Some schools of thought in linguistics posit that only about 30 percent of the vocabulary we use in modern English is derived from the native tongue itself, that is, from Anglo-Saxon-as English prior to 1100 is called. The rest is derived from an amalgam of different languages, mostly Latin and Greek but also several other languages, leading some linguists to characterize the English language as a “loaned language.”
A number of African languages have also enriched the lexical repertoire of the English language. In this article, I isolate a few quotidian English words that trace lexical descent installment loans Rhode Island online to African languages, often by way of African-American Vernacular English (now informally called Ebonics).
In their book, The African Heritage of American English , Joseph Holloway and Winifred Vass aver that two major senses of this word-that is, to annoy or bother persistently and a small insect- are derived from West African languages. They say the sense of “bug” that means annoy (as in, the paparazzi bugged the celebrities endlessly) traces its roots to the Mandingo word “ baga ,” which means “to offend, annoy, harm (someone).” “ Bugal ,” they point out, is the Wolof equivalent of the Mandingo “ baga .” Wolof and Mandingo, as I’ve pointed out in previous articles , are the main languages in Senegal and the Gambia and belong to the same Niger-Congo language family. (more…)