Are there English words used in the Japanese language?

The simple answer is YES!

They are referred to as LOAN words or Gairaigo (外来語).

It is common for these words to be slightly altered to accommodate for the sounds of the Japanese language.

For example McDonald’s is pronounced Makudonarudo. This all makes much more sense once you study how Katakana works.

Katakana is used to write/pronounce English loan words. Learning Katakana will help you understand how these loan words are pronounced as they will in a lot of cases be slightly different to English. If you want to learn Katakana please check out

TOP TIP! Learning all the loan words is a quick way to build your Japanese vocabulary and they are super easy for an English speaker to remember!

Below is a list of meal time words to get you started! I have chosen food to start with because there are LOT of loan words when speaking about food.

supermarket – suupaa or sūpāmāketto スーパーマーケット

juice – jūsu ジュース

vegetarian – bejitarian ベジタリアン

fork – fōku フォーク

spoon – supūn スプーン

knife – naifu ナイフ

tomato – tomato トマト

lime – raimu ライム

melon – meron メロン

lychee – raichi ライチ

mango – mangō マンゴー

orange – orenji オレンジ

banana – banana バナナ

lemon – remon レモン

pineapple – painappuru パイナップル

avocado – abokado アボカド

guava – guaba グアバ

blackberry – burakkuberī ブラックベリー

cranberry – kulanbelii クランベリー

raspberry – razubelii ラズベリー

blueberry – burūberī ブルーベリー

passion fruit – passhonfurūtsu パッションフルーツ

nectarine – nekutarin ネクタリン

grapefruit – gurēpufurūtsu グレープフルーツ

boysenberry – boisenberī ボイセンベリ

mineral water – mineraru wōtā ミネラル ウォーター

beer – bīru ビール

main – mein メイン

dessert – dezāto デザート

soup – sūpu スープ

salad – sarada サラダ

wine – wain ワイン

tablecloth – tēburukurosu テーブルクロス


By understanding that some words in Japanese are borrowed from the English language it can make the language less daunting and make you feel you have got a head -start without much effort.

Do you know of any more meal-time loan words? List them in the comments below!

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