What are some of the strangest loanwords in your language?

By: | Post date: 2017-06-18 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

For Modern Greek:

  • parea ‘group of people hanging out socially’. Either our solitary Catalan loan, or one of our few Ladino loans, from parea (Spanish pareja) ‘couple’. The Catalan etymology is seductive, as it involves the Catalan Company, a parea marauding the Greek countryside.
  • tsonta ‘porn film’. From Venetian zonta ‘joined on’ (Italian giunta); originally meant ‘freebie, lagniappe, baker’s dozen’. Which tells you a lot about Greek cinema practice in the 50s, and their male audiences.
  • teknó ‘toyboy, twink’. From Romani tiknó ‘small child’, via Kaliarda, the Romani-based Greek gay secrecy language, influenced by Church Greek téknon ‘(spiritual) child’.
  • varvatos ‘macho, manly’. From Latin barbatus ‘bearded’.
  • glamouria ‘glamour (sarcastically), flashiness’. From English glamour (itself ultimately from Greek grammatikē via Scots), + the colloquial suffix –ja ‘a strike of something’.
  • zamanfou ‘indifference, complacency’. From French je m’en fous ‘I don’t give a fuck’. Also zamanfoutistas ‘I don’t give a fuck-ist’, zamanfoutismos ‘I don’t give a fuck-ism’.

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