Sergey
Why do English speakers don't use the word "acquaintance" much? I've noticed that English speakers don't use the word "acquaintance" (someone you know) much. In Russian, this is a very common word. Even if I know someone for a long time, we've talked about something, drinked, hung out together, but we are not really close, I would call them "an acquaintance" (знакомый). And this word is totally normal in Russian. It can be both someone you barely know and someone who is almost your friend (by "friend" we only mean someone very close, as close as family). But I have a feeling that when you say "He is my acquaintance" in English, it's almost like pointing out that this person is NOT my friend. Like it's a quite cold word, that's why it's not used a lot (as much as the same word in Russian, I mean). Is that so? P. S.: Sorry about the mistake in the title, I can't edit it now
Nov 3, 2019 12:06 PM
Answers · 12
You're right, the word "acquaintance" sounds very impersonal to English ears. For a more neutral tone, we might use "(s)he's someone I know... (from work/from school/through a friend/etc)"
November 3, 2019
It's kind of outdated and archaic nowadays, people would just say "someone I know of", but people from high society may still use it.
November 3, 2019
I agree with Sarah. The meaning is more impersonal in English. We use it for someone we have met but don’t really know or wouldn’t consider a friend.
November 3, 2019
The reason "why" is that word usage frequency varies from language to language. Just because there is a direct translation of one word into another doesn't mean that both words are used with the same frequency in both languages.
November 3, 2019
English speakers across the globe have different ways to say things. In general your observation is correct that we do not use the word "acquaintance" as much. Using it, however, is not a problem as we should all understand it and don't really see it as meaning anything more than just that. So go ahead and call your acquaintances, acquaintances. no one will think you mean anything impersonal by it. There are a couple reasons why this has happened. Keep in mind that this is just my own theory... 1) English speakers like to use informal language that is localized. We here in NZ say "Cheers" instead of "thank you" but you'll still hear both and no one will think anything of hearing "Thank you" instead of "Cheers". 2) Our education system might be the issue too. In the southern hemisphere of the world we don't learn such words, or use them as kids. And because of that, as soon as we learn this word it's probably too late to get used to using it as we've already gotten used to using other ways to express the same thing. I think that's the main reasons this has happened.
November 3, 2019
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Sergey
Language Skills
English, Russian
Learning Language
English