Hotchkiss and other interesting vocabulary

Japanese, like many languages, has incorporated rather a lot of foreign words into its lexicon. Many of these are from English, and often the adoption renders them unrecognizable to English speakers.

One of my favourite examples is the word hochikisu (like hotchkiss). I first learned this word from a Japanese teacher who gave a charming account of going to an office supply store in Canada and being so embarrassed at the staff’s puzzlement when she asked for the hotchkiss section. That’s when she learned that a hochikisu is called a stapler in English.

Mental Floss has a good list of some common terms that might confuse English speakers (or at least most are common: Y has never heard #5 and #11 on the Mental Floss list). I’ve made a little quiz, and you can click through to Mental Floss for more information about someĀ  of them.

Click to go to the quiz
Click to go to the quiz

Pronunciation notes for those not familiar with the transliteration conventions:

ai = as in “my”

e = as in “pace”

i = as in “piece” or “keep”

ei = as in “grey”


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