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We all learn early on that hamburger can be translated into Japanese in two different ways:

  • ハンバーガー meat patty in a bun
  • ハンバーグ just the meat patty (or salisbury steak to be exact)

Likewise launder has been borrowed twice into Japanese, with two different pronunciations:

  • コインランドリー laundromat
  • マネー・ロンダリング money laundering

Notice the ランド/ロンダ distinction.

(Actually, the laundry example isn't "perfect", because laundry and laundering aren't really the same word. But it still amused me when I noticed it.)

Can anyone think of more examples?


Not Chinese words, please. That would be too easy!! I prefer words that are rendered in katakana.

share|improve this question
Comment 1: ハンバーガー != ハンバーグ. A ハンバーグ is not just the patty in a hamburger but a different thing. – virmaior Jun 19 '14 at 4:32
Comment 2: there's a really large number of these and it's not a good question insofar as it asks for a list (= too broad). You're also completely missing ones that are multiply-imported from Chinese or that are distinct concepts (市場) with the same words. – virmaior Jun 19 '14 at 4:34
ストライキ & ストライク、ミシン & マシン、プリン & プディング、トラック & トロッコ、レモネード & ラムネ、ミクロ & マイクロ、アイロン & アイ‌​アン・・・ Stop me anytime cuz all katakana is killing my eyes. – l'électeur Jun 19 '14 at 7:43
Forgot the cool one -- ヘボン & ヘップバーン. We never say オードリー・ヘボン. – l'électeur Jun 19 '14 at 7:51
@AthomSfere, interesting stuff. Thank you for the link. According to that article, the term "hamburg" began to fall out of use since 1897, and was supplanted entirely by "hamburger" by 1930, long before strong American influence in Japan. So I'm still not sure I believe that the Japanese term came from the US. Directly from Europe, sounds more plausible. – Questioner Jun 24 '14 at 13:54

This is a community wiki post.

  • cup

    • コップ drinking cup
    • カップ coffee cup, etc.
  • iron

    • アイロン clothes iron
    • アイアン metal iron (Fe)
  • machine

    • ミシン sewing machine
    • マシン machine in general
  • micro

    • ミクロ tiny
    • マイクロ micro (SI prefix 10-6)
  • pudding

    • プディング pudding in general
    • プリン custard pudding
  • strike

    • ストライキ strike (of workers)
    • ストライク strike (of baseball)
  • truck

    • トラック truck
    • トロッコ tram

ここまで @virmaior さんと @非回答者 さんの挙げた例。追加

  • glass

    • ガラス glass (in windows)
    • グラス glass (for drinking)
  • sheet

    • シート sheet (of paper, film, etc)
    • シーツ bed sheet
  • stick

    • スティック stick
    • ステッキ walking stick
  • gum

    • ガム chewing gum
      • チューインガムの略
    • ゴム "gum" / (India) rubber
      • [輪]{わ}ゴム rubber band
      • [消]{け}しゴム eraser
      • ゴムテープ masking tape
share|improve this answer
ラムネ is supposed to be lemonade!?!? It tastes nothing like lemon! I was also thinking of チョコレート and ショコラ, but wasn't sure if they'd "count". Also, somewhat related: What changes are made to the pronunciations of gairaigo? – istrasci Jun 19 '14 at 14:51
I didn't know it's from lemonade, either. AFAIK ショコラ is from French "chocolat" and チョコレート is from English, and both refer to the same thing. – naruto Jun 19 '14 at 15:09
Always thought ピザ should clearly be written ピッザ - I've seen the later at times on menus, but infrequently. Not so much a double-import as a minor evolution. – mc01 Jun 19 '14 at 21:14
Never seen ピッザ (it seems hard to pronounce, too) but ピッツァ (easier to pronounce though it looks harder) is fairly common. – Paul Richter Jun 20 '14 at 5:55
Sorry - that's what I meant ;) Can't edit original comment... – mc01 Jun 20 '14 at 16:28

I happen to know one word that is borrowed 3 times in Japanese. "Card".

  • 歌留多(カルタ) for the game where someone says a sentence and you take the corresponding card.
  • カード for card in general, such as credit cards.
  • カルテ for hospital. this is the card that records what sickness etc you have.

I think maybe two reasons cause these to happen. one is from different language. one is from singular and plural form.

Also as a native speaker of chinese who happen to have his N1 passed, I couldnt name a chinese word that satisfy your requirement. I mean it's only one language and we don't have plural forms in the way english has.

share|improve this answer
By "Chinese word" what is meant here is a word that is borrowed from Chinese, not a word in Chinese. – Zhen Lin Jun 24 '14 at 18:51
I dont know how to respond to that. I'm not stupid. I was just using whatever word the person asked the question was using. I was trying to express "its not an easy task at all". Also just want to mention, a more accurate term would be "Sino-Japanese words"(or just "漢語"), in fact quite a portion of those are Japanese made now. – Zuoanqh Jun 25 '14 at 9:08
カルタ isn't from English card -- it's from Portuguese carta ("playing card"). Likewise, カルテ isn't from English card -- it's from German Karte (compare English "[medical] chart"). – Eiríkr Útlendi Jun 25 '14 at 22:44
i was gonna quote "I think maybe two reasons cause these to happen. one is from different language. ", but yea you made your point @EiríkrÚtlendi – Zuoanqh Jun 29 '14 at 2:55

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