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Which One Of These Words Was Stolen During Colonialism?

Some people call them "loanwords," but that implies being paid back one day.

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This week on See Something Say Something, I talked to Mona Haydar about her video "Hijabi" and to Kiren Rizvi (@Gothistani) about being bitter about colonialism.

Mona Haydar / YouTube

Click here to listen to the full episode.

when u do a presentation on the atrocities caused by western imperialism

At the end, we played a little game called "Did The English Steal This Word From Your People?", preceded by a rant about colonialism from yours truly, which you can listen to below.

.@seesomething @mona_haydar @gothistani Here's me playing a game of "DID THE ENGLISH STEAL THIS WORD FROM YOUR PEOP… https://t.co/W3jRIxpYud

Excerpt: There's an interesting thing that happens I think for a lot of South Asian/North Indian kids, where you realize so many of the words you use are a product of colonialism. I had this moment, just a year ago, where I used to always think the word "jungli" was so funny, because it sounds like, "oh, they're from the jungle? Why did we come up with that? It's such a funny thing that we took that from English." And then I thought about it for a sec. And I was like, "Jungle... it sounds way more Urdu or Desi than it sounds (like) English." And then I looked it up and I was like, "Yeah, the colonizers literally took the word 'jungle' from us and put it into English.'

During the many years of European colonialism in India, the Middle East, and Africa, many words transferred between cultures.

Disney

Most people only think of the English words that appeared in languages like Hindi, Urdu, and Arabic, but English took words from those languages as well. Can you guess which?

(All etymologies sourced from Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Also, I can't guarantee 100% of these words come directly from colonialism, but at the very least, it makes you think about the way English was influenced by other languages.)

  1. WHICH WORD COMES FROM HINDI?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    MIRAGE
    Correct
    Incorrect
    FOREIGN
    Correct
    Incorrect
    SHAMPOO
    Correct
    Incorrect
    LYCHEE
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Shampoo comes from the word “champo,” meaning massage it. A massage often accompanied a trip to the barber in the subcontinent.

  2. WHICH OF THESE WORDS WAS NOT TAKEN FROM INDIA TO ENGLAND?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    ARMADA
    Correct
    Incorrect
    PARIAH
    Correct
    Incorrect
    KHAKI
    Correct
    Incorrect
    CUMMERBUND
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Armada come from Spanish. The rest come from Hindi. Cummerbund literally means “closed waist." “Khaki” was the word used to refer to the dust color of the colonial officers' uniform. “Pariah” comes from the Tamil word for drummer.

  3. WHICH OF THESE WORDS COMES FROM HINDI/URDU?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    LOOT
    Correct
    Incorrect
    SUIT
    Correct
    Incorrect
    BOOT
    Correct
    Incorrect
    FOOT
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "Loot" was taken from the Hindi word “loot”, which means to steal/plunder.

  4. WHICH OF THESE WORDS COME FROM BRITISH COLONIAL TIMES?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    COOL
    Correct
    Incorrect
    THUG
    Correct
    Incorrect
    SODA
    Correct
    Incorrect
    DUST
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Thug comes from the word "Thug" or "Thugee," meaning a thief or bandit. The British were fascinated by them — and sought to eradicate them in the 1800s.

  5. WHICH OF THESE WORDS COME PERSIAN/FARSI?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    SEERSUCKER
    Correct
    Incorrect
    PAJAMA
    Correct
    Incorrect
    CHECKMATE
    Correct
    Incorrect
    ALL OF THEM
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Pajama comes from Persian "pay-jama" (foot-clothing, literally) which went through Urdu to English. Checkmate comes from "Shaa Maat," meaning “the king is unable to escape” And seersucker comes from the phrase “Sir o Sakar,” meaning milk and sugar, referencing the brown and white stripes of Seersucker.

  6. WHICH WARRIOR WORD COMES FROM ARABIC?  
    Correct
    Incorrect
    KNIGHT
    Correct
    Incorrect
    CAVALRY
    Correct
    Incorrect
    ASSASSIN
    Correct
    Incorrect
    DRAGOON
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    The word assassin is believed to come from the term “hasishiyyin," which refers to an Ismail Nizari group from Alamut in Iran. Though not confirmed, the hasishiyyin had a reputation for murdering powerful political opponents under the influence of hashish.

  7. WHICH OF THESE WORDS COMES FROM THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    GIGANTIC
    Correct
    Incorrect
    BACCHANALIA
    Correct
    Incorrect
    JUGGERNAUT
    Correct
    Incorrect
    VEER
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "Juggernaut" comes from Vishnu's title, Jaggnath ("Lord of the World"). The word came into English after stories of the massive carts that carried his image through the streets were told by travelers from the region.

  8. WHICH ANIMAL TERM COMES FROM ARABIC?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    GAZELLE
    Correct
    Incorrect
    ELEPHANT
    Correct
    Incorrect
    PARAKEET
    Correct
    Incorrect
    ALL OF THE ABOVE
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    The Arabic word gazelle is actually from the word "ghazaal," which is the name of the animal in Arabic.

  9. WHAT LANGUAGE DOES THE WORD "SAFARI" COME FROM?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    ARABIC
    Correct
    Incorrect
    HINDI
    Correct
    Incorrect
    SWAHILI
    Correct
    Incorrect
    ENGLISH
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Safari comes from the Arabic word “safar,” which means to travel.

  10. WHICH WORD WAS TAKEN FROM HINDI?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    BANGLE
    Correct
    Incorrect
    MANGLE
    Correct
    Incorrect
    JINGLE
    Correct
    Incorrect
    TANGLE
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Bangle comes from the word "bangli," meaning a glass bracelet.

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