Non-English Katakana Words

In my previous lesson about Katakana, I listed down five situations when Katakana script is used over Hiragana or Kanji. In this post I would like to share some facts about 外来語 gairaigo.

Katakana is mainly used when writing loanwords or 外来語 gairaigo like スピーチ (speech)、トマト (tomato) or パーティー (party) in Japanese. All these words are adopted from English language.

English being a global language, most of the words that are written in Katakana are of English origin. What’s interesting is that, katakana words included non-English words too. . Let us learn some of these words.


パンPan (Spanish)Bread
アルバイトArbeit (German)Part time job (in Japanese)
Job (in German)
アンケートEnquête (French)Questionnaire
コンクールConcours (French)Competition or Contest
ブランコBalanço (Portuguese)Swing
イクラикру or Ikru (Russian)Red caviar
ピーマンPiment (French)
ズボンJupon (French)Pants (in Japanese)
Petticoat (in French)
レントゲンRöntgenstrahl (German)X-ray

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