We love to travel and expatriate all over the globe. These days we connect on line with almost every country, and languages spread and sometimes mix. At least single words. There are loanwords, there are words mixed from two languages we often refer to as Swenglish (svengelska) or Frenglish (franglais) and so on, and there are international words. An international word is a great buddy when learning a foreign language. It makes it easier for you to start speaking and understand the language (but watch out for so called false friends!). A brief explanation of the international word follows, from a language perspective.
An international word is a word that
- is spelled or pronounced similar in different languages, that are not related to each other
- has the same or at least the similar meaning
- shares etymology (history of the word)
The word following the description above – again referring to linguistics – is also called an internationalism. There are no set rules on how many languages the word needs to be detected in to be called international. Different major cultural areas can have their own set of internationalisms.
Here are a few examples in the Swedish language – I’m sure you recognize them:
Can you think of more words?
here is a link to English international words