The Best Loan Words for You to Recognize Across Several Languages

Published: March 27, 2014

English stems from Germanic which is a Romance language, French which is a Romance language, or, also an Italic language, and a small percentage from Greek which is an Indo-European language also labeled Hellenic commonly that perhaps developed from Romanic which is a Romance language.

These languages attach suffixes or prefixes to base words and use several words to form meaningful sentences, even if the words are not identical from one language to another.

On the other hand there are words that are very similar from one language to another espceially within the Romanic collection of languages and this could be because many languages share their roots with Latin that was spoken by merchants, commoners and just everyone other than the royal people of the Roman Empire.

  1. Telephone

    I bet you didn't know the word we use in English speaking countries for a phone 'telephone' is recognizable around the world it usually just has spelling variations from one language to the next. Maybe this is why mobile phone commerce and grown and developed rather smoothly into a world wide mobile phone phenomena. Some examples include telefoon in Dutch as well as in Afrikaans, telefone in Portuguese, teileafón in Irish, teléfono in Spanish, téléphone in French and telefon in Romanian. There are many more examples.


  2. Stucco

    Stucco is a building material used in Mexico, southwestern United States and European countries like Spain or in Africa. The word is also recognizable not only to English speakers but to Spanish, German, Icelandic, Portuguese, French and Czech to name a few. There may be alternate names for it in these other tongues but stucco is one of the terms that is recognized for this building material.

  3. Wager

    Wager is the same in English, Italian, Dutch, Icelandic although it is capitalized and German and is adopted from German into the English language. Notice this is nice for gamers, horse betters and gambling casinos. Wage is similarly recognizable as it is salario in both in Italian and Spanish, 'pá' as in pay in Irish and salário in Portuguese.

  4. Surcoat

    Although this word is not in common usage, you probably recognize it. You may not be clear as to what kind of garment it is, but you have heard of it. It actually is a long outer coat with no sleeves worn several centuries ago by both men and women as well as knights who would wear it over their suits of armour. The point is that the word is an inherited word of Germanic origins that is the same in French, Spanish, Italian, Icelandic, Portuguesa and German among other tongues.

  5. Sausage

    You already knew this one, but did you know it is French, rather than German in origin and it is spelled differently? Saucisse is the French origin word with a very similar to English pronunciation. Sausage should be recognizable by anyone who is Norwegian, German or Indonesian. If you don't want to say sausage you could also get along very nicely in Czech Republic or Romania if you use the word salam.

  6. Café

    Café is a familiar word around the world from Japan and Russia to the United States and Mexico. It is even spelled the same in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and German. Meanwhile Sweden, Norway, Russia, Japan, Indonesia and Greece spell it with a 'k.' This can be nice if you are hungry, thirsty or need a powder room and can't speak the language when you are out somewhere, just try for a café.

  7. Toilette

    This is easy to figure why it would be good to recognize. There are many words for it but when trading tongues either toilette or restroom are familiar across more tongues. German, Hungarian, English and French recognize the term toilette while Icelandic, Italian, Polish and Czech speakers recognize the description of restroom.

If you study a few loan words, you can communicate with others on their own level in situations where there are mixed nationalities. You can also enjoy more characters in movies where there are some foreign speaking characters or look forward to knowing almost everyone calls telephones by the same word, telephone no matter what tongue they speak. More words, tobacco, tomato, cake, energy, bracelet or armband and cabin are some more loan words from the list of commonly recognizable words. The best one to know from this list is the first one, telephone.