the power of international words
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How language can help build bridges: The power of international words

This blogpost discusses the power of international words and how they can help build bridges between cultures. It contains examples of popular international words, as well as the meaning behind them.


In a world that is becoming increasingly connected, the ability to communicate with people from different cultures is more important than ever. Language is one of the most powerful tools we have for building bridges between people.

There are over six thousand languages spoken around the world, and each one connects its speakers to a unique culture and community. But there are also words that cross language barriers and connect people from all corners of the globe. These international words provide a common ground for communication, and can help us build bridges between cultures. 

One of the most widely-spoken international languages is English. Over 1 billion people speak English as a first or second language, making it the lingua franca of our global village. But English isn’t the only language with international reach.

There are other “world languages” like French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese and Arabic that also boast sizable numbers of speakers across multiple continents. No matter what language you speak, there are probably some words in your vocabulary that are understood by speakers of other languages. 

Popular international words

These so-called “international words” come from various sources: loanwords (borrowed from another language), technical terms (used in specialist fields like science or medicine), or just common words that have been adopted by many different cultures (like “hello” or “bye”). 

Here are some examples of popular international words: 

  • OK / okay: derived from an American Indian word meaning “it is good”; now used worldwide to mean “yes” or “I agree” 
  • Spaghetti: Italian word for a type of pasta; now used in English-speaking countries too
  • Robot: comes from Czech novelist Karel Čapek's 1920 play RUR; popularized internationally by Isaac Asimov's science fiction stories in the 1940s 
  • Avatar: Sanskrit word meaning “descent [of a deity] into earthly form"; used online to refer to user profiles or virtual representations.

There are many examples of how words from one language can have a positive impact on another culture. For instance, the word "karma" has become popular in Western cultures as a way to describe the idea of cause and effect. The word "zen" has also been adopted by many English speakers to describe a state of calm and focus.

These international words have been embraced because they capture concepts that are difficult to express in other languages. They help us better understand and connect with others who may not share our background or language. Words have the power to transcend cultural barriers and bring people together.

By learning some key international words, we can all play a role in building bridges between cultures.

Words that unite us all

In a world where over 7,000 languages are spoken, it's no surprise that words sometimes get lost in translation. But did you know that there are certain words that unite us all? International words – also known as loanwords – bridge the gap between cultures and help us communicate with one another, regardless of which language we speak. One of the most popular international words is "mom". This simple word has become a universal term of endearment, used by billions of people around the world to refer to their mothers.

Deep cultural meaning words

While international words are often adopted because they're easy to say and understand, they can also carry deep cultural meaning. For example, the Japanese word "sensei" (pronounced sen-say) is often used to refer to a teacher or someone with expertise. In addition to being a sign of respect, this word conveys the important role that teachers play in society. 

If you're looking for ways to connect with people from other cultures, learning some international words is a great place to start. Who knows – you might just make some new friends along the way!

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