyndale in his 1530 translation of the Bible.


From Latin

  • Commonplace calques locus commūnis (referring to a generally applicable literary passage), which itself is a calque of Greek koinos topos
  • Devil's advocate calques advocātus diabolī, referring to an official appointed to present arguments against a proposed canonization or beatification in the Catholic Church
  • Wisdom tooth calques dēns sapientiae
  • Milky Way calques via lactea, which is itself derived from the Greek root galaxias [γαλαξίας], meaning "milky."
  • Rest in Peace calques requiescat in pace
  • In a nutshell calques in nuce


From Spanish

  • Blue-blood calques
  • Moment of truth calques , which refers to the time of the final sword thrust in a bullfight.


From other languages

  • Gospel calques Greek evangelion (good news)
  • Hotdish calques Scandinavian varmrett/varmrätt


Latin

  • Latin compassio calques Greek sympathia "sympathy" (Latin: "suffering with", Greek: "suffering together")
  • Latin deus ex machina calques Greek apo mechanēs theos" (Latin: "god out of the machine", Greek: "out of the machine, god")
  • Latin insectus calques Greek entomos ("insect", from words meaning "to cut into" in the respective languages)
  • Latin musculus "muscle" (= "common house mouse", literally "little mouse" from mus "mouse") calques Greek mys "muscle" (= "mouse")
  • Latin magnanimus calques Greek megalopsychos (from words meaning "great-souled" in the respective languages)


Romance Languages

Examples of Romance language expressions calqued from foreign languages include:
  • French lune de miel, Catalan lluna de mel, Spanish luna de miel, Portuguese lua-de-mel, Italian luna di miele and Romanian luna de miere calque English honeymoon
  • French gratte-ciel, Catalan gratacels, Spanish rascacielos, Portuguese arranha-céus, Romanian zgârie-nori and Italian grattacielo calque English skyscraper
  • French sabot de Denver calques English Denver boot
  • French jardin d'enfants, Spanish jardín de infancia and Portuguese Jardim de infância calque Garden of Infants/children, from German Kindergarten (children's garden)
  • Spanish baloncesto and Italian pallacanestro calque English basketball
  • Italian pallavolo calques English volleyball


French

  • French courriel (contraction of courrier électronique) calques English email (contraction of electronic mail)
  • French disque dur calques English hard disk
  • French bienvenue calques English welcome (as if 'well' + 'come'. Eng. 'welcome' is an alt. of O.E. willcyme, willcuma — desired arrival)
  • French carte mère calques English motherboard
  • French eau de vie calques Latin aqua vitae
  • French en ligne calques English online
  • French hors-ligne (literally: "out of line, off line") calques English offline
  • French haute résolution calques English high resolution
  • French disque compact calques English compact disc
  • French haute fidélité calques English hi-fi (high fidelity)
  • French large bande calques English broadband
  • French modulation de fréquence calques English frequency modulation (FM)
  • French média de masse calques English mass media
  • French seconde main calques English second hand
  • French surhomme calques German Übermensch (Nietzsche's concept)
  • French OVNI (Objet Volant Non Identifié) calques English UFO (Unidentified Flying Object)
  • In some dialects of French, the English term "weekend" becomes la fin de semaine ("the end of week"), a calque, but in some it is left untranslated as le week-end, a loanword.


Spanish

Many calques found in Southwestern US Spanish, come from English:
  • Spanish escuela alta calques English high school (secundaria or escuela secundaria in Standard Spanish)
  • Spanish grado (de escuela) calques English grade (nota in Standard Spanish)
See also: Spanglish.

