Please Help New English Review
For our donors from the UK:
New English Review
New English Review Facebook Group
Follow New English Review On Twitter
Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

Email This Article
Your Name:
Your Email:
Email To:
6 + 8 = ?: (Required) Please type in the correct answer to the math question.

You are sending a link to...
Hinterland - get thee behind me

I was "shocked, shocked" (an Americanism) to read that the Italians are borrowing "the English word hinterland". Next they'll be borrowing the English word Schadenfreude, the English word Zeitgeist or the English word Weltschmerz. Even the English word frisson  has a certain je ne sais quoi. Actually, I don't find the phrase je ne sais quoi very simpatico. It's rather staccato. And Heaven forbid the Italians borrow those last two words.

We got over it - profited from it - so can they. We "borrowed" words and incorporated them, with interest, into our wonderful language. So it is "not very wonderful," as Jane Austen said, that our language is so wonderful:

And while English can mostly take it, being famously flexible and receptive to linguistic imports, able to accommodate them better than languages with smaller lexicons, there are languages, such as French and Italian, where the over-borrowing is getting truly annoying.

And why does English have a big lexicon? Because it borrowed, shamelessly and joyfully. And adapted as it adopted. When English borrowed "mutton", that word did not replace "sheep"; it added a word for "sheep meat". We gave our new words a hearty welcome, which is rather different from a cordial reception.

If other languages can't adapt as they adopt, then perhaps they don't deserve to survive. Survival is of the fittest, that is, of the most fitting.

By the way, Jane Austen, perhaps aware that the word "wonderful" was changing in meaning from "strange" or "surprising" to "marvellous", used the word only in a negative construction. Language change begets tension and uncertainty. She could not have anticipated Fats Waller's "When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful". Are we the worse for this change? Not at all. Was it resented at the time? Natch. "Darn tootin." What do you think?

Guns, Germs and Steel in Tanzania
The Thinking Person's Safari
Led by Geoffrey Clarfield
Most Recent Posts at The Iconoclast
Search The Iconoclast
Enter text, Go to search:


The Iconoclast Posts by Author
The Iconoclast Archives
sun mon tue wed thu fri sat
     1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31