A sketch of American naval officer Commodore Matthew Perry in Yokohama, Japan, in 1853. Picture: Alamy
Lisa Lim
Opinion

Opinion

Language Matters by Lisa Lim

Where English took the words ‘tycoon’ and ‘honcho’ from – you may be surprised

Though one sounds Chinese, and the other Basque, these two terms for powerful people both entered the lexicon from Japan; one was subsequently used as a nickname for Abraham Lincoln

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A sketch of American naval officer Commodore Matthew Perry in Yokohama, Japan, in 1853. Picture: Alamy
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Lisa Lim

Lisa Lim

Lisa Lim has worked in Singapore, Britain, Amsterdam and Sri Lanka, and until June 2018 was Associate Professor and Head of the School of English at the University of Hong Kong, where she still holds an Honorary position. She now is Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Sydney. She is co-editor of the journal Language Ecology, founder of the website linguisticminorities.hk, and co-author of Languages in Contact (Cambridge University Press, 2016).