Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

Why does the Indonesian and Japanese language have some words also used in English?

like, "ekonomi" and "bisnis", meaning economy and business.

Surely they have been speaking Indonesian for thousands of years just like we have been speaking English for thousands of years, don't they have their own words for "economy" and "business"? Did it come from the dutch language given the Dutch colonisation and the English language's similarity with Dutch?

Also, what about Japanese? I used to learn a bit of Japanese and we said things like "orengi" for orange. Doesn't Japanese have their own word for such a common colour? I don't believe that Japanese people have been living for thousands of years not having a word for orange, only to take "orange" from a European language. Japan wasn't even colonised, so tell me what's happening here?


but "orange", it is a common colour isn't it? So Japan had no concept of orange until they borrowed that word?

For "bonsai" it is understandable, because a different culture may not have little trees designed for aesthetic appearance, but orange is just a colour, a mix of red and yellow.

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Actually, "ekonomi" and "bisnis" almost certainly come from English. It's not at all implausible to think that, for thousands of years, the Japanese and Indonesians lacked words for economy and business. Are you aware that the word "economy" first appeared in the English language in 1530? Then, it did not come to mean "the wealth and resources of a country" until the mid 17th century. For centuries before that, there was no word for "economy".

    Then, the word "business" existed since the 14th century, but wasn't used to mean a commercial engagement until 1727.

    As for orange, it's also extremely possible that the Japanese word "orengi" has the same origins as the English word "orange"-- it doesn't come from Dutch, but from the Sanskrit word for the fruit which also has cognates in Arabic and Persian. Orange doesn't appear in English until the 14th century. You would think that the English would have a word for such a common color before then, right? Well they didn't. Before the introduction of the Arabic name for the fruit, the term "geoluhread" was used in English, roughly meaning "yellow-red".

    It's very likely that this was the case with the Japanese word. It's also possible that the similarity in this case is just a coincidence-- there are other instances of sheer coincidences occurring between Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages.

  • 3 years ago

    By striking English lyrics into the song, it makes the song appear cooler and additional catchy. I have heard many Japanese youths quote and sing english songs, nevertheless they dont memorise the terms, first-rate the sounds. They don't have any belief what the meanings of the english terms are, they same to the band and the song. Many situations the song writers comfortably appear up english terms they think are cool and would even be similiar to a Japanese word, nevertheless in lots of circumstances the meanings and grammar are not ultimate.

  • 1 decade ago

    Other language-users borrow words because they fit the concept better (like "bonsai" is a single word you can use instead of an entire descriptive sentence "tiny little tree cultivated with inhibited growth for aesthetic pleasure") or are just plain cooler.

    Then they're integrated into the language and everyone uses it.

    Source(s): Check out "loan-words" or "borrow-words"
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I'm Japanese..

    Japanese basic characters work as phonic letters as well and there are so many imported words in Japanese such as the ones you mentioned. but when they are written in alphabets, spelling will change a little.

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