外来語. Words brought into Japanese from languages other than Chinese.

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Why doesn't Japanese have a special Katakana form for “hu”?

They have created many new Katakana words such as ファ フィ ヴァ ヴィ ティ テゥ to write foreign sounds. But why didn't they create a new combination for "hu" such as ハゥ or ホゥ? Instead they use the same kana for ...
6
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4answers
217 views

ブラウザ or ブラウザー? Words borrowed from English which end with -er

I noticed that some (most? all?) words that were borrowed from English and end with -er in English can have either short or long vowel at the end: browser - can be ブラウザ or ブラウザー driver - can be ドライバ ...
6
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224 views

Standard for writing/pronouncing loanwords: ウインドー v.s. ウィンドウ, etc

In スーパー大辞林 I found: ウインドー [0] 〖window〗 (1)窓。 (2)ショー-ウインドーの略。陳列窓。 (3)コンピューターのディスプレー画面上で情報の表示されている部分。画面をいくつかの部分に分割し,それぞれに異なった情報を表示する方式をマルチ-ウインドーという。 In Wikipedia I found: Microsoft ...
6
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2answers
255 views

What causes loan words to displace native words for existing concepts?

I've been told several times that things like class and classmate don't have non-loan words (I don't know what those are called) associated with them in Japanese. This seems ludicrous to me, as the ...
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929 views

“Boo” equivalent in Japanese?

Is there a disappointed or sad "boo" equivalent in Japanese? Kind of like: Person 1: "Hey man, can I borrow 10 dollars?" Person 2: "Nah I don't have any change." Person1: "Boo, now I don't have ...
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224 views

How often does gairaigo get bikago?

How often does gairaigo get bikago? おトイレ is mentioned by Wiktionary, and Wikipedia mentions it being used ironically in o-kokakōra, but I haven't come across any others. One case where its absence ...
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171 views

What is the origin of エンターティナー

Some people use the word エンターティナー to mean 'entertainer'. I suspect this word comes from the English word entertainer. But the accented vowel is "ei", rather than "i". It would be a better ...
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98 views

What is nuance of using 外来語 for simple nouns?

I've been wondering lately about the usage of 外来語 that seem especially redundant, such as ドライバー instead of ねじ回し, ヘア instead of 毛, or マップ instead of 地図. I understand many of the purposes of 外来語 when a ...
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217 views

Why do the Japanese use loanwords for words that have functional equivalents?

It strikes me, reading Japanese that katakana is often used for words that have functional equivalents in the Japanese language. Why is this? For instance, using ビル as opposed to 建物。 Or ブルー instead ...
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140 views

Are Japanese speakers likely to confuse “message” and “massage” in English?

I've occasionally noticed native speakers of Japanese using "massage" when they mean "message", but I can't recall native speakers of other languages mistaking the two. As far as I know, both ...
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1k views

What is the etymology of the word Katsu?

I heard from an English man that the katsu karē (カツカレー) dish was from English inspiration originally: he told me that the word 'katsu' is coming from cutlet and 'karē' would be curry. Please can ...
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582 views

Are Japanese terms for the United States and the Soviet Union likely to be confused by native speakers of Japanese?

In the comments section of Do the Japanese believe that USSR dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?, it's speculated that Japanese people agreed with a statement that the Soviet Union ...
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134 views

Etymology of names of playing cards?

According to the Japanese wikipedia, the playing cards ("trump") are named as follows (written in Japanese in katakana): A: Ace 2: Deuce 3: torei 4: keito 5: shinku 6: saisu 7: Seven 8: Eight ...
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229 views

Can the English suffix “-zilla” be translated back into Japanese?

Can the English suffix -zilla, a backformation from "Godzilla" describing something as large and/or destructive, be translated into Japanese and easily understood, and how would it be translated? As ...
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319 views

Why do some loanword sounds get “contracted” when katakanized, but not others?

Not sure the best way to word this. Why is it that some sounds from a loanword get combined down to a shorter or different sound while other do not? Here are some examples: Shortened, but sound ...
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210 views

Difference between マップ and 地図

What's the difference between the kanji term and the katakana term, and when should I use them? I think that some katakana words are only used when the author is being gratuitous with katakana, but I ...
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499 views

What is the etymology of イギリス?

