A noir photograph of coffee next to a dish that has some bits of chocolate

Have you ever wondered if there are words that are the same in nearly every language, regardless of region or linguistic origin? Well, the folks at Duolingo did their homework!

After examining a wide range of languages, they discovered two words that are truly world wide; coffee and chocolate!

Coffee ☕️

Coffee, the beloved caffeinated beverage, has a truly global presence. Its journey across borders brought with it the Arabic word “قهوة qahwah,” which served as its linguistic ambassador. As coffee spread, various languages adapted the word to fit their sounds. For instance, the Turkish word “kahve” influenced many European languages, resulting in familiar terms like “café” in Spanish, “caffè” in Italian, and “coffee” in English.

Chocolate 🍫

Just like coffee, chocolate is a word that transcends borders. Its origin lies in the Nahuatl word for a drink made from ceiba and cocoa, but it was the Spanish version of the word that journeyed across the world. Different languages modified the pronunciation and spelling slightly to suit their phonetics. For example, German and Russian swapped the “ch” sound for “sh”, Japanese added an “o” to the end while Greeks added an “a”. Yet, the core concept of chocolate remains the same in every language!

For more details and more words that nearly made the cut1, you can read the full article on Duolingo’s website here.

  1. Spoiler alert: Taxi was very close! ↩︎

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