These words are spoken every day, but where do they actually come from? The answer lies in a rich tapestry of cultures and languages from every corner of the globe. Find out where words such as whiskey, chocolate and government originated and explore the cultural context behind their introduction into the English language.
Leader Writer and Columnist at The Times
Oliver Kamm is a leader writer and columnist for The Times. He joined the newspaper in 2008 and now writes popular weekly columns on language and the economy.
Why do we adopt foreign words into the English language?
Because they're useful. If there is a need for it then people will either coin a word or import it from another language. Our French cousins are always doing this. The Académie française is supposed to safeguard the purity of French, but of course they can't do it. Young French people will import useful terms from English, and we do the same.