Rock-paper-scissors redux

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 18 14:05:42 UTC 2007

What you have to say re "kurambo / kuranbo" is good enough for my
purposes, Doug. After all, the price that you're charging for the info
is certainly right! Thank you! Since the shift of /n/ to /m/ in the
environment before /b/ is predictable, I'm aware of the variation in

As for "roshambo," my point was that the writer had obviously pulled
that statement out of his ass, uh, hat, given that no right-thinking
Frenchman would transliterate Japanese
/S/ as "sh" and not as "ch."


On 5/17/07, Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Rock-paper-scissors redux
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >"... '[R]oshambo' [is] the French name for the game."
> Well, I don't know .... I didn't find this to be self-evident in my
> previous inquiry .... Maybe I'll take another look.
> >... I wonder what game "kurambo" is the French name for.
> Apparently the dictionary form of this word is "kuro[n]bo[u]" (the "n" can
> also be transliterated "m") as expected ("kuroi" = "black").
> Breen's current on-line Japanese-English dictionary does not show the
> translation "Negro" (although older dictionaries do), but rather
> "dark-skinned person, well-tanned person" and of course also "stagehand (in
> kabuki), prompter" (I suppose a person who traditionally is entirely
> covered in black cloth?). It may be that this word is becoming obsolescent
> as a racial term/slur.
> I suppose the variant "kuranbo"/"kurambo" which I see here and there on the
> Web may be influenced by "sakuranbo[u]" = "cherry"?
> As "kuronbou" is to "kuroi"="black", so "akanbou" is to "akai"="red" ...
> this means [not "person of a red-skinned race", not "well-sunburned
> person", but] "baby" (cf. "akachan"). I guess maybe folks tend to be born
> sort of red. (^_^)
> Any expert, please correct my likely laughable misconceptions, as usual.
> -- Doug Wilson
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