"Janglish" news report

Natalie Maynor maynor at CS.MSSTATE.EDU
Tue Jan 18 01:18:09 UTC 2000

Beverly wrote:

>   But the
> naivete of the article is amazing, since English borrowings are common in
> Japanese.

That was my reaction also.  (I'm suddenly reminded of when my students
at Meisei were telling me to go to the nearby zoo and to be sure to ride
the lion bus.  I told them that I would and then asked how to say "lion
bus" in Japanese.  They smiled and said "lion bus.")

>  My colleague said
> "mireniamu" (with silent final 'u' conventionally) is very common, and he
> even recognized my broken pronunciation of it.

But your colleague has been living in the U.S. :-)  (It really is true
that many, probably most, English borrowings in Japanese would not be
recognized by an English speaker and that most Japanese would not
recognize the word if uttered by an English speaker.  "Lion bus" works
pretty well since [n] and [m] are the only word-final consonants in
Japanese and that devoiced [u] on "basu" -- at least in Tokyo dialect --
makes it pretty close to "bus."  But many English words and phrases in
Japanese aren't that close.)

If Danny Long is reading this, he's probably laughing (and will correct
my erroneous comments).  I knew *very* little Japanese even when I was
there and have now forgotten most of that little I knew. I should not
be making pronouncements about Japanese.

>  I suspect it's the usual
> diatribe against teen talk.

That was also my thought.

   --Natalie Maynor (maynor at ra.msstate.edu)

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