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As the process of borrowing is mostly connected with the appearance of new notions which the loan words serve to express, it is natural that the borrowing is seldom limited to one language. Words of identical origin that occur in several languages as a result of simultaneous or successive borrowings from one ultimate source are called international words.
Expanding global contacts result in the considerable growth of international vocabulary. All languages depend for their changes upon the cultural and social matrix in which they operate and various contacts between nations are part of this matrix reflected in vocabulary.
International words play an especially prominent part in various terminological systems including the vocabulary of science, industry and art. The etymological sources of this vocabulary reflect the history of world culture. Thus, for example, the mankind’s cultural debt to Italy is reflected in the great number of Italian words connected with architecture, painting and especially music that are borrowed into most European languages: allegro, andante, aria, arioso, barcarole, baritone (and other names for voices), concert, duet, opera (and other names for pieces of music), piano and many many more.
The rate of change in technology, political, social and artistic life has been greatly accelerated in the 20th century and so has the rate of growth of international wordstock. A few examples of comparatively new words due to the progress of science will suffice to illustrate the importance of international vocabulary: algorithm, antenna, antibiotic, automation, bionics, cybernetics, entropy, gene, genetic code, graph, microelectronics, microminiaturisation, quant, quasars, pulsars, ribosome, etc. All these show sufficient likeness in English, French, Russian and several other languages.
The international wordstock is also growing due to the influx of exotic borrowed words like anaconda, bungalow, kraal, orang-outang, sari, etc. These come from many different sources.
International words should not be mixed with words of the common Indo-European stock that also comprise a sort of common fund of the European languages.
This layer is of great importance for the foreign language teacher not only because many words denoting abstract notions are international but also because he must know the most efficient ways of showing the points of similarity and difference between such words as control : : контроль; general : : генерал; industry : : индустрия or magazine : : магазин, etc. usually called ‘translator’s false friends’.
The treatment of international words at English lessons would be one-sided if the teacher did not draw his pupils’ attention to the spread of the English vocabulary into other languages. We find numerous English words in the field of sport: football, out, match, tennis, time. A large number of English words are to be found in the vocabulary pertaining to clothes: jersey, pullover, sweater, nylon, tweed, etc. Cinema and different forms of entertainment are also a source of many international words of English origin: film, club, cocktail, jazz.
At least some of the Russian words borrowed into English and many other languages and thus international should also be mentioned: balalaika, bolshevik, cosmonaut, czar, intelligentsia, Kremlin, mammoth, rouble, sambo, soviet, sputnik, steppe, vodka.
To sum up this brief treatment of loan words it is necessary to stress that in studying loan words a linguist cannot be content with establishing the source, the date of penetration, the semantic sphere to which the word belonged and the circumstances of the process of borrowing. All these are very important, but one should also be concerned with the changes the new language system into which the loan word penetrates causes in the word itself, and, on the other hand, look for the changes occasioned by the newcomer in the English vocabulary, when in finding its way into the new language it pushed some of its lexical neighbours aside. In the discussion above we have tried to show the importance of the problem of conformity with the patterns typical of the receiving language and its semantic needs.
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