Also technological terms calqued from English are used throughout the Spanish-speaking world:
  • Spanish rascacielos calques English skyscraper
  • Spanish tarjeta de crédito calques English credit card
  • Spanish alta tecnología calques English high technology
  • Spanish disco compacto calques English compact disc
  • Spanish correo electrónico calques English electronic mail
  • Spanish alta resolución calques English high resolution
  • Spanish enlace calques English link (Internet)
  • Spanish ratón calques English mouse
  • Spanish nave espacial calques English spaceship
  • Spanish en un momento dado calques Dutch op een gegeven moment (At a certain moment)


Italian

  • Italian aria condizionata calques English air conditioned
  • Italian fine settimana calques English week-end
  • Italian ferrovia (railway) calques German Eisenbahn


Germanic Languages

Afrikaans and Dutch

  • Afrikaans aartappel and Dutch aardappel calque French pomme de terre (English potato "earth apple")
  • Afrikaans besigheid calques English business
  • Afrikaans e-pos calques English e-mail
  • Afrikaans hardeskyf and Dutch harde schijf calque English hard disk
  • Afrikaans klankbaan calques English sound track
  • Afrikaans kleurskuifie calques English colour slide
  • Afrikaans pynappel calques English pineapple calques French pomme de pin
  • Afrikaans sleutelbord calques English keyboard
  • Afrikaans tuisblad calques English homepage
  • Afrikaans wolkekrabber and Dutch wolkenkrabber calque English skyscraper


German

  • Fußball calques English "football", referring specifically to association football
  • Teddybär calques English teddy bear
  • Wolkenkratzer calques English skyscraper
  • Flutlicht calques English floodlight
  • Datenverarbeitung calques English data processing
  • Großmutter and Großvater calques French grand-mère and grand-père
  • Rundreise calques French tournée


Icelandic

  • Icelandic rafmagn, "electricity," is a half-calqued coinage that literally means "amber power."
    • raf translates the Greek root ηλεκτρον (elektron), which means "amber"
    • magn, "power," is descriptive of electricity's nature but not a direct calque from the source word "electricity"


Norwegian

  • barnehage (kindergarten) calques German Kindergarten (Kinder "children", Garten "garden").
  • hjemmeside calques English home page.
  • hjerneflukt (brain drain) calques English brain drain.
  • idiotsikker (foolproof) calques English "foolproof".
  • loppemarked (flea market) calcques English flea market and French marché aux puces ("market with fleas").
  • mandag (Monday), from Old Norse mánadagr ("moon day") calques Latin dies lunae. The name of every day of the week, except lørdag (Saturday), are loan-translations from Latin.
  • overhode (head of a family, chief) calques German Oberhaupt (ober "over", Haupt "head").
  • samvittighet (conscience) calques Latin (through Low German) conscientia (com "with", scire "to know").
    • From sam- (co-) and vittig (today meaning "funny" but which stems from Low German, where it meant "reasonable", related to "vite" (to know) and English "wit".)
  • tenåring (teen, teenager), is from Swedish tonåring, which calques English teenager.


Swedish

  • skyskrapa calques skyscraper.


Slavic languages

Macedonian

  • Macedonian ракопис (rakopis) calques Latin-derived 'manuscript' and 'handwriting':
    • Mac. root рака (raka) = Lat. manus = 'hand'
    • Mac. root пис- (pis-) = Lat. scribo = 'to write'
  • Macedonian правопис (pravopis) calques Greek-derived 'orthography':
    • Mac. root право (pravo) = Gr. ορθός (orthos) = 'correct';
    • Mac. root пис- (pis-) = Gr. γράφειν (graphein) = 'to write'
  • Macedonian православие (pravoslavie) calques Greek-derived 'orthodoxy':
    • Mac. root право (pravo) = Gr. ορθός (orthos) = 'correct';
    • Mac. root славие (slavie) = Gr. δοξα (doxa) = 'glorification'


In more recent times, the Macedonian language has calqued new words from other prestige languages including German, French and English.

  • Macedonian натчовек (natčovek) = calques German-derived 'overman' (Übermensch)
    • Mac. root над- (nad-) = Ger. über = 'over'
    • Mac. root човек (čovek, man) = Ger. mensch = 'people'
  • Macedonian облакодер (oblakoder) = calques English skyscraper:
    • Mac. root облак (oblak, cloud)
    • Mac. root дере (dere, to flay)
  • Macedonian клучен збор (klučen zbor) = calques English keyword:
    • Mac. root клуч (kluč, key)
    • Mac. root збор (zbor, word)


Some words were originally calqued into Russian and then absorbed into Macedonian, considering the close relatedness of the two languages. Therefore, many of these calques can also be considered Russianisms.