I'm trying to figure out where the term イギリス for the United Kingdom came from. I suspect 英国【えいこく】 because they sound similar, but that seems a bit odd as Katakana words are usually loan words.
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929 views

Is タオル used for the towels used at onsen?

onsenjapan.net claims that タオル is used for "towel", presumably the large one. When I asked a staff member at Odeo onsen "これ は 何 ですか?" while indicating the large towel I was holding, the staff member ...
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595 views

What special kana are used to write foreign words?

How does Japanese handle sounds outside the 五十音図【ごじゅうおんず】? Are there ways of distinguishing sounds such as V or L in katakana renderings of foreign words? How are the missing sounds in the ワ column ...
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164 views

Are non-Japanese political party names translated, or transliterated?

Are the names of new political parties, especially in English-speaking countries, typically translated, or transliterated? I looked at the Japanese language Wikipedia template for Australian ...
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236 views

しゅうと/シュート - The great equalizer

I was watching the movie Mr. Baseball the other day. Several times during the movie they talk about しゅうと which they describe as "the great equalizer". (Could possibly be しゅうとう, but their dialog does ...
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142 views

Can キーウィ be used to mean New Zealander?

Outside of Australia and New Zealand, am I likely to be understood by Japanese speakers if I use キーウィ to mean New Zealanders? Based on what weblio and Wiktionary say, I suspect not, but I want to ...
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113 views

Is there a term that covers both wasei eigo and gairaigo?

Is there a term that covers both wasei eigo ("Japanese-made English") and gairaigo (words from foreign languages)? Can you call them カタカナ語?
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444 views

What do young Japanese mean by セクハラ?

What do Japanese young people exactly mean by 「セクハラ」? Do they think it is negative, or only slightly negative, or not negative? I've often heard Japanese university students throw around the term ...
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1answer
1k views

Why is katakana /va/ normally written ヴァ rather than ヷ?

Even though there is a katakana character ヷ, most of the time when I see something that is transcribed into Japanese as /va/, it is in the form ヴァ (say, for example, in the title of the anime series ...
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320 views

Should I use スタート for “start a new game” or something else?

I want to say, "Are you sure you want to start a new game?" (I'm developing a game for Japanese users, and this question is asked when it finishes.) I'm not sure whether スタート is the correct word to ...
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2answers
169 views

Is マラソン always 42.195 km?

ALC translate the Japanese マラソン into the English "marathon", which the English Wikipedia says has an official distance of 42.195 kilometres. Is マラソン always 42.195 km? Or has the Japanese word a ...
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429 views

Is “フリーマーケット” sometimes assumed to be derived from “Free”?

Is the term "フリーマーケット" sometimes assumed to be derived from, or meaning, "Free market", as opposed to "Flea market"? (That is, having a false etymology) There is a phrase "Free market" in English, ...
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317 views

What is the most common word used for 'idea'?

Pretty sure I've mostly seen idea as アイデア Does anyone know of other words used for 'idea' and if possible any example sentences and contexts where different words are used?
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173 views

Is アルコール from Portuguese?

The word アルコール is very similar to the Portuguese alcohol (pronounced alcōl), this seems closer than the English アルコホール. So is the real etymology Portuguese rather than English?
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176 views

Does 被【かぶ】る have any relation to “cover”?

Topic. I've heard/seen somewhere that 被【かぶ】る was "gairaigo-fied" (?) from the English word "cover" (similar to ダブる or デモる), and then presumably given ateji from 被【おお】う since the meanings overlap so ...
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140 views

Is スポーツ a plural-only word?

Typically there is no pluralization in Japanese unless specified. For example: この車【くるま】は綺麗【きれい】。 This car is clean. / These cars are clean. Does スポーツ work in the same way? Considering the ...
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549 views

Why aren't マンション mansions? Or are they?

And no, this isn't about property sizes in Japan! As Katakana Mysteries: 6 loan words Japan got wrong put it: Bill Gates or Warren Buffet might be very surprised if they were to buy a Japanese ...
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1answer
187 views

Is メリー mainly used in the set phrase メリークリスマス?

