Foreign influences in English: on developing language awareness

Anna Bała


There are a number of expressions used in English which have their origin in other languages. English is a flexible language that absorbs foreign expressions, which are then no longer considered ‘not English’. Pointing to borrowings into English may both make a change in classroom routines and foster students’ language awareness.
Teaching my students foreign words and phrases that enter the English language has turned out to be something new for them. They have become not only interested in improving their language skills, but also in learning about the language.
The aim of this article is to present a few exercises which I use to teach foreign words and phrases in English. The materials I have compiled for this purpose target students at levels B2 and upwards and come from different sources, ranging from works of literature such as ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Dostoyevsky to text-books used in a classroom.


Dostoyevsky F., 1999. Crime and Punishment. Koln: Konemann.

Forsyth F., 1995. The Fist of God. London: Corgi Books.

James H., 1963. The American. New York: Signet Classics.

Nabokov V., 2001. Collected Stories. London: Penguin Classics.

Thomas B.J., 1995. Advanced Vocabulary and Idiom. Essex: Longman.

Wells J.C., 1995. Pronunciation Dictionary. Essex: Longman.  

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