Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See loan translation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A word or phrase in a language formed by word-for-word or morpheme-by-morpheme translation of a word in another language.
  • v. To adopt (a word or phrase) from one language to another by semantic translation of its parts.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. See 2d calk, v. t.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • See calk.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an expression introduced into one language by translating it from another language

Etymologies

French, from calquer, to trace, copy, from Italian calcare, to press, from Latin calcāre, to tread on, from calx, heel.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French calque ("calque/loan translation"), from French calquer ("to trace"), from Italian calcare. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Ringbom also suggests that misspellings, borrowings and coinage are transfer of form while calque is transfer of meaning.

    E is for Error « An A-Z of ELT

  • Somehow I have a feeling that конъюнктурный in this case is a calque from the English conjecture, in the sense that the previous editors presumed to be able to second-guess how Dostoyevsky's text would have looked were he to have written it at the time of republication, somewhat like those "plain text" editions of Shakespeare.

    languagehat.com: DOSTOEVSKY AND RUSSIAN PUNCTUATION.

  • Somehow I have a feeling that конъюнктурный in this case is a calque from the English conjecture

    languagehat.com: DOSTOEVSKY AND RUSSIAN PUNCTUATION.

  • 2. You don't seem to have paid attention to the word "calque" in my comment.

    languagehat.com: GAELIC IN THE EU.

  • This is borne out by empirical research (e.g Olsen 1999) CLI researchers tend to classify Lexical transfer as misspellings, borrowings, coinage and calque.

    E is for Error « An A-Z of ELT

  • The word "bushmeat" is a word-for-word translation or calque of the French phrase viande de brousse.

    Week in Words

  • I have heard that “are you coming with?” is a calque of German “kommst du mit?”

    Where are you (at)? « Motivated Grammar

  • Dr. G, in the NT as in the Septuagint, it's regarded to be a calque from Hebrew and Aramaic.

    And now for something completely different

  • That is to say, Sumerian Utu-zi 'Life-breath of the sun' would have become a partial calque Ut(a)-napishtim which would be reinterpreted by scribes and priests to mean 'he found (uta-) life-breath (napishtim)' (nb. the replacement of Sum. utu 'sun' with Bab. ūta 'found') and thus back into Sumerian with the reformulated Zi-ud-sura 'Life of long days', now implying a character who has found immortality.

    Archive 2009-11-01

  • Home » For Translators » What is a calque?

    What is a calque?

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Comments

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  • I like this word because it is short, almost clipped, yet expresses an idea that is both very specific and reflective of the general human tendency of borrowing and creating patterns. Though it's a term from linguistics and etymology, I suspect it can apply to other areas of human thought as well, where something alien is domesticated in such a way that its alien roots are hidden, are expressed only obliquely through translation.

    November 29, 2007

  • A lexical borrowing strategy in which the recipient language, rather than copying the phonological form of a word or term, translates each morpheme directly into the native language, creating an equivalent idiom. For example, early translators of the Bible in English rendered the Latin term remorsus "remorse" as again-bite" and the Latin term reflectere "reflect" as "again-shine."

    June 20, 2007