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A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi
A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

Words We Pinched From Other Languages


176 Pages, 5 x 7.75

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $9.95 (US $9.95) (CA $12.95)

Publication Date: April 2017

ISBN 9781782434320

Rights: US & CA

Michael O'Mara Books (Apr 2017)
Michael O'Mara

Price: $9.95


A handy guide to the meanings and origins of the many foreign phrases we use every day

English as we know it today is enriched with many borrowings and influences from other languages. Aficionado, chutzpah, pro bono, hoi polloi, ketchup, nous, zeitgeist—we use these foreign words every day without thinking of their origins, but what do they actually mean? And just how and why did we English speakers absorb such exotic imports? Each phrase has a fascinating history; colonialism, foreign trade, invasion, and immigration all have their role to play in the evolution of our language. Did you know, for example, that "lingua franca" is Italian for "Frankish language"—a name given to a mixed common language used by diplomats of different nationalities in medieval times? Or that the seemingly modern "bandana" comes from the Sanskrit for the ancient Indian technique of tie-dying fabric? This book is an accessible and entertaining treasury of information that "connoisseurs" (French) of the English language will love!

Author Biography

Chloe Rhodes is a freelance writer and journalist whose work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Times, and the Independent on Sunday. Her previous books include Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A Book of Old-Fashioned Superstitions.