Japanese words of Dutch origin

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Painting by Kawahara Keiga: Arrival of a Dutch Ship. Philipp Franz von Siebold at Dejima with his Japanese wife Kusumoto Otaki and their baby-daughter Kusumoto Ine observing a VOC-ship arriving in the Nagasaki harbour using a teresukoppu (telescope).

Japanese words of Dutch origin started to develop when the Dutch East India Company initiated trading in Japan from the factory of Hirado in 1609. In 1640, the Dutch were transferred to Dejima, and from then on until 1854 remained the only Westerners allowed access to Japan, during Japan's "sakoku" seclusion period.

Numerous exchanges occurred, leading to a branch of Western learning in Japan known as rangaku (蘭学), or "Dutch learning" where the "ran" (蘭) in rangaku comes from "Oranda" the Japanese word for Holland, and means Dutch while "gaku" (学) is of Sino-Japanese origin and means "Learning".[1] In the process, a number of terms were adopted from Dutch into the Japanese language. At one point, some 3,000 words are thought to have been used, especially in the areas of technical and scientific vocabulary.[1] About 160 such words of Dutch origin remain in use today in standard Japanese.[1]

Japanese transliteration (rōmaji) Japanese term (kanji or kana) Dutch term English term(s) Details
arukari [2] アルカリ alkali alkali From Arabic, through Dutch.
arukōru [1] アルコール alcohol alcohol From Arabic, through Dutch.
asubesuto [2] アスベスト asbest asbestos From Greek, through Dutch.
bīru [3] ビール, 麦酒 bier beer
bisuketto [1] ビスケット beschuit biscuit Reinforcement of Portuguese biscoito.
bōru [1] ボール boor drill, bore After 1720.
buriki [2] ブリキ blik tin
capitan [1] カピタン kapitein captain
chifusu [2] チフス tyfus typhus From Greek, through Dutch.
doitsu ドイツ Duits German
dontaku [1] ドンタク zondag sunday Means "Sly dog" in Tottori, "Stupid" in Hiroshima.[1]
doronken [2] ドロンケン dronken drunk
ekisu [2] エキス extract extract
erekishiteito [1] エレキシテイト electriciteit electricity Obsolete (replaced by 電気).
erekiteru [2] エレキテル elekiter A type of generator of static electricity used for electric experiments in the 18th century
ēteru [1] エーテル ether ether From Greek, through Dutch.
garasu [3] ガラス, 硝子 glas window glass
gasu [2] ガス gas gas
giganjima [1] ギガンジマ gingang gingham
giyaman [1] ギヤマン diamant diamond From Greek, through Dutch.
gomu [1] ゴム gom, gum rubber
gorofukuren [2] ゴロフクレン grofgrein grosgrain
hamu [1] ハム ham ham
hatoron [2] ハトロン patroon pattern
henrūda [2] ヘンルーダ wijnruit Common Rue
hetto [2] ヘット vet tallow
hukku [1] フック haak hook
infuruenza [1] インフルエンザ influenza influenza After 1720
inki [2] インキ inkt ink
kamitsure [1] カミツレ kamille camomile From Greek, through Dutch. After 1720.
kantera [2] カンテラ Candela candela
karan カラン kraan tap (UK) / faucet (Am.)
kari [2] カリ Kalium Potassium
karuki [2] カルキ Calcium Calcium
katēteru [2] カテーテル katheter catheter From Greek, through Dutch.
kechin [1] ケチン ketting chain After 1720. Now obsolete (replaced by 鎖).
kiruku [2] キルク kurk cork
kōhī [3] コーヒー, 珈琲 koffie coffee
kokku [2] コック kok cook
koppu [1] コップ kop cup Reinforcement of Portuguese copo.
konpasu [1] コンパス kompas compass
korera [2] コレラ cholera cholera From Greek, through Dutch.
kureosōto [2] クレオソート creosoot Creosote
koruku [2] コルク kurk cork
madorosu [1] マドロス matroos sailor
masuto [1] マスト mast mast
mesu [1] メス (mes) scalpel scalpel After 1720
moruhine [1] モルヒネ morfine morphine After 1720.
morumotto[4] モルモット marmot Guinea pig
oburāto [2] オブラート oblaat oblate
orugōru [3] オルゴール (orgel) muziekdoos (organ) music box
otenba [3] お転婆 ontembaar (untameable) tomboy
penki [4] ペンキ (pek) verf, teer house paint
pesuto [1] ペスト pest black death After 1720
pinto [4] ピント punt focus
pisutoru [3] ピストル pistool pistol
ponpu [1] ポンプ pomp pump After 1720.
randoseru [2] ランドセル ransel backpack
ranpu [2] ランプ lamp lamp From Greek, through Dutch.
retoruto [2] レトルト retort retort
renzu [2] レンズ lens lens
safuran [2] サフラン saffraan saffron
saten [2] サテン satijn satin
seimi [2] セイミ chemie chemistry Now obsolete, replaced by 化学
shian [2] シアン cyaan cyan
shiroppu [2] シロップ siroop syrup
sukoppu [4] スコップ schop spade, shovel
supoito [2] スポイト spuit syringe
tarumomētoru [1] タルモメートル thermometer thermometer From French, through Dutch. After 1720. Now obsolete (replaced by 体温計)
teresukoppu [1] テレスコップ telescoop telescope From Italian and Modern Latin, through Dutch. After 1720
yojiumu [2] ヨジウム jodium iodine
zukku [2] ズック doek canvas

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Language contact in Japan: a socio-linguistic history by Leo Loveday, p.54-55
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai Sanseido dual dictionary
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Dutch-Japanese Relations," Netherlands Consulate General at Osaka-Kobe
  4. ^ a b c d Gleeson Introduction to written Japanese, katakana p.36

External links[edit]