[Ads-l] manga and anime

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 19 22:18:34 UTC 2016

The online British Oxford Dictionary says that “manga” is a mass noun and that it is a book or novel in contrast to anime (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/manga <https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/manga>).

1. The first sentence, however, indicates that “manga” is being used to mean “anime”:

‘I haven't watched much manga, but the villain did strike me as one of these archetypal brooding nhilistic goths who turn up in manga a lot.’

In my experience, that sort of usage is certainly possible in Japanese and it doesn’t surprise me to see it in English as well, but it’s not covered in the definition.

2. None of the sentences perfectly illustrate a violation of the mass rule claim, but the following certainly seems to be a case of the zero-morpheme countable noun:
‘His hobby was collecting Japanese comic books, also known as manga, and he always seemed to have oily hair.’

The US dictionary does not make the claim that “manga” is a mass noun but also has the watching example in 1 above (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/manga <https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/manga>).

The UK version also claims that “anime” is a mass noun but the sample sentences include countable usage (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/anime <https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/anime>):

‘Evil people are really easy to predict after watching all of those magical girl anime.’

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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