Japanese/Lessons/Introduction/Amerika-jin desu ka/Foreign loan words

"Loan words" in Japanese


In Japan, several "loan words" from English are commonly used. You already know more Japanese than you think just by knowing English. "Loan words" from Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch, French, and Italian have also been incorporated into the language, though English remains the most common.

About "loan words"


The pronunciation of foreign words has to be changed quite a bit in order to flow in Japanese.

  • Some words' pronunciations are simply changed. For example, curtain becomes kaaten, hotel becomes hoteru, and elevator becomes elebeetaa.
  • Some words are abbreviated slightly. For example, supermarket becomes supaa, kilometer-and kilogram- become kilo, etc.
  • Some words do not correspond to their original meaning. For example, the Japanese manshon translates to condominium, not mansion.

See also