A Language of Loanwords

You may know that English has borrowed many words from other languages because of war, prestige, or trade. For example, deep English language roots trace back to Old Norse and other Germanic languages. During the Norman invasion in 1066, many French words were introduced into the language. Latin and Greek were also highly prestigious languages, from which English speakers kept many academic words. Although these language connections are the most widespread, English actually has words borrowed from nearly 150 languages! Take a look at this short list of words taken from other languages. You may be surprised where these English words actually come from!
  • alphabet – Greek (taken from the first and second letters in the Greek alphabet “alpha” and “beta”)
  • anchovy – Basque, spoken by a small population in  Northern Spain and Southwest France (means “dried fish”)
  • banana – Wolof, spoken by countries in West Africa
  • barbecue – Carib, spoken in the Caribbean (It means “wooden frame on posts.” Barbecue is usually cooked over wooden frames over fire.)
  • bikini – Marshallese, spoken in the Marshall Islands (two-piece bathing suit named after one of the islands)
  • candy – Sanskrit, an ancient language spoken in Northern India (means “crytalized sugar”)
  • coach – Hungarian (named after its town of origin)
  • cola – Temne , spoken in Sierra-Leone (named after a nut used to make drinks)
  • dollar – German (named after its town of origin)
  • garbage – Arabic, spoken in much of the Middle East and Northern Africa
  • kindergarten – German (means “children’s garden")
  • lemon and lime – Farsi, spoken in Iran and Afghanistan
  • magic – Avestan, an ancient language spoken in ancient Persia (means “sorcerer”)
  • massage – Portuguese (It means “dough.” Dough is usually kneaded.)
  • paper – Egyptian (from “papyrus”)
  • purse – Punic, an ancient language spoken in ancient Carthage (means “ox hide”)
  • rice – Farsi, spoken in Iran and Afghanistan
  • robot – Czech (means “forced labor”)
  • Santa Claus – Dutch (the Dutch word for “Father Christmas”)
  • shampoo – Hindi, spoken in Northern India (means “massage”)
  • shark – Maya, spoken in Southern Mexico
  • silk – Lithuanian (named after its town of origin)
  • ski – Norwegian (means “split wood”)
  • tomato – Nahuatl, spoken in Central America and Mexico (from “tomatl”)
  • tsunami – Japanese
  • tulip – Turkish (It is the Turkish word for “turban.” Tulips resemble turbans.)
  • ugly – Norse, the ancient language of the Vikings (means “to dread”)
  • Utah – Navajo, a Native American language
  • yo-yo – Tagolog, spoken in the Philippines (a toy for children)
  • zero – Arabic (many Arabians were mathematicians)
Do you know any other borrowed words? Visit this website for more interesting facts! Learn more vocabulary at Nomen Global!

Student Spotlight: Lomaine Buisserth

Lomaine Buisserth is from Haiti. She is studying English for the first time in the United States. She started studying at Nomen Global 4 months ago because her son-in-law is American and she lives in Provo now. She loves Nomen Global because she is improving her English more every day. After she finishes studying, she will continue working.

Lomaine is a proud mother and thinks very highly of her children. She does everything she can to spend quality time with her family. Lomaine also enjoys watching movies, singing, and eating fish.

Meet Lomaine and more family-oriented students like her at Nomen Global.

80s Affair

Last Thursday we traveled back twenty-five years to experience one of the most popular modern music eras! Nomen Global students and their teachers dressed the part to experience 80s and 90s music the way it should be experienced. Dance machines and wallflowers alike had a great time chatting, eating, singing, and dancing. Take a look at a few of the pictures we took from this event.

Upcoming Activities
BYU Football
Experience first-hand this intensely popular American sport at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Even if the rules confuse you, you'll enjoy cheering with the crowd.

To learn more about Nomen Global and its activities, visit our website.

Active and Passive Voice

As students advance their English ability, we find that English allows us to say the same thing in more than one way. When we reach this point, it is not so much what we say but rather how we say it. One instance where being both grammatically correct and stylistically appropriate occurs when using passive voice.

Active Voice
Active voice is generally the style of speaking that students learn first. In active sentences, the verb is performed by the subject.
  • James wrote a book.
In this sentence, "James" is the subject. He is the one who "wrote."