Russian

The poet Aleksandr Pushkin (1799–1837) was perhaps the most influential among the Russian literary figures who would transform the modern Russian language and vastly expand its ability to handle abstract and scientific concepts by importing the sophisticated vocabulary of Western intellectuals.

Although some Western vocabulary entered the language as loanwords — e.g., Italian salvietta, "napkin," was simply Russified in sound and spelling to салфетка (salfetka) — Pushkin and those he influenced most often preferred to render foreign borrowings into Russian by calquing. Compound words were broken down to their component roots, which were then translated piece-by-piece to their Slavic equivalents. But not all of the coinages caught on and became permanent additions to the lexicon; for example, любомудрие (ljubomudrie) was promoted by 19th-century Russian intellectuals as a calque of "philosophy," but the word eventually fell out of fashion, and modern Russian instead uses the loanword философия (filosofija).

  • Russian любомудрие (ljubomudrie) calqued Greek-derived 'philosophy':
    • Russ. root любить (ljubit' ) = Gr. φιλεῖν (filein) = 'to love';
    • Russ. root мудрость (mudrost' ) = Gr. σοφία (sofia) = 'wisdom'
  • Russian зависимость (zavisimost' ) calques Latin-derived 'dependence':
    • Russ. root за (za) = Lat. de = 'down from'
    • Russ. root висеть (viset' ) = Lat. pendere = 'to hang; to dangle'
  • Russian полуостров (poluostrov) calques German Halbinsel, both meaning 'peninsula':
    • Russ. root полу- (polu-) = Ger. halb = 'half; semi-'
    • Russ. root остров (ostrov) = Ger. Insel = 'island'
  • Russian детский сад (detskij sad) calques German Kindergarten, both literally suggesting 'children's garden'


Ukrainian

  • велике спасибі (velyke spasybi) calques Russian большое спасибо (bol'shoe spasibo), both literally "a big thank-you"


Greek

  • Διαδίκτυο from English Internet
  • Ποδόσφαιρο from English "football", referring specifically to association football
  • Τηλεόραση from Television


Irish



Finnish

Since Finnish, a Finno-Ugric language, differs radically in pronunciation and orthography from Indo-European languages, most loans adopted in Finnish either are calques or soon become such as foreign words are translated into Finnish. Examples include:
  • from Greek: sarvikuono (rhinoceros, from Greek "rinokeros"),
  • from Latin: viisaudenhammas (wisdom tooth, from Latin "dens sapientiae"),
  • from English: jalkapallo (English "football", specifically referring to association football),
  • from English: koripallo (English "basketball"),
  • from English: kovalevy (English "hard disk"),
  • from French: kirpputori (flea market, French "marché aux puces"),
  • from German: lastentarha (German "Kindergarten"),
  • from German: panssarivaunu (German "Panzerwagen"),
  • from Swedish: moottoritie (highway, from Swedish "motorväg" and ultimately German "autobahn"),
  • from Chinese: aivopesu (brainwash, from Chinese "xi nao"),
  • from Spanish: siniverinen (blue-blooded, from Spanish "de sangre azul")


Modern Hebrew

When Jews make an aliyah to Israel, they sometimes change their name to a Hebrew calque. For instance, Imi Lichtenfield, founder of the martial art Krav Maga, became Imi Sde-Or. Both last names mean "light field".
  • mesilat barzel (railway) from German Eisenbahn
  • iton (newspaper) from German and Yiddish zeitung
  • tappuach adamah (potato) from French pomme-de-terre
  • gan yeladim from German Kindergarten
  • kaduregel (כדורגל) (football, specifically association football) from English football


