So "sharia law" is up there with "chai tea", "salsa sauce" and "manga comics", eh?

I recently learned that "elote", the Mexican word for "corn", also has specialised meaning in English.


What's the term for these? I'm sure someone must have written about these.

I call them "bilingual pleonasms" but nobody else uses this word.

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@JordiGH Would you consider this the same as PIN numbers? Technically, it's different, I suppose.

@jens Yeah, I consider that a different thing, unless we want to consider initialisms to be a different language.

@JordiGH makes sense.

I suppose abbreviations are a kind of language. In German, at least, we can refer to the terms used in a particular profession as a language of its own. Abbreviations that the user doesn't really treat as such but as terms in their own right, and especially those that can be pronounced as (pseudo-)words would fit into that. They sort of become words that mean something to someone else.

But yes, it's stretching things quite a bit.

@alpine_thistle Hmmmmmmm... slightly annoyed by this saying that it's an English phenomenon. I've heard "chapeau sombrero" in French too.

Yes, English is widely spoken worldwide, but other than that, English is not as unique as people make it out to be.

But thanks for the link! Sorry, didn't mean to sound ungrateful.

@JordiGH yeah they talk about that in the post! Since the misconception in the OP was that it's just English-speakers who do this, I think the person just broke it down from an English-speaking perspective

@miramarco Ehhhhhhh, I don't like that nomenclature (I feel like "tautology" is more about trivial mathematical logic than about simple redundancy), but at least it gives me a term to search for, thanks!

@JordiGH Apparently Wiki calls them "bilingual tautological expressions" (, but I haven't seen that expression anywhere else, either. (My personal favorite is "rice paddy", which sometimes gets expanded further to "rice paddy field".)

@tpfto @JordiGH My current favorite is Urbanización Nueva Cartagena (city of new new new city).

@11011110 @tpfto They really should use a semantic version numbering scheme for towns instead of just sticking "new" front of it in different languages.

@JordiGH Since the black rhinoceros is Diceros bicornis (two-horn two-horn) I propose we call them bicorns. Sounds like eggcorns, another lovely word-word.

@y6nH Oh man, bicorns works so good, especially with the "bi" in there.

Now we just need Language Log to write about it so it catches on.

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