English in Japanese

Devon Coles dcoles at HOME.COM
Fri Oct 6 20:33:50 UTC 2000

Doug -

A good general reference may be found in works on interlanguage - I don't
know what you call the blending of Japanese and English, but I do know a
little about Konglish - the blending of Korean and English.

A similar situation exists in Korea, where I taught English for 2 years.
Konglish abounds!  I was housed in an "apat" in a building called
"sumamansh" with a very convenient "bus-uh" or speedy "takshi" to take me to
work. I could have a "bee mag" for lunch if I went to McDonald's, and "ai-su
kureema" for dessert. Or "peetsha" at Pizza Hut, but the "ae-kon" was too
chilly for my taste.

Most ESL teachers spend a good deal of class time correcting interlanguage
errors. Personally, I like Konglish. It gives rise to very expressive
language. My favourite is Konglish for Swiss Army Knife - "Muh Guyva

(As for skinship, you quickly get over being a touch-me-not if you spend any
time in Korea. Everybody touches everybody! )

apat = apartment (r is troublesome for Korean speakers)
sumamansh = summer mansion (located at a resort beach)
bus-uh = bus (Korean speakers add a schwa to satisfy a rule of speech in
Hangukmal, the Korean language)
takshi = taxi (s followed by ee sounds become sh in Hangukmal)
bee-mag = Big Mac
ai-su-kureema = ice cream
peetsha = pizza (z's come out all spitty)
ae-kon = air conditioning

These, of course, are all lexical items. They very much depend on the
phonological rules of the native language dictating their pronunciation.
Your point was that you detect English grammatical influences in Japanese.
Can't say I found the same in Korea.

Devon Coles

----- Original Message -----
From: Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at NB.NET>
Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2000 2:36 AM
Subject: English in Japanese

> Since English is the world language, elements of English have been
> infiltrating other languages to a considerable extent. Japan has been very
> receptive to English/American imports of THIS type -- including not only
> lexical items but also grammatical ones. I guess Japan is part of the
> world, and entitled to use the world language as it sees fit. I haven't
> heard much whingeing about this from Japan (in contrast to another highly
> respected nation which shall remain sans nom).
> There are thousands of these items. I think the English-origin fraction of
> the Japanese lexicon may be approaching or passing 10%. I would appreciate
> direction to a good general reference on the subject.
> I will give some examples which I have found interesting/amusing. Please
> pardon any transliteration or other errors. Several I just heard of
> recently. Some are clearly common, others may be restricted or
> idiosyncratic. My exposure to Japan is largely via the Web, so I may have
> some skewed ideas.
> "Hoomu" = "home" as in "home run", "home plate" (baseball).
> "Hoomu" = "home" as in "home for the aged", "home for the insane".
> "Hoomu" = "[railroad] platform" -- standard Japanese. [From English "home"
> (of the train) or from the 2nd syllable of English/French "platform(e)"?]
> "Basu" = "bath" (in the Western style) -- standard Japanese.
> "Basu" = "bus" -- standard Japanese.
> "Basu" = "bass" (musical instrument or part) [also "beesu"].
> "Terebi" = "televi", abbreviation meaning "television" -- standard
> Japanese. [Compare "TV", "telly" in English.]
> "Apaato" = "apart", abbreviation for "apartment", meaning "apartment
> [building]" -- standard Japanese. Also ...
> "Manshoon" = "mansion", meaning "apartment [building]" -- standard
> Japanese. [This one gives rise to at least one rude pun involving "man" as
> an abbreviation of a conventional Japanese word for female genitalia.]
> "Sekuhara" = "sek hara", abbreviation for "sexual harassment" -- a recent
> import from the US, I think. [Is the world shrinking, or what?]
> "Kogaaru" = "ko gal" = Japanese "ko" (= "little") + English "girl",
> referring to young women's style/fashion in recent years in Japan. [I
> understand the exact sense of this one, but it is common. I have the
> impression that a young Japanese woman with ash-gray or otherwise
> unnaturally-colored hair might be a "ko gal".]
> "Rorikon" = "Loli-con", abbreviation of "rorita-konpurekkusu" = "Lolita
> complex", meaning a man's inclination toward young girls or very young
> women -- from Nabokov's novel "Lolita". [This is common enough that it is
> sometimes alluded to by 'rori' alone or by 'konpurekkusu' alone.]
> "Chirarizumu" = "chirarism" = Japanese "chira[ru]" (?) (= "glimpse") +
> English "-ism", meaning a man's desire/compulsion to look up women's
> skirts. [Is there an equivalent word in American? If not, there should
> "Deniru", conjugated as a Japanese verb, = "to denny", i.e., "to patronize
> [go to/eat at] Denny's [restaurant]".
> "Otomecchikku" = "otometic" = Japanese "otome" (= "young girl") + English
> "-tic" (variant of "-ic"), meaning "girlish"/"demure"/"cutesy". [A pun on
> "automatic", I suppose.]
> "Aburagishi" = "aburaggish" = Japanese "aburagi" (= "oil') + English
> "-ish", meaning "greasy[-skinned]". [I have also heard "oilish" =
> "Binbou" = "bimbo" = "poor" (i.e., in poverty) -- 'native' Japanese (an
> Chinese import, I think) -- but ...
> "Binbaa" = "bimber" with English comparative "-er", = "poorer";
> "Binbesuto" = "bimbest" with English superlative "-est", = "poorest".
> is NOT how comparatives and superlatives are formed in Japanese!]
> "Sukinshippu" = "skinship", meaning a loving touch between mother and
> [My favorite so far: isn't it charming? 'Skin' + 'kinship', I guess. We
> should import it into American!]
> -- Doug Wilson

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