Passive Voice
Passive voice is the opposite of active voice. In order to form the passive, the verb must have a direct object.
  • James wrote a book. ("Book" is the direct object.)
  • James slept. (There is no direct object.)
"James slept" cannot be made into the passive voice, but "James wrote a book" can.

Forming the Passive
If the verb has a direct object, the object then becomes the subject of the passive sentence. 
  • a book
The verb is formed by matching the original verb tense to the be verb. In this case, the verb tense is the simple past. The simple past form of the be verb that agrees with "book" is "was." After was, add the past participle of the main verb: "written."
  • was written
The original subject can then be added using a by-phrase. 
  • by James
You have just formed the passive voice!
  • A book was written by James.
Here are examples of other verb tenses changes into the passive.
  • James is writing a book. > A book is being written by James.
  • James was writing a book. > A book was being written by James.
  • James has written a book. > A book has been written by James.
  • James had been writing a book. > A book had been written by James.
  • Did James write a book? > Was a book written by James?
  • Has James written a book? > Has a book been written by James?
Using the Passive
In many cases, the passive and the active forms of sentences have the same meaning. In these cases the active voice is preferred. 

However, sometimes the passive is useful! If the subject is unknown or unimportant, use the passive.
  • My purse was stolen! (We don't know who stole the purse.)
  • This program was founded in 1901. (Maybe we know who founded the program, but the focus is on the program, not on the founder.)
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was written by C.S. Lewis. (Even if we know who wrote the book, we are placing more emphasis on the book, not on the author.)
Using the passive voice correctly in the correct places is a great writing skill. If you want to know more about how to use the passive and how to improve your writing, visit us at Nomen Global.

Student Spotlight: Jorge Carlos Rodriguez

Jorge Carlos Rodriguez is from Mexico. He has been studying at Nomen Global for about one month and plans to stay here for one year. Jorge plans to go to an American university one day, so he is refining his English ability until he applies for different colleges.

Jorge is meeting new friends from all over the world. Hanging out with friends is one of Jorge's favorite activities, and now he has friends from many different countries. Jorge enjoys diversity and different cultures. His favorite food, for example, is tikka masala, an Indian dish that features chicken in a creamy, spicy tomato sauce.

Once Jorge finishes studying English, he hopes to accomplish a few of his goals: to finish school and find a job in the U.S. He can't wait to meet people, make friends, and improve his family relationships along the way.

Meet Jorge and other cultured students like him at Nomen Global.

A Case of the Mondays: Library and Canyon Tours

Statistics have shown that people in the United States hate Monday more than any other day of the week. However, at Nomen Global Mondays always come with excitement and rare opportunities. The last two weeks, Nomen Global has taken its students to two must-see destinations in Provo: the historic Provo Library and the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls.

Provo Library
The Provo Library, originally built as Brigham Young Academy, was first erected in 1892. It was used as a school for decades until Brigham Young Academy became Brigham Young University. The city's library system was established in 1905, but lacked an ideal place to house the city's books. The current Provo Library building was actually an abandoned building until 1997 when the city funded a complete restoration of the building through generous donations and grants. Today, the Provo Library is one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in the city.

Last Monday, Nomen Global students took 2 different tours of this historic library. We split up into two groups with two different tour guides; one took us on a tour of the original sections of the building while the other took us on a tour of the new wing that holds most of the books. We learned about the different programs available to the public as well as how to get a Provo Library card.

Bridal Veil Falls
As summer comes to a close and fall sweeps over Provo, our students are noticing many changes in nature and the weather. We took a trip up Provo Canyon to the famous Bridal Veil Falls to talk about and collect different types of leaves at the start of this cooler season.

In addition to learning new vocabulary for the different trees along the Wasatch Front, we enjoyed a beautiful morning near the waterfall.

Upcoming Activities
80s - 90s Dance Party
Travel back in time to one of the most popular music eras of the century. We're bringin' back Michael Jackson, New Kids on the Block, Queen, Styx, Vanilla Ice, Mariah Carey, and N'Sync. Come to Nomen Global with your best impression of 80s - 90s style.

Learn more about Nomen Global and the exciting activities we have at our website.

Writing Strategies: Parallel Structure

Parallel structure is a writing strategy that can turn an unorganized voice into a unified, professional one. Parallel structure simply means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas are of equal importance. Writing that includes a thesis statement can especially benefit from parallel structure; however, all writing that has a more formal purpose can be improved with this strategy.

