English Today

Original Article

Persian loanwords in English

Alan S. Kaye a1
a1 Professor of Linguistics at California State University, Fullerton.

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A survey of terms inherited from Persian, often through intermediate languages. ENGLISH may be considered a typical case of a European language indebted to Persian, often through the intermediary of another language, a point with which this survey seeks to deal. A comprehensive list of such loanwords, direct and indirect, can be found in Cannon and Kaye (2001), to which the reader is referred for the full list of the 811 items, including their etyma. One hundred and thirty three of these are distant loans, as with the word azure (‘a light purplish blue’), which comes into English through Old French, probably through Old Spanish azur [similar] azul, which comes in turn from Arabic lazaward [similar] lazuward, and ultimately from Persian lajuvard (‘azure; cobalt blue’). This thematically-organized article provides a general review of the field.