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See also: pseudo English


Alternative forms[edit]


pseudo- +‎ English


pseudo-English (uncountable)

  1. (linguistics) Lexical borrowings from English that do not correspond directly to English word usage.
    • 1985, The Incorporated Linguist: The Journal of the Institute of Linguists:
      Then and now Back in 1981 when I wrote the first article on this subject (The Incorporated Linguist 20, 104, 1981), Naples was in the throes of a boom in the use of English (or rather pseudo-English) in local facias and tradenames.
  2. (computing) A structured artificial language that uses English words in order to be more user friendly for English speakers.
    • 1983, Laurie A. Russell, David M. Weintraub, APL 83, Conference proceedings, Washington, D.C., April 10-13, 1983:
      There is a strong feeling that pseudo-English is more "user friendly" than symbolic notation.
    • 2014, Jenny Cheshire, Dieter Stein, Taming the Vernacular: From Dialect to Written Standard Language, →ISBN:
      The possibility of verbal encoding of mathematical formulas into pseudo-English has deliberately been built into COBOL; for example, "compute velocity times time giving distance" is nothing but syntactic sugar for "distance := velocity · time".
  3. Nonsense text or speech that resembles English in some way.
    • 1959, Proceedings of the Eastern Joint Computer Conference - Volume 16, page 152:
      However, even then, pseudo-English is a useful intermediate output since it can be used to update the dictionaries, to refine the partitioning methods, and to derive rules for syntactic analysis.
    • 1988, Deborah Tannen, Linguistics in Context: Connecting Observation and Understanding:
      Pseudo-English has been reported to me by several mothers of three-year-olds. One Bengali-speaking mother provided me with an audio recording of her daughter using it while talking on a toy telephone to an imaginary English-speaking friend, and I videotaped a Japanese boy using this medium with English-speaking adults and children at the nursery school.
    • 2005, Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs, Babel: revue international de la traduction:
      In Pseudo-English (i.e. a non-existent English or language), questions are formed by means of mirror inversion of the word order in corresponding declarative sentences.
  4. (derogatory) English-language jargon or dialect that does not reflect the way most people speak.
    • 1879, Michael Montgomery Fisher quoting someone else, The Three Pronunciations of Latin, page 79:
      But he could not write or speak English in a manner tolerable to any Englishman; and although he knew nearly all the words in the language, it was dictionary knowledge, and so different from an Englishman's apprehension of the same words that it was only a sort of pseudo-English that he knew, and not our living tongue.
    • 1971, Elizabeth Margaret Kerr, Ralph M. Aderman, Aspects of American English, →ISBN, page 75:
      What fevers Barzun, of course, is the artificial pseudo-English that schoolma'ams, whether in panties or in pantaloons, try to foist upon their victims, and the even worse jargon that Dogberrys in and out of office use for their revelations to the multitude.
    • 1978, A. M. Tibbetts, Charlene Tibbetts, What's happening to American English?, page 7:
      One of the problems in writing about the new pseudo-English lies in finding the right nomenclature. Terms like jargon, gobbledygook, cant, argot, and so on have their uses; but they apply poorly here, partly because the new "English" covers all of these and more and partly because there is something nonlinguistic and inhuman about it.
    • 1993, David Bellos, Georges Perec: a life in words : a biography, page 261:
      In his diabolical joke-typist persona, Perec murdered the English language, but his aggression was directed as much towards the unfunny ghastliness of scientific pseudo-English as towards the language itself, which he knew well and could bend quite effectively to his own humour.

Related terms[edit]


pseudo-English (comparative more pseudo-English, superlative most pseudo-English)

  1. In a style or manner that imitates the way things are done in England.
    • 1947, The New English Review - Volume 15, page 302:
      During his adolescence he went to the most exclusive of the pseudo-English schools that try to recreate a Harrow or an Eton on the alien American scene.
    • 2004, Edwin M Yoder, Jr., Telling Others What to Think: Recollections of a Pundit, →ISBN, page 191:
      "The phone would ring. "Is this the Jesus Yoder or the Merton Yoder?" a pseudo-English voice would inquire.
    • 2006, Judith S. Goldstein, Inventing Great Neck: Jewish Identity and the American Dream, →ISBN:
      In 1928, on the verge of moving into his pseudo-English mansion on Long Island's North Shore, Cantor was in a state of reflective happiness.
  2. Imitating the English language.
    • 1892, The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art:
      The other two are done very badly — so badly as to be in parts unintelligible, unless the reader has the skill to hammer out conjecturally the German or Italian original from the pseudo-English gibberish which is set before him.
    • 1914, Rollin Lynde Hartt, Understanding the French, page 132:
      Occasionally the French mania for showing off the talent they do not possess leads to still more amusing linguistic comedies — for instance, that case of the pseudo-English verb, flirter.
    • 1961, Rilke, Europe, and the English-speaking world, page 48:
      English or pseudo-English nicknames were liable to turn up amongst his friends—so he is found referring in 1897 to Sophia Goudstikker as 'der Puck" and in 1915 to the much-married Marianne Mitford as 'Baby Friedländer'!
    • 1979, Edward J. Laurie, Computers, Automation, and Society, page 89:
      Invent an even more elegant pseudo-mathematical or pseudo-English language for programming. Fix things so a single pseudo-English statement might generate many machine-language instructions instead of merely one.
    • 1982, Éva H. Stephanides, Studies in English and Hungarian Contrastive Linguistics, page 100:
      These pseudo-English lexical borrowings were coined from English roots in Hungary like in other countries of Continental Europe, and they do not have their historical, primary historical or generic sources of borrowing in the macrosystem of English.
    • 1987, TESOL Newsletter - Volumes 21-23 (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), page 35:
      A school where non-native speakers agree to use English in order to create a pseudo-English environment for practicing their English would not be truly ESL if indeed they all had a common first language.
    • 1991, Names, page 33:
      Pseudo-English spellings characterize Category 4 names.
    • 1991, Clive L. Dym, Knowledge-based Systems in Engineering, page 70:
      In order to express the general statement that pipes are hollow, we had to transform the natural English sentence into the pseudo-English form "For all possible values of x, if x is a pipe, then x is hollow."
    • 2000, Jelisaveta Milojević, Word and words of English: English morphology A-Z, page 7:
      Such words have not been borrowed from English because they do not exist there but they have been formed in the receiving language on the basis of English elements and pseudo-English pattern, e.g. golman (Serbian word for goalkeeper), džezer (Servian word for jazzman), boks (Servian word for boxing); Serbian examples have been made by the processes of composition, derivation and ellipsis.
    • 2005, Keiko Koda, Insights Into Second Language Reading: A Cross-Linguistic Approach, →ISBN:
      Three types of letter strings were used: real English words, pseudo-English words (nonsense, but orthographically legal, letter strings); and nonwords (orthographically illegal letter strings).