For example, if we were writing an essay on "liking or disliking autumn," our thesis statement would include at least three reasons to support our point of view.

Parallel structure, again, shows that our three reasons are equally important. Parallel structure may use noun, verb, gerund, infinitive, adjective, or phrase patterns.

All of the items in the series would be represented by a noun (a person, place, or thing).
  • Autumn is my favorite season because of the leaves, the weather, and the food.
If we wanted to add adjectives to modify these nouns, be sure that each noun has an adjective.
  • Autumn is my favorite season because of the colorful leaves, the cooler weather, and the seasonal food.

All of the items in the series would be represented by a verb (an action).
  • Autumn is my favorite season because I can collect colorful leaves, feel cooler weather, and eat seasonal food.

All of the items in the series would be represented by gerunds (-ing verbs used as nouns).
  • Autumn is my favorite season because I love collecting colorful leaves, feeling cooler weather, and eating seasonal food.

All of the items in the series would be represented by an infinitive (a to + verb form used as a noun).
  • Autumn is not my favorite season because I do not like to see dying leaves, to wear thicker clothing, or to start school again.

All of the items in the series would be represented by an adjective (a describing word).
  • Autumn is not my favorite season because it is gloomy, cold, and dark.

Phrases or Clauses
All of the items in the series would be represented by a type of phrase (a group of words that go together) or clause (a phrase that includes a subject and a verb).
  • Autumn is my not favorite season because leaves die, the weather changes, and the sun disappears.
  • The reasons I dislike autumn are that the leaves die, that the weather changes, and that the sun disappears.
  • Autumn is not my favorite season because the leaves change to a different color, fall off the trees, and stay on the ground.

To learn more about parallel structure and other writing tips, visit us at Nomen Global.

Student Spotlight: Chiyao (Amos)

Chiyao (Amos) is from Taiwan. He has been studying at Nomen Global for 4 and a half months and currently has no plans to leave any time soon. Amos is studying English because he wants to use this global language in his career and for worldwide travel.

Amos especially enjoys the activities at Nomen Global. He actively participates in almost every Conversation Cafe and thoroughly enjoys Monday Activities. He also thinks that the teachers are very nice.

"I feel my English is progressing. I'm so happy." Amos believes that his greatest success is learning grammar, vocabulary, and reading.

Aside from studying English, Amos enjoys running, cooking, and playing on the computer. Although he enjoys food from almost any country, he especially loves watermelon and deli sandwiches.

Amos hopes to travel to many countries in his lifetime, and he believes his English will make traveling convenient. He also hopes to find a lovely wife and go on a church service mission with her one day.

Meet Amos and other fast-learning students like him at Nomen Global.

Bowling at Fat Cats

What would you guess is the most popular sport in the world? If you said "soccer," you're right! But second place for the most popular sport is actually bowling. That's why Nomen Global students took an afternoon to show off their skills at Fat Cats bowling alley in Provo. 

In bowling, 300 points equals a perfect game. Our students found out just how hard it is to get even 100 points! We had both great and not-so-great bowlers, but we all had a fun time! Take a look at some of the pictures we took for our last Conversation Cafe.

To learn more about Nomen Global and our activities, visit our website.

Punctuation: Ellipses and Slashes

For the final installment of our punctuation explanation, we will look at ellipses and slashes. Both of these punctuation marks are extremely useful; however, they should be used with caution in formal writing.

Ellipses ( . . . ) are formed by three equally-spaced dots, with a space in between each dot. In formal writing, ellipses are often used to indicate where the writer omitted words from an original quote. Ellipses can also be used to show hesitation or lapse in thought. This second function is very common in informal writing, such as in email and on Facebook, but can be irritating if overused. Here are a few examples of how to use the ellipses.
  1. To show omission from quoted material
    In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling writes, "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
    Use ellipses to keep the meaning of the quote but to omit the word Harry.
    It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
  2. To indicate a pause or break in speech
    I believe that we have three . . . maybe four volunteers.
The Slash
The slash is found under the question mark on the keyboard. It has many uses, but these are often considered shorthand versions of more formal versions. Here are the uses with a few examples.
  1. To show fractions
    Sally ate 1/2 of the sandwich.
    Of all the students in the school, 3/4 of the students are from Asia.
  2. To separate the day, the month, and the year in dates
    Today is 9/9/2011.
  3. To substitute for the word per in certain measurements
    Our car gets 25 mi/gal.
    Junior can type 80 w/m.
    These bananas cost 3 lbs/$1!
  4. To substitute for the word or (considered very informal or even lazy)
    Dear Sir/Madam (Sir or Madam)
    Each guest may drink water and/or punch. (water and punch
    or water or punch)
  5. To indicate some abbreviations
    He would like a salad w/o dressing. (without)
    n/a (not applicable)
Punctuation is an extremely valuable system in our language. To learn more about punctuation and grammar, visit us at Nomen Global!