Is the gairaigo メリー mainly used in the set phrase メリークリスマス (Merry Christmas!) or can it be used without the クリスマス to mean "merry", such as 私はメリーです to say "I am feeling merry"? There's also メリーゴーランド ...
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1answer
196 views

Is レリゴる likely to be understood, and what does it mean?

Last year, I heard from other English speakers about the katakana verb レリゴる. It's supposed to be a verb related to the movie Frozen (アナと雪の女王). Is the verb generally understood by Japanese speakers? I ...
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1answer
124 views

What does かみつれ mean?

I'm trying to figure out what "かみつれを手に". The word かみつれ is in hiragana, so I can't use kanji to figure it out. I have a feeling it means "( something ) in hand". I searched in Google, and ...
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1answer
236 views

Is it possible to write anything long completely in 和語?

I sometimes wonder how feasible is it to completely avoid loanwords, i.e. 漢語 and 外来語, but still using Modern Japanese (i.e. not simply just using Old/Classical Japanese vocabulary). Is the 和語 ...
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277 views

Is there a non-katakana word for “cash flow”?

If you look up "cash flow" in most dictionaries, it seems the concept is expressed in katakana, キャッシュフロー. However, I was speaking with a Japanese person earlier, and the term was not immediately ...
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2answers
223 views

Why is ホームシック a noun, not a な-adjective?

In class, I was told that ホームシック is a noun, not a な-adjective. ホームシックの時、何をしますか。 By contrast, the closest English word to "ホームシック", which is "homesick", is an adjective. Why is ホームシック a noun? Is it ...
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199 views

Was 蒙古症 or similar words commonly used to refer to Down Syndrome?

The possibility that Japanese used words derived from "Mongoloid" to refer to Down Syndrome hadn't crossed my mind until I was mentioning the word to a Japanese person practicing English, but ...
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167 views

What does 「アップしています」 mean?

For example: Youtubeで動画をアップしています。 Does 「アップ」 mean “upload”?
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590 views

Pronunciation of W

I often see the alphabet W being transcribed or pronounced as "ダブル" rather than "ダブリュー" in Japanese, and I think that in most cases, that was not what was meant. Indeed, there seems to be a practice ...
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1answer
165 views

The process behind キャ in loanwords from English

I'm curious why many English words that are borrowed into Japanese which have the "ca" sound as in "can" or "canvas" end up with that being mapped to キャ: キャンバス (canvas) キャビネット (cabinet) キャンセル ...
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1answer
138 views

Is ダウンアンダー understood by non-Australian Japanese speakers?

Firstly, is "ダウンアンダー" the correct spelling? I think it is, based on the Japanese Wikipedia articles メン・アット・ワーク and ツアー・ダウンアンダー , but I could be mistaken. But apart from that, is the average ...
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1answer
213 views

Is マスカット an accurate translation for “green grape”, and what foreign word is it derived from?

I'm new to Japanese so I'm working my way through Human Japanese, when I was adding the vocabulary to Quizlet I realized I didn't know how to type マスカット because I'm not used to seeing ツ used like ...
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1answer
138 views

Is オージー understood by non-Australian Japanese speakers?

Is the word "オージー" (in the meaning of "Aussie", not as in "old girl" or other meanings) understood by non-Australian Japanese speakers? Also, in English, non-Australians have a tendency to use ...
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1answer
286 views

Is one transcription of “Andrew” more standard than another?

I recently looked at the disambiguation page for Andrew on the Japanese Wikipedia, and found that there were several "アンドルー"s, and several "アンドリュー"s. I couldn't discern any trend that one form ...
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1answer
98 views

What is 「ケステンGチンキ」 a reference to?

This word/set of words/whatever it is popped up in something I am reading, and I cannot find any clue as to what it is referencing. The book is a taiko performer's biography, and this is the very last ...
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1answer
149 views

Trying to think of borrowed English words that parse “ti” as ティ or as チ。 [closed]

I often trip up in guessing the pronunciation of words that have been borrowed into Japanese from English where the original pronunciation had "ti" in it. For example, I might say ネイチブ instead of ...
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1answer
76 views

What is the proper use case for コンペ先?

As I understand the term コンペ先 translates as a "competitor" (edit: from the examples in the answer, I think "contestant" seems more appropriate as there is an unspoken requirement for some contest or ...