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A Chinese Scene (Posted on 2015-04-17) Difficulty: 3 of 5

The mandarin's daughter, accompanied by her amah, rode in a palanquin borne by four sturdy coolies. The group travelled along the bank of a river, on which floated a number of Chinese junks, and through a bamboo grove, whose leaves rustled with the first stirrings of the coming monsoon. At last they approached the pagoda, its spire towering high above the surrounding banyan trees. Princess and maid completed their journey on foot, and made an offering of five taels of silver in a laquered vessel of indigo hue.

Seemingly, a typical Oriental scene; yet it does not contain any words of Chinese origin.

It does, however, contain a number of words borrowed into English from another foreign language.

What is the language, and what are the words?

No Solution Yet Submitted by broll    
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re: yes, many... | Comment 3 of 4 |
(In reply to yes, many... by Dej Mar)

I always used to think more or less along the above lines.

But the Latin for China was Serica ('Silkland'), not China. The OED gives China as a word borrowed from the Portuguese in the 16th Century (though it does also give 'china' as a borrowing from Persian).

The main Chinese word for China is 'the Middle Kingdom (Zhongguo) which, clearly, was not borrowed.

Merriam OED and Collins all give Palanquin as a Portuguese borrowing.


  Posted by broll on 2015-04-20 22:45:52
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