What Are Loanwords?

What Are Loanwords?

Huolla! What are loanwords? English has been borrowing from other languages for years. Language contact happens when speakers of different languages interact and influence each other. Let’s take a look at some loanwords in English from languages like French, Italian, German, Spanish and Chinese.


  • A la carte (adj.) literally means “according to the menu card”. The word “carte” means menu card. It refers to individual food dish ordered, rather than part of a set meal. Say, you’d like to have only fries at McDonalds, you’d order it as an a la carte.
  • Entrepreneur (n.): A person that starts a business or a businessman. For example, “Jeff Bezos is one of the most famous entrepreneurs. He founded the company called Amazon and is one of the richest person in the world.” Something that sounds close to this is another English word, “enterprise”, to refer to the business or company.


  • There are so many words in English that originated from the Italian language! Food terms such as pasta, pizza, cappuccino, salami! Musical terms like piano, concert, opera! (insert pictures/cartoon images of food items)


  • Doppelgänger (n.): Doppelgänger means “double goer” in German. It refers to someone that looks exactly the same as you, but not related to you. In old folklores, one believed that seeing a doppelgänger was a bad omen or bad luck — It’s a sign of one’s imminent death.
  • Kindergarten literally means “children’s garden”. It refers to a school kids go to before primary school. “My little brother attends kindergarten


  • Macho refers to someone who is strong and masculine. That man in the gym is very macho! He has big muscles and is able to lift heavy objects.
  • Plaza literally means “a place”. In English, it refers to the public square or open space. For example, “The plaza in Madrid is lively in the evening when the cafes by the pavements are full with people.”


  • Chop chop! Let’s go! You’ve probably heard or used it before when you’re rushing to go somewhere and don’t wanna be late. It means hurry or quickly. It suggests that something needs to be done now and without any delay.
  • Ketchup sounds very American, right? It’s the classic sauce we put on our hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries. It is however not an English word! The word “ketchup” apparently comes from Chinese “ke chiap”, the brine of pickled fish. So, ketchup really originated from a thin soy sauce made from fermented fish. The British liked it so much when they came to Asia that they brought it back to England and experimented with other ingredients. Tomato-based ketchup is the most common one nowadays.

So, what are loanwords? I hope you have learnt more about the origins of some English words and I’ll see you next time!

What Are Loanwords?

Ms. Azmeera

As a tutor, Ms Azmeera has acquired insight and experience in teaching primary level English. With her years of experience in the private education sector, she wishes to motivate and inspire her students to fall in love with the English language.

Let’s explore and discover new things together at Lil’ but Mighty!

Have something to share? Drop us a comment below!

Leave a Reply


Other related posts

How to Execute Direct and Indirect Speech Transformation Confidently! | PowerPoint Slides
Free News Sources for Kids
Holiday + Learning = Fun!
Primary 4 Marching Onto Primary 5: Changes You Need to Know for English
Continuous Writing | 4 Tips to Address the Topic
Reading | Video: A Totto-ly Delightful Read!
4 Fun & Interactive Classroom Display Tools!
Teachers Who Love English, We Want You!
5 Commonly Confused Pairs (or is it Pears?)
Steps to Score Well in Situational Writing for PSLE English
I Love Reading | 3 Tips for Reluctant Readers
The First Write Recipe Workshop at Greenridge Primary School!
Understanding IF Conditionals!
Fans of Fiction: 3 Websites to Check Out This Holiday
Authentic Learning Activity | Editor on the Move!
5 Graphic Novels To Check Out This Holiday
Paper 2: Don’t Lose the Marks Everyone is Getting!
Comprehension | What Do I Need to Highlight?
Post Exam | 3 Important Things to Do After Receiving Your Exam Script
Authentic Learning | A New Way to Read the News
Learning Idioms: Have The Upper Hand With These 3 Tips
Tricky Prepositions to Clarify Before Your Exam
More importantly, your knowledge of prepositions can be tested in numerous sections in Paper 2 - Grammar MCQ, Vocabulary MCQ, Grammar Cloze, Comprehension Cloze and Editing. That’s more than half of the components in Paper 2!
App-y Tuesday: Prep Your Prepositions with These Apps!
As a follow up to my previous post on prepositions, I thought I would share with you three apps which you can download if you’re looking for an effective and fun way to learn prepositions.
Bingo Revision 4 Ways!
In this post, I am going to show you how the modest game of Bingo can be used as a fun revision tool.
Insert Exciting Dialogue Tags to Your Primary School Composition!
To start off with, let me share with you the power of using dialogue. Dialogue is an essential part of the story.
How to Pronounce the /th/ Sound?
In this post, I would like to help you to start mastering the /th/ sound with 2 simple steps.
Perfecting the Paragraph: Know When To Start A New Paragraph
We all know that to write a good story, we need to have a clear structure. But how do we structure our stories? If your answer is, “by having paragraphs”, then you are very nearly correct.
7 Essay Types at the O Level
Five Essentials to Score for Formal Situational Writing
Let’s Go On A Learning Journey | Two Awesome Places To Visit During the December Holidays!
Activities for the Holidays!
Between Two Commas: How to Deal with Extra Information
Continuous Writing: 3 Specific Things to Check For!
PSLE English Specialist Teacher Wanted!
NYT Copy-Edit This: Free Editing Resource
3 Writing Skills to Start Nurturing from Primary 2
5 Ways to Start a Primary School Composition
Visual Text Comprehension | 4 Types of Non-Linguistic Features You Need to Know
4 Examination Components That Test You on Irregular Verbs
Grammar | “I” vs “Me” (Subjective VS Objective Pronoun)
Vocabulary | 5 Common Homophone Mistakes
Writing a Composition | 3 Ways to Write A Good Line of Dialogue
3 Ways to Build A Confident Child With Your Choice of Words!
Look Back in a Flash! 3 Ways to Craft Effective Flashbacks
Building Grammar Foundations: Start Young, Start Now
“E” is for Empathy | What Every Primary School Child Needs!

Like what you are reading?

Subscribe now to receive news and tips hot off the press!

Primary School English Tuition| Lil' but Mighty English