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What Can Non-Native English Speakers Contribute to the English Language?

EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students enrich the language by suggesting new words that may be “missing” from English.

blogpost-power of words

English is a language that collects and incorporates words from many other languages and cultures as the need arises. In a recent forum on LinkedIn, bilingual educators in the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) field from all over the world discussed words that their own countries contributed to this melting pot, as well as suggesting terms that exist in their own languages that could supplement English.

One of the contributors from Spain noted that over 60% of English words have French or Latin origin, and travel back and forth between languages and cultures. He coined this phenomenon “boomerang words.” As a result, there are many words that are similar in many languages. For example, the word for mother: mommy, mum, mom, maman, mama, mutti, amma, ema, and so on.

Another EFL forum member from India coined the word “commutainment” which refers to communication through entertainment activities in the English language (ESL) classroom. The new word combines communication + entertainment, which he uses in his writing on bilingualism, hoping the term will eventually become mainstream.

A repeating theme amongst the suggestions for words missing in English were terms wishing someone “increased energy” and another congratulating someone on a new purchase—both important concepts exist in many other languages, but not in English.

As English is a dynamic language, all Helen Doron English for kids courses constantly add new materials that reflect updates and changes, while maintaining a fun, musical and challenging environment.