Written by Maciamo in December 2011
It sometimes happen that two words in two completely unrelated languages sound almost the same and also happen to mean the same thing. It is hard to realise it for people who only speak languages belonging to the huge Indo-European linguistic family, which basically encompasses all languages spoken in all Europe (except Basque, Suomi, Estonian and Hungarian), and most of the languages of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North India.
Between Indo-European languages, similarities of vocabulary more are often than not the result of a common root, or the more recent loanwords from neighbouring countries. Therefore, purely fortuitous coincidences between languages that have no phylogenetic connection nor history of borrowing from one another are much rarer than one would expect. There are plenty of words that sound the same in all kinds of languages, but that mean completely different things. The chances of finding a very close match between pronunciation and meaning is one in many millions. Yet, for some reason Japanese language seem to have quite a few words that sound similar and mean the same as unrelated words in other languages, especially with English.