Posted by: yoko | October 8, 2003

Words From Childhood 6

Today’s word: arumihoiru

This word kept popping in my head for the past few days. This is a good example of gairaigo, or a word borrowed and adapted from another language.

The problem with translating borrowed words is figuring out what the original language was. Not always easy to do, because the original word is often shortened and the pronunciation altered to Japanese pronunciation. Sometimes there is a different meaning associated with the original word altogether.

In this case, the word is borrowed from English, and is a combination of two words: arumi is from aruminiumu, or “aluminium” (or as we say in the US, “aluminum”), and hoiru from “foil.” So arumihoiru is aluminum foil.

Imagine me trying to piece this out as a kid, hearing my mom say arumihoiru, but reading “Reynolds Wrap ™” on the box. You can see my confusion.

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