Teacher Spotlight: Cherie Allen

Cherie Allen is a native Utahn who has a passion for teaching and learning. Cherie received her bachelor's degree in English literature with a minor in foreign language. She has always demonstrated a love for English, other languages, and other cultures. Cherie began working at Nomen Global last month teaching College Preparation Grammar and Level 4 Integrated Skills.

Before she started teaching at Nomen Global, Cherie was a substitute teacher for 2 years at various schools. Cherie has enjoyed the students that she has worked with over the years and is excited for the cultural diversity among the students at Nomen Global. Cherie says, "The staff is amazing and the students love to learn!"

In addition to her solid background with English and teaching, Cherie's greatest strengths are interacting with the students on their level, remaining positive, being persistent, and having an outstanding personality. Cherie believes that she should not only teach everyone something but also learn something everyday.

In her spare time, Cherie enjoys wake boarding, snow skiing, and hiking.

Meet Cherie and other passionate teachers like her at Nomen Global.

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day is a federal holiday recognized in every state in the United States. It celebrates the professional achievements of American workers in the present and the past. Enjoy your day off!

Punctuation: Dashes and Hyphens

The next three marks we will discuss in our punctuation explanation are the em dash (—), the en dash (–), and the hyphen (-). Because all three of these marks look so similar, they are often confused by writers. They are each simple lines but have different lengths and different functions. For our discussion, we will begin with the longest and end with the shortest.

Em Dash
The em dash is named so because it is the width of the letter m. We use the em dash almost exactly the same way we use commas, colons, semicolons, or parentheses—informally, of course. The em dash is wildly popular; however, you should avoid using it in formal writing. The em dash often adds more emphasis or shows contrast. Here are some examples of how the em dash can be used.
  • That girl—that beautiful girl—captured Scott's heart. (The em dash adds emphasis.)
  • Pleasantville had seemed like such a wonderful place—until now. (The em dash shows contrast.)
  • I would love to help—oh wait. I can't right now. (The em dash shows contrast.)
  • My friends—Joseph, Rita, and Janet—will help me move into my new apartment. (Commas or parentheses could also work here.)
  • There was only one thing on her mind—the treasure. (A colon could also work here.)
  • I earn the money—my wife spends it all. (A semicolon could also work here.)
En Dash
The en dash is named so because it is the width of the letter n. It has two very specific and not-so-common purposes: to replace the word to in numerical ranges and to connect open compound adjectives.
Here are some examples of the en dash with numerical ranges.
  • Our homework is to read pages 8–13 in our textbook.
  • Shannon was living in Japan from 2009–2011.
Normally, a hyphen is used to connect compound adjective.
  • A traffic jam is blocking the Utah-Idaho border.
The compound adjective ,"Utah-Idaho," describes "border." However, when the compound adjective includes two-word parts, we use an en dash instead of a hyphen.
  • A traffic jam is blocking the New York–Pennsylvania border.
The hyphen is the shortest of the three marks and can be found on the keyboard next to the number zero (0) and the equals sign (=). Hyphens can be used for three main purposes: to connect compound words and adjectives, to clarify certain prefixes, and to show word breaks.
Hyphens are used in most compound words and adjectives, but not in all compound words like phrasal verbs.
  • mother-in-law, sugar-free candy, 5-year-old daughter
  • Turn off the TV.
  • The thief broke into my house.
Hyphens are used to clarify prefixes when the prefix might otherwise be ambiguous.
  • co-owner (not "coowner")
  • re-cover (to cover again) vs. recover (to get well)
Lastly, hyphens are used to show word breaks.
  • Maria has two children: a five- and a three-year-old.
  • Carsten is excited to start his uni-
    versity classes this week.
The em dash, the en dash, an the hyphen are three helpful punctuation marks. To learn more about punctuation and writing, visit us at Nomen Global.