views updated May 23 2018

FOREIGNISM. A foreign WORD or expression, as in the headline ‘No more Antagonismo’ (Time, 15 Aug. 1988). Foreign expressions in English (as opposed to BORROWINGS or LOANWORDS proper) are generally used for special effect, for ‘local colour’, or to demonstrate special knowledge. In print, they typically appear in italics and are usually glossed:
In the bazaars the shops were silently shuttered. In place of the turmoil of hawkers, scooters and vans pedestrians shrouded in the phiran, the long woollen winter coat, wandered or lounged in good humoured idleness, clutching under their wraps the kongri, a basket containing an earthenware bowl full of hot charcoal to keep them warm (‘Letter from Srinagar’, The Times, 23 Jan. 1984). There tends to be a gradation in English from less to more foreign. French expressions range from the integrated (but variously pronounced) garage through elite/élite and coup d'etat/état to fin de siècle and pâtisserie. In such a spread, it is difficult to specify precisely where the ‘properly’ foreign begins: all the items are foreign, but some are more foreign than others, and more foreign for some than for others. Non-native words are used in English to a vast and unmeasurable extent. Many varieties of the language have everyday usages that in others would be foreignisms: Maori expressions in NZE, Hawaiian elements in AmE, and Gallicisms in the English of Quebec. See HARD WORD, LOAN, NATIVIZATION.