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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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Some Thoughts re(2): yes, many... Comment 4 of 4 |
(In reply to re: yes, many... by broll)

The Century Dictionary shows the etymology of palanquin,
sometimes written palankeen, and formerly also written
palankin, palanchine, palankee, and palkee, as borrowed into
English from French, (Italian, and Spanish):

< French palanquin
  = Italian palanchino
  = Spanish palanquin,
< Portuguese palanquim "a covered litter"
  = Javanese palangki, palanghan "litter, sedan",
< Pali palanki, Hindi pālkī, pallaki "a palanquin
  (comparable to Hindi palang "a bed, couch"),
< Sanskrit palyanka, Prakrit pallanka "couch, bed, litter"

The Online Etymological Dictionary does support that the word is
considered to have an etymological step in Portuguese, circa 1580s. The OED also infers that the Latin phalanga "pole to carry a burdern", from whence Spanish palanca is derived, may be cognate to the word. Indicating a possible presence in European languages long before being (re-?)borrowed by the Portuguese from the Orient.

The borrowing of palanquin may have occurred directly or indirectly from the Portuguese. Some lexicographers have different scholarly opinions on the matter. A word's origin can be debated. Many words have migrated back and forth from language to language, changing often in form and pronunciation in each passing. It is difficult, if not impossible, to truly identify the original language.

Edited on April 21, 2015, 3:25 pm
  Posted by Dej Mar on 2015-04-21 15:21:46

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