The most confusing loanwords.

Nowadays even people who have never formally learnt English know at least a dozen of words originating from this language. It is because of the loanwords that are incredibly widespread in the world of business, art, entertainment, science and technology. Words like smartphone, laptop, deadline or link are now an integral part of the vocabulary range of most Poles. However, sometimes a word that has come to Polish from English changes its meaning a bit on the way. Have a look at a few of the most confusing loanwords, that are originally used differently.

“Sing from playback” - or maybe just to play background music?

When you talk to a native English speaker about artists who have been forced to use their recorded voice during a concert instead of just singing, you might feel tempted to use the expression “to sing from playback”. Please don’t! In English this whole phrase is expressed by a single verb - “to lip-sinc”. “Playback” is used in a different context - it means playing a recording again in order to hear or see something one more time. “Sing from playback” would be very confusing for an English person, even though an English word is used here - crazy, isn’t it ;)

I like boysbands - and everybody knows you mean the band members :)

The word “boysband” has been used widely in Polish for years now. However, it is difficult to say why “boys” is used in plural. In the original English version it is “the band” that goes in plural, so the correct sentence would be “We love boybands” or “boy bands” and not “boysbands”. The same goes for female bands - the correct form is “girl bands”.

“Parking” - a noun or a verb?

“Parking” is another English word that has a different meaning in Polish. Poles use it to describe a place designated to park a car. In English it is actually a gerund form of the verb “to park” and will be used in a sentence like “I’m parking my car now”. A place where you can leave your car is called “a car park” in British English and “a parking lot” in American English.

Jeans - fabric, trousers or something else?

It would be difficult to find a person who has never worn or at least has never heard of jeans. However, not every fabric that looks like jeans is actually called that way in English. The word “jeans” comes from “Genewa” (and to be precise - from the way it is pronounced in French) and is only used to talk about trousers. All other products and the fabric itself are referred to as “denim”. What’s more, instead of “jeans” you can also say “denims”.

That is the end of our list of the most confusing loanwords. If you want to learn more interesting facts on English - visit our blog :)