For example, if an American travels to Japan, would they ask for "kohi" in a "koppu", maybe a "foku" for their "supagetti", or would they use "coffee", "fork", etc.? Which would be more socially acceptable and easy to understand?

  • If you ask for "orange juice", they will have no idea what you are saying. English pronunciations can actually not be understood. You have to use the katakana.
    – minseong
    Jul 5, 2018 at 22:58

1 Answer 1


Unless you are speaking with someone who you know to be bilingual (and likely even in that case), you should pronounce any loanwords with their katakana (Japanese) pronunciation if it is during the regular flow of a conversation in Japanese.

Otherwise, you risk not being understood or sounding affected.

Imagine if during a conversation in American English, I said Mehico (sic) instead of Meksico (also sic). It is kind of the same thing, but more so.

  • I can think of a few cases where you should be careful on putting things in katakana. せっぷん and スプーン come to mind. One you can ask the waitress for, the other... not so much.
    – ajsmart
    Jul 5, 2018 at 18:41
  • 2
    – Tin Wizard
    Jul 5, 2018 at 20:29
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    The "Mexico" example is great. For the original poster, I just want to add that loanwords, regardless of their origin, are Japanese words. They're not English-in-disguise (or German or Dutch or Portuguese or whatever). As Japanese words, you should pronounce them using the expected Japanese pronunciation. Jul 5, 2018 at 20:33
  • @どっかのおっさん . Very important point. Also, to fkGoVefhtMQ, that was a great link.
    – BJCUAI
    Jul 5, 2018 at 21:43

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