8 loan words Mandarin has borrowed from Indian languages
September 9, 2022

Indians soft culture has permeated across the lofty Himalayas, buoyed by the winds of the Bay of Begal and carried by waves of Buddhists, traders and explorers to China. With culture and habits, our language travelled through the bamboo curtain with many Indian words being adopted into Mandarin language.

Words for trees, flowers and plants easily permeated through as science, art and Buddhism meandered Eastwards across China to Japan. As trade and business moved, words for animals, dry fruit and markets transgressed into Mandarin, Many of these words had entered the Indian lexicon originally from Persia several decades prior. But thats the best part of a living language and the proof that we once traded seamlessly, without border or barrier. And just like that our language carried with them the scents of our deep cultural, economic and social ties.

The exchange was of course both ways, with loan words taken from Mandarin into Indian languages too. The most common amongst them being cha or the word for tea, Lychee and Manchurian, which originated from the race of people – Manchus.

  1. Nirvana निर्वाण / 涅槃 Nièpán

2. Body शरीर / 舍利子 Shèlìzi

3. Bazaar. बाजार / 巴扎. Bāzhā

4. Badam. बादाम / 巴旦木. Bādànmù

5. Lion. सिंह. / 獅子. shīzi

6. Jasmine. मल्लिका /. 茉莉花. mòlìhuā

7. Moment. क्षण. /. 剎那. chànà

8. Pagoda. பகோடா Pakōṭā (tamil). /. 宝塔. Bǎotǎ

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