Foreign words used in English

Use this lesson in online or face-to-face teaching to look at how foreign words are used in the English language.


The lesson begins with a short quiz about the English language, which makes sure that the students understand what a hybrid language English is, and the concept of loan words. They then look at some common loan words and try to decide which language they originally came from, before reading a short text to check their ideas.

The point is made in the text that English spelling (and pronunciation) seems very irregular because so many words come from different languages. The students then look at some commonly misspelt words and learn to spell them correctly.


  • Develop reading skills through reading a text about the origins of the English language.
  • Raise awareness of the origins of the English language and understand that it is in many ways a shared history with other languages. 
  • Help students understand a little more why spelling and pronunciation rules in English can feel very arbitrary.
  • Help students learn to spell some commonly misspelled words accurately.

Age group and level:

Older teenagers or adults with CEFR level B2 and above


Approximately 60 minutes


All materials can be downloaded below in PDF format

Important: Please read

To support teachers having to work online during the COVID-19 pandemic, this lesson has been adapted for teachers providing online classes. The lesson notes are specifically for online lessons and the class materials have been made available as a PowerPoint.

Included in the teachers' notes, there is guidance and advice for what teachers need to know and do before and at the beginning of an online class. Please read the lesson instructions carefully before using them. They are for guidance only, and designed to be used with the most common online platforms. You may need to adapt the lesson to the format and online platform you are working with.


Submitted by anthonia62 on Fri, 02/19/2021 - 04:29

Ref. the last part of paragraph four

"British spent in India, as a colonial power, has given the
language words Hindi or Urdu words such as bungalow,
pyjamas, khaki and shampoo"

Do we really need "words" before "Hindi" ? 

As an Italian, I also would like to point out that "aficionado" isn't an Italian word. I presume it to be a Spanish word.


Thanks for this lesson plan, I find it very nice and super useful.

Submitted by Cath McLellan on Wed, 05/13/2020 - 09:32

Hi Fernanda

The Powerpoint has been saved as a PDF to make it easier to download for all users. It is the "online classroom material" document above, and can be shared on screen in an online class in exactly the same way as a Powerpoint.

Hope that helps,


TE Team

Submitted by Fernanda Macario on Tue, 05/12/2020 - 18:03

Although this is a great lesson plan, I can't find the ppt for downloading

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