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Academic Words Corresponding to Common Gairaigo


For Japanese learners of English, Daulton (2003) showed that nearly half of the 3000 most-common word families of the British National Corpus correspond to common loanwords in Japanese -- constituting an easier-to-learn "built-in lexicon" for high-frequency English. While this helps Japanese learners acquire the basic vocabulary for communication, how ready are they for university study in English speaking countries?

About 27 percent of the 570 word families in Coxhead's (1998) An Academic Word List (AWL) have correspondences to common Japanese loanwords. The sources of loanwords were Motwani's (1991) A Dictionary of Loanwords Usage and a native informant. Self-assessment by Japanese university students established which words are widely known. What results is a list of academic English words that correspond to commonly-known Japanese loanwords. For Japanese with aspirations of foreign study, knowledge of even a single word family member (e.g. a headword such as benefit) will give access to its inflections (e.g. benefits) and common derivations (e.g. beneficial).

List Format Explanation

The list contains 177 English words from 153 AWL word families. It is divided into ten parts according to the frequency of the academic words. "Sublist-1" includes words from among the first 60 words that corresponded to loanwords, "Sublist-2" those from among the next 60, and so on, except for "Sublist-10," which originally contains only 30 words. Loanwords (in katakana) appear below their corresponding borrowed word. While cognate pairs like consent and konsento (meaning an electric outlet) share only formal and not semantic similarity, both aspects are likely to be close for most pairs.

Sublist-1 approach area benefit concept contract create creative creator data economy economic economist factor financial identity income legal major majority method percent percentage period policy process response section source variation

Sublist-2 assist assistant category chapter community complex computer credit culture design designer final focus impact item normal resource select selection site text tradition traditional

Sublist-3 comment commentator consent coordinate coordinator demonstrate demonstration demonstrator document illustrate illustration initial link location max maximum minor minority partner proportion publish reaction sex sexual shift task technical technique technology volume

Sublist-4 access code communication contrast cycle cycling debate domestic error ethnic goal job label mechanism option professional project promotion series stress

Sublist-5 challenge challenger contact energy generation image license medical mental mentality monitor network orientating style stylish symbol target trend version

Sublist-6 cite cooperation display domain editor expert gender input instructor lecture motivation tape

Sublist-7 adult channel chemical classical couple dynamic extract file global grade media mode release reverse reversible survival topic unique volunteer

Sublist-8 automatic chart drama dramatic guideline paragraph plus random schedule tension terminal theme uniform visual

Sublist-9 manual medium relax revolution route scenario supplement team vision

Sublist-10 panel pose