Request for (at least) 2 loanwords, transliterated, from separate languages meaning the same thing.

Horrible example:

  • 埃默拉尔德 - English transliterated loanword for emerald
  • 祖母绿 - Arabic transliterated loanword for emerald

What other examples exist?

  • 埃默拉尔德 is not understandable..., and both could be from English?
    – Danke Xie
    May 30 '15 at 7:01
  • 规范、两岸、汉语大词典 all define 祖母绿 as "阿拉伯语zumunrud的音译". Adso(trans) has 埃默拉尔德 as emerald & if you put 埃默拉尔德 into baidu images or whatever you will get pictures of emeralds although it does seem to be more of Japanese usage as that's how rakuten.com translates Emerald into Chinese for Chinese customers. (They also claim: 翻译由Microsoft® Translator). So yeah it's a bit of a stretch but usage is at least provable.
    – Mou某
    May 30 '15 at 7:24
  • 1
    My ultimate candidate: 珠穆朗玛 (Tibetan) vs. 额菲尔士峰 or 埃佛勒斯峰 (English).
    – imrek
    May 30 '15 at 20:52
  • @DrunkenMaster 珠穆朗玛 (Tibetan) vs. 额菲尔士峰 or 埃佛勒斯峰 (English) is great.
    – Mou某
    May 31 '15 at 5:13

I can only think of names, if that's acceptable. Biblical names can have different transliterations/renderings in Chinese, perhaps because Christianity was introduced by different language speakers to China, so there are a few names that have multiple transliterations.

摩西 (Protestant) - 梅瑟 (Catholic) - Moses.


桑拿 - 三温暖 (TW) - Sauna, both are transliterations, but the different origin is probably unlikely.


咖啡 - 咖逼 - coffee (English/French) and (Indonesian) kopi.

UPDATE3: 锡兰 (Ceylon, Tamil) - 斯里兰卡 (Sri Lanka, Sanskrit)

UPDATE4: 珠穆朗玛 (Tibetan) vs. 额菲尔士峰 or 埃佛勒斯峰 (English).

  • From separate languages?
    – Mou某
    May 30 '15 at 6:31
  • It's difficult to prove, but I think the Catholic variant doesn't really resemble the English 'MOW-zis' with 'mei' its more like a rendering of Italian Moisè or French Moïse which both have a diphthong ending in -i in their first syllables. Also, both French and Italian speakers were/are Catholics so they are likely to be the source of this or at least their affiliation is not against this theory.
    – imrek
    May 30 '15 at 6:39
  • MoE says 三温暖 is from Finnish. 两岸 says 桑拿 and 三温暖 are from English.
    – Mou某
    May 30 '15 at 7:17

For different translations:

cement: 水门汀、水泥

Internet: 因特网、互联网

vitamin: 维生素、维他命

Sacramento: 沙加缅度、三个馒头 :P

Bourgeoisie: 布尔乔亚、资产阶级

From different languages, actually, there are many, if you count Japanese and Cantonese.

Florence: 翡冷翠、佛罗伦萨 (Italian, English)


evolution: 进化(日)、天演(中)

philosophy: 哲学(日)、理学(中)

bus: 巴士(粤)、公共汽车(汉)

However, Japanese translations won over most early Chinese translations in these words.

  • I was just about to post vitamin and Internet. ;-) But I think the OP has something else in mind. He/She wants to see pairs of word both loaned from foreign languages, so 水泥,互联网,维生素 and 资产阶级 probably do not count.
    – imrek
    May 30 '15 at 6:07
  • These are from different languages? 维生素、维他命 are both from English, 因特网、互联网 are apparently both from English as well.
    – Mou某
    May 30 '15 at 6:12
  • 1
    Sure, 互联网,维生素 are not from English, they are native word creations. The OP is looking for transliterations from 2 languages.
    – imrek
    May 30 '15 at 6:14
  • 1
    Florence: 翡冷翠、佛罗伦萨 (Italian, English) works - really looking for transliterations mostly.
    – Mou某
    May 30 '15 at 7:26
  • The Florence variants sound good. I have added Ceylon and Sri Lanka, though arguably, there is a difference in their usage, their origins are different. Check my "UPDATE3".
    – imrek
    May 30 '15 at 8:08

Some right on my mind, I am sure you can find much more down this avenue:

现代 (Japanese word) - 摩登 (English transliteration)

触媒 (Japanese word) - 催化剂 (English paraphrasing)

漫画 (Japanese word) - 卡通 (English transliteration) not exactly the same but very similar

Early 1900 transliterations gradually replaced by Japanese words:

电话 (Japanese word) - 德律风 (English transliteration)

科学 (Japanese word) - 赛因斯 (English transliteration)

民主 (Japanese word) - 德谟克拉西 (English transliteration)

If you consider the common names of organisms you'll get a lot more. If you consider common and scientific names together you'll get even more. E.g.

曼珠沙华 (Common name, Sanskrit transliteration) - 彼岸花 (Nickname, Japanese word) - 红花石蒜 (Scientific name, Latin literalization)

  • 1
    Hoping for transliteration - transliteration. If you can think of any more.
    – Mou某
    May 30 '15 at 7:52
  • The Japanese are not really loanwords, their etymological origin is Chinese, even if the words were first created in Japan.
    – imrek
    May 30 '15 at 7:53
  • @DrunkenMaster According to Wikipedia it is being debated but not closed. '是否认定为日语借词有争议,有些学者称这类词汇为“回归词”。' zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – NS.X.
    May 30 '15 at 7:55
  • @DrunkenMaster Also that only applies to some of them. 电话 and 触媒 are clearly loanwords.
    – NS.X.
    May 30 '15 at 7:57
  • Yes, they are loanwords. But not transliterations. They are not foreign like 摩托 or 可乐.
    – imrek
    May 30 '15 at 8:00

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