English language has assimilated a lot of words from different languages within itself. Because it has been the ‘lingua franca’, French for ‘common language’ or ‘link language’, as English was adopted by native speakers from different lingual backgrounds, some specific words from their system got absorbed in English. Many of these are in common usage today even when someone is talking in proper English.
We present here a list of 10 such words which are good to learn as you perfect your conversation skills in English. We will not be considering common words like ‘ballet’ or ‘café’ here, but specific foreign phrases which are used in particular contexts.
1. Faux Pas
Borrowed from French language, a faux pas is a social mistake. When you commit a faux pas, you’ve made a blunder in front of the public. For example, ‘the government official made a faux pas when he wrongly named the President of India!’
Tip – the ‘x’ and ‘s’ in faux pas are silent. Remember it when you use it!
This word originally comes from Chinese, in which it means ‘to work together’. However, when the word transitions to English, it means to be excited about doing something. For example, ‘I am gung-ho about going to the amusement park on Sunday!’
This phrase is taken from French language, and is used as a wish to say ‘have a nice trip’. For example, ‘When Rakesh was about to leave for America, his little daughter shouted, ‘bon voyage daddy!’
4. Ipso Facto
This has been borrowed from Latin, and it means ‘by fact itself’. It is used in situations when a conclusion can be drawn by itself. For example, ‘If a murder has been committed, there has to be an ipso facto killer.’ Another example is, ‘Because he was the eldest son, he had the ipso facto claim to the inheritance.’
5. Status quo
Again borrowed from Latin, this means ‘existing condition’. For example, ‘the government must put some measures in place to bring about a change in status quo’.
Why don’t you practice these words and see more instances of where you can use them? We’ll come back with some more tips in our next blog post for quick hacks to effective English speaking.