Foreign, allochthonous

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ThomasK, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    The latter word has been forbidden in some Flemish newspaper, due to its connotation. How do you translate both? Any of them loaded with connotations/ associations?

    - buitenlands (out-of-the-country'ish)
    - vreemd (rather like strange)
    - allochtoonI guess Apmoy will know the problem, as the word /barbaros/ had somespecific meaning in Greek, if I am not mistaken. Or did it always have anegative connotation?
  2. Perseas Senior Member

    You refer to allochthonous, but I can't understand what is wrong with its connotation.
    In Greek we rather use its synonym αλλοδαπός /aloða'pos/.
    For foreign we use ξένος /'ksenos/ and for strange παράξενος /pa'raksenos/.
    Βάρβαρος /'varvaros/ had and still has a negative connotation, although initially (that is before 500 BC) it meant the foreigner, the person who does not understand and speak (Ancient) Greek. For more information see
  3. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Welll, the point is that allochthonous in Flanders is no longer purelydescriptive, has come to refer to North African people, Maghreb area, with acoloured skin, only or mainly. Due to some vague generalizations, associations,..., they or the word is associated with all kinds of trouble.
  4. Hamlet2508 Senior Member

    barbaros (βάρβαρος) originally was an expression playing on somebody's inability to speak (Greek) properly and then came to mean foreign, strange regarding a particular people, as opposed to Greek or Roman or both that was not familiar with the Greek language and thus regarded as uneducated.
    Cicero defined "barbarus" not with regard to origin or language , but according to cultural and ethnic criteria as anyone who didn't share the Roman humanitas or a profound knowledge of Greek.
  5. Perseas Senior Member

    Ok, I see. In Greek (although I easily understood its meaning by its opposite "autochthonous") I admit I 've never met it before, as we don't use it. Another synonym of it is "ετερόχθων" /ete'roxθον/. I have seen it in English text as "heterochthon". #3
  6. Hamlet2508 Senior Member

    You might incur people's wrath if you talk about "Ausländer" in German. You would have to address them as "Migranten".
  7. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    But how about 'fremd' then? 'Fremde'? Is that possible or ... ?
  8. Hamlet2508 Senior Member

    You wouldn't face any difficulty with that."Fremde(r)" generally amounts to "tourist(s)" and to my knowledge doesn't carry any negative connotations.
  9. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    There has been some evolution with us: "guest workers" up until the eighties, then "migranten" if I am not mistaken, and then "allochtonen"...
  10. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    Well, you taught me a new word in French! :D No need to say we don't use "allochtone", even in formal speech. This is deemed "rare" by the Atilf.

    Otherwise, we just use "étranger", which, I would say, is neutral.
  11. francisgranada Senior Member


    idegen - fremd, somebody whom one does not know
    külföldi - Ausländer, coming from an other country
    bevándorló - immigrant

    I don't feel no negative connotation of these terms when used appropriately. The term allochtonous is not used in Hungarian (at least not in "normal" speach). Speaking about an immigrant or about a person that lives in a given country, but comes from another, we used to say "külföldi származású" (of foreign origin).
  12. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    As Perseas has thoroughly explained, «αλλόχθων» or «ετερόχθων» carry no negative connotations in Greek. The word that does carry negative connotations or is borderline offensive is «λαθρομετανάστης/-στρια» /laθrometa'nastis/ (mac.) /laθrometa'nastria/ (fem.) reserved for those immingrants who have arrived here illegally; the word is a compound; adj. «λαθραίος» /la'θre.os/ which is a Classical adj. «λαθραῖος» lă'tʰræŏs --> secret, clandestine (PIE base *lādʰ-, to be hidden) + noun «μετανάστης» /meta'nastis/, a Classical one «μετανάστης» mĕtă'nāstēs --> wanderer, migrant (preposition and prefix «μετὰ» mĕ'tă --> after, behind + Classical verb «ναίω» 'næō --> to dwell, abide, with obscure etymology).
    An even more pejorative and racist term is «λάθρο» /'laθro/ a crude abbreviation of «λαθρομετανάστης»
  13. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    There are two main words to express foreign in Lithuanian: kitakilmis and svetimšalis. The first one means of different descent, of different blood; the latter one means from a different county. I think both are still used in appropriate contexts, although I am not sure what is politically correct in Lithuania these days.

    By the way, is the word foreign liberally used in English? I think I don't see it that often in papers, and magazines, in contexts other than foreign oil, unless I have not paid enough attention. I have a feeling that it is being more often replaced by the word international.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2012
  14. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    The key point here is whether all people are (considered)equal. When one refers to origin, using specific words, there might be animplication of the 'real' ones and the 'others'. Especially coloured people are likely to face that because they can be ‘recognized’. My impression is that this underlying judgmental view itself leads to words getting connotations. Ourwords for referring to those people have changed, due to that – but it does notreally stop. Are we the only ones facing that problem, in this case with 'allochtoon'? But this might be too much of a side thread. Yet, it has to do with the words and their precise meaning!
  15. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I found this Czech translation of 'foreign' and 'strange' : zahraniční, zvláštní.
  16. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Hi, Thomas. the Lithuanian expressions don't discriminate whether someone is Black, White of from a different planet -- kitakilmas means that the person is not of the same ethnic origin (in this case meaning Lithuanian or Baltic, perhaps). Svetimšalis -- refers to everyone form a different place. This is what they mean etymologically. They may be used differently sometimes, or perhaps not used at all in certain contexts. As foreign, mostly svetimšalis is used -- a foreign movie, for example.

    There is a Polish word cudzoziemiec, which does dot discriminate between any different types of foreigners. It means from a different land. What they use in Poland right now to be PC, I don't really know.

    There is also a word "zagraniczny" in Polish -- it simply means from across the border -- there is nothing about strange in this word.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  17. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    "Allochthonous" sounds a very learned word. I think it is mostly found in academia, where it may well have a narrow meaning.
  18. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    It is interesting or painful to hear that only with usdescriptive words in this connection turn into judgmental words. The strange thing is that it has been happening time and again for twenty years: one word was replaced by another all the time, because the new word had been loaded with negative connotations. It seems strange though that this mechanism does not turn up in other cultures, in this connection (with a large group of 'allochthonous people' in one country).
  19. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Tagalog:1.) Foreign= Dayo(h) 2.) Strange= kakaiba(h) 3.)Foreigner/Stranger= Dayuhan/taga labas
  20. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Is there any connotation involved, Mataripis ? Is one of the those loaded with some neg. meaning?
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  21. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    with negative meaning are 1.) taga labas and 2.) Kakaiba.(different)

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