Many words in English originate from other languages but we no longer think of them as foreign words. Examples include “restaurant” (French origin), “algebra” (Arabic origin) and “bungalow” (Hindi origin).

Some words though still look and feel like they are borrowed. They may still retain the spelling of the original word or the pronunciation may still be heavily influenced by the pronunciation in the original language. And as with everything in language, deciding whether a word is seen to be borrowed and still a foreign word or now accepted as a “proper” English word is open to debate.

The words below are Spanish loan words that are fairly common in English. As with all loan words the pronunciation and nuance of meanings change.

The words in this list are common enough to be helpful to learn – but do focus on the pronunciation as we pronounce them pretty differently from the original Spanish.

Here are your five words:

  • Aficionado /əˌfɪʃ.i.əˈnɑː.dəʊ/
  • Tornado /tɔːˈneɪ.dəʊ/
  • Incommunicado /ˌɪn.kəˌmjuː.nɪˈkɑː.dəʊ/
  • Macho /ˈmætʃ.əʊ/
  • Junta /ˈdʒʌn.tə/

Try reading these sentences out loud, focusing on the pronunciation of the Spanish loanword:

  • My husband is a crossword aficionado.
  • A tornado destroyed her vegetable patch – which was pretty upsetting all told.
  • Anyone know where Michael is? He’s incommunicado.
  • The macho stereotype of a man leaves me cold.
  • Since 1994 the country has been ruled by a military junta.

Pronouncing these words in an English way can help your clarity and confidence so practising these sentences is a helpful exercise – especially if your first language is Spanish.

What other loanwords in English do you know? Let me know in the comments.