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Well, I missed last week’s WL (to many things going on). So here goes, another special request.
Languages are wonderfully adaptive and creative. You might say they are as creative as all the most creative speakers pooled together. When something new (an idea, a thing, etc.) pops up, the language (by that I mean it’s speakers) can do one of three things: adopt the foreign word that goes with it, use an existing word (or words) or create a new one.
It’s normal for languages to borrow words (and sometimes morphemes) and expressions from one another. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. And the wider the language spreads, the more contact it has with other languages and cultures, the more it’s likely to borrow.
Sometimes words even go back and forth, as the vicissitudes of history leave their mark on the language. For instance, French borrow the word budget from (you guessed it!) English. But English got it from French some centuries before, back when the word was “bougette” and meant a small money purse. [When do we call it borrowing? Does the language intend to eventually give it back, like here?] This word wasn’t even French to begin with, it was borrow from Gaulish.
So what is wrong with borrowings? Nothing as such; it’s all in the way it’s done.
I like language creation, be it texts, words or expressions. Language is the main tool I use in my daily life (and my job, obviously) and I have great respect for its (tapped and untapped) internal resources. So, to me, it is a tribute to the force of a language to create new words (or recycle rare or obsolete ones, like French did with ordinateur (“he who creates order”) to translate computer), instead of trying to fit a foreign one in (like the French (in France) are doing for “e-mail”, when there’s the perfectly good and original courriel).
I think it’s a question of pride in what our language can do.
But sometimes the language does not have a ready word and the creation of one proves cumbersome. Then there’s no problem with adopting the new-comer. Sometimes this word can be used in contrast to the native one (like the good old example of ox/beef). I do it too when nothing seems to do in my own language (recently imported “oblivious” in French because none of the translation conveyed the particular meaning I was looking for, and it finds a perfectly acceptable French morphology in oblivieux).