An armoured vehicle patrols Yangon during a protest against 
the military coup in Myanmar on February 15. Photo: AFP An armoured vehicle patrols Yangon during a protest against 
the military coup in Myanmar on February 15. Photo: AFP
An armoured vehicle patrols Yangon during a protest against the military coup in Myanmar on February 15. Photo: AFP
Lisa Lim
Opinion

Opinion

Language Matters by Lisa Lim

After Myanmar’s military coup, a look at the origins of the word

  • Ultimately from the Greek kolaphos meaning ‘a blow, punch, slap’, the word entered English from Old French
  • The figurative – and contemporary – coup was (re-)introduced into English in the 18th century

An armoured vehicle patrols Yangon during a protest against 
the military coup in Myanmar on February 15. Photo: AFP An armoured vehicle patrols Yangon during a protest against 
the military coup in Myanmar on February 15. Photo: AFP
An armoured vehicle patrols Yangon during a protest against the military coup in Myanmar on February 15. Photo: AFP
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Lisa Lim

Lisa Lim

Lisa Lim has worked in Singapore, Britain, Amsterdam and Sri Lanka, and until June 2018 was Associate Professor and Head of the School of English at the University of Hong Kong, where she still holds an Honorary position. She now is Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Sydney. She is co-editor of the journal Language Ecology, founder of the website linguisticminorities.hk, and co-author of Languages in Contact (Cambridge University Press, 2016).