v53: reklam

Reklam = advertising. It’s a word you see often on letterboxes: Ingen Reklam Tack = No Advertising Material:

The fact that reklam and advertising are such common words caused me to miss that there is an obvious cognate in English: reclaim. But how does that work?

The Latin clamare means to cry out, proclaim. Then reclamare means to call back or maybe to protest, you can see how both of these could give rise (via French) to the English reclaim.

The Swedish verb reklamera originally (since 1682) means complain about or put in a claim for, but it also has a newer (since 1915), but now outdated, meaning, to advertise. These days, to advertise is annonsera or göra reklam.

I can sort of see the connections going on here, but not quite. Clearly, reklam is much closer in meaning to the Latin clamare than to reclamare, but I guess this illustrates how meanings drift and intertwine over the centuries.

After not thinking about reklam for many months, what spurred my interest was that there was one Hungarian word I recognised on my trip to Budapest: reklám.

Published in: on November 30, 2011 at 05:00  Comments (1)  
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  1. In the UK at least, Ingen Reklam Tack (No Advertising Thanks), is represented by the phrase ‘No Junk Mail’ stuck onto peoples letterboxes. Thanks for the interesting post.

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