According to linguist Ghil'ad Zuckermann, the more contributing languages have a structurally-identical expression, the more likely it is to be calqued into the target language. In Israeli (his term for "Modern Hebrew") one uses má nishmà, lit. "what's heard?", with the meaning of "what's up?". Zuckermann argues that this a calque not only of the Yiddish expression vos hert zikh (usually pronounced v(o)sérts´kh), lit. "what's heard?", meaning "what's up?", but also of the parallel expressions in Polish, Russian and Romanian. Whereas most revivalists were native Yiddish-speakers, many first speakers of Modern Hebrew spoke Russian and Polish too. So a Polish speaker in the 1930s might have used má nishmà not (only) due to Yiddish vos hert zikh but rather (also) due to Polish co sLychac. A Russian Jew might have used ma nishma due to chto slyshno and a Romanian Israeli would echo ce se aude. According to Zuckermann, such multi-sourced calquing is a manifestation of the Congruence Principle.

See also



Notes

  1. flea market. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  2. calque. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  3. Robb: German English Words germanenglishwords.com
  4. [1]
  5. brainwashing. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  6. [2]
  7. long time no see: Information and Much More from Answers.com
  8. lose face - Definitions from Dictionary.com
  9. Novotná, Z., "Contributions to the Study of Loan-Words and Hybrid Words in Modern Chinese", Archiv Orientalni, (Prague), No. 35 (1967), pp. 613–648. (In English; examples of loan words and calques in Chinese)
  10. Novotná, Z., "Contributions to the Study of Loan-Words and Hybrid Words in Modern Chinese", Archiv Orientalni, (Prague), No. 36 (1968), pp. 295–325. (In English; examples of loan words and calques in Chinese)
  11. Novotná, Z., "Contributions to the Study of Loan-Words and Hybrid Words in Modern Chinese", Archiv Orientalni, (Prague), No. 37 (1969), pp. 48–75. (In English; examples of loan words and calques in Chinese)
  12. Adam's apple. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  13. Website of the Governor General of Canada.
  14. free verse. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  15. old guard. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  16. Lynch, Guide to Grammar and Style — N
  17. new wave. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  18. Foreign Words. Fowler, H. W. 1908. The King's English
  19. masterpiece. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Accessed 17 November 2008.
  20. Plant Info O-R
  21. antibody. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  22. English in Europe by Manfred Görlach
  23. beer garden. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  24. concertmaster - Definitions from Dictionary.com
  25. heldentenor - Definitions from Dictionary.com
  26. loanword - Definitions from Dictionary.com
  27. German Loan Words in English M-Z
  28. superman. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  29. standpoint. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  30. storm trooper. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  31. " thought experiment." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2008. Accessed 17 November 2008.
  32. worldview. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  33. The Mavens' Word of the Day. January 28, 1997.
  34. commonplace. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  35. devil's advocate. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  36. wisdom tooth. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  37. Milky Way. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  38. RIP. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  39. in a nutshell - Definitions from Dictionary.com
  40. Pliny VII.21
  41. blue blood. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  42. moment of truth. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  43. gospel. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  44. Webster's Third New International Dictionary
  45. Cruijff de film
  46. Søk i elektroniske ordbøker
  47. Søk i elektroniske ordbøker
  48. Søk i elektroniske ordbøker
  49. Ordnett.no - Ordbok
  50. Søk i elektroniske ordbøker
  51. Ordnett.no - Ordbok
  52. Ordnett.no - Ordbok
  53. Søk i elektroniske ordbøker
  54. Søk i elektroniske ordbøker
  55. See p. 62 in Zuckermann, Ghil'ad, Hybridity versus Revivability: Multiple Causation, Forms and Patterns. In Journal of Language Contact, Varia 2 (2009), pp. 40-67.
  56. See p. 48 in Zuckermann, Ghil'ad, Hybridity versus Revivability: Multiple Causation, Forms and Patterns. In Journal of Language Contact, Varia 2 (2009), pp. 40-67.


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