Is there a term that describes multiple foreign words sharing the same Japanese-language loanword?

For example, Wikipedia's disambiguation page for フォーク (Romaji: foku) covers both the English word "fork" and the English word "folk", because Japanese-speakers don't have "r" and "l" different.

1 Answer 1


The term you're looking for could be "homonym". Or perhaps it could be a "homophone" - words that share the same pronunciation but different in meaning. The term for this in Japanese should be 同音異議語 (どうおんいぎご)

  • But in Japanese フォーク (fork) and フォーク (folk) would have the same pronunciation, no? Therefore, wouldn't it be a homophone? Same pronunciation, but different meaning?
    – phirru
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 5:46
  • @phirru You're right, for some reason I pronounced them using the English pronunciation for each case instead of the Japanese sound. Will fix it thanks.
    – Flaw
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 5:51
  • Well フォーク (fork) and フォーク (folk) are also homographs since they are also written the same (unlike say "bow" and "bough" in English). So in this case I would use homonym which covers either and both. Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 8:56
  • I think the question is asking about the set of words collected from (possibly different) foreign languages that are the origins of a homonym in Japanese. It is not asking how to say the Japanese word.
    – user458
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 14:05

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