Skip to content
  • Activity
  • 5 mins
  • Level 1: Introductory

English Loanwords – Interactive World Map

Updated Wednesday 25th October 2017

Explore the fascinating origins of some words in the English language with this interactive world map. Simply select the book items to uncover the word and its history. 

English is a global language, and while many English words are finding their way into other languages, English itself is full of loanwords, or words borrowed from other languages. English has been shaped throughout history, from Latin loanwords to the influences of invasions from Germanic tribes, Vikings and the Normans.

More recent globalisation, including colonial activity, has brought even more words into the language. Each of the ten words below has originated from another language, sometimes by a complex route.

Tomato, guitar, pyjamas, juggernaut, slogan, taboo, shaman, mumbo-jumbo, raccoon, embargo.

Can you guess the geographical origin of the word? Check the map to find out!

To discover loanwords and where they come from:

  • Select the books that appear on the world map.
  • Read the information about the history of the word and its uses. 

All information obtained from the Oxford English Dictionary.

More like this

Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission
Business English: Presenting the decision free course icon Level 2 icon

Languages 

Business English: Presenting the decision

Do you want to relocate to the UK? This free course, Business English: Presenting the decision, will help you with the language difficulties that can ----- while providing assistance with the practicalities of moving your company and relocating its employees. You will also learn how other companies have approached this task.

Free course
5 hrs
Creative commons image Icon ChristianMcCarthy under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license
Why has English taken over academia? article icon

Languages 

Why has English taken over academia?

If English is globally squeezing out teaching in local languages, the fault isn't with the language but with economics. Anna Kristina Hultgren and Elizabeth J. Erling explain.

Article
Creative commons image Icon Chris Blakeley under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence under Creative-Commons license
An introduction to grammar video icon

Languages 

An introduction to grammar

What is grammar, and how does it help us communicate? Our short video reveals all...

Video
Creative commons image Icon UK in Italy under Creative Commons BY-ND 4.0 license
Will Brexit reduce the UK's soft power in Europe? article icon

Languages 

Will Brexit reduce the UK's soft power in Europe?

Without a seat at the EU table, will the UK's ability to shape Europe vanish completely? Alessio Colonnelli believes that the allure of the islands will remain strong. Indeed, he says, that might have been part of the problem in the first place...

Article
 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?