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

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170 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 ...
6
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1answer
196 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 ...
6
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1answer
131 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 ...
6
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0answers
183 views

Is チェリーボーイ wasei-eigo?

Is the word チェリーボーイ (Eng. "cherry boy", meaning "male virgin") a genuine loanword from English, or is it wasei-eigo? I would have thought it to be a genuine loanword, but the sources cited on ...
5
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3answers
2k views

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 ...
5
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4answers
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 ...
5
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1answer
520 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 ...
5
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1answer
218 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 ...
5
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3answers
186 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 ...
5
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1answer
483 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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4answers
303 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 ...
5
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3answers
756 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 ...
5
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2answers
231 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 ...
5
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1answer
545 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 ...
5
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1answer
160 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 ...
5
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1answer
234 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 ...
5
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1answer
138 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 ...
5
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1answer
111 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?
5
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1answer
424 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 ...
5
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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 ...
5
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1answer
262 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 ...
4
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2answers
166 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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2answers
422 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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2answers
167 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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174 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 ...
4
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1answer
137 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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1answer
503 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 ...
4
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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
194 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
234 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 ...
3
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3answers
269 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 ...
3
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2answers
215 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 ...
3
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2answers
189 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 ...
3
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2answers
161 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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2answers
554 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 ...
3
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1answer
162 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 ...
3
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1answer
133 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 ...
3
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1answer
266 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 ...
3
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1answer
93 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 ...
3
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1answer
141 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 ...
3
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1answer
74 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 ...
3
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1answer
93 views

What is the origin of イレーザー?

There is a word イレーザー, which means 'eraser'. I suspect this comes from the English word eraser. But the "s" sound in eraser is not voiced in American English, and a closer approximation in kana will ...
3
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1answer
183 views

What does ハイツ mean in building names in Japan?

I've been living in Hokkaido for a while now, and there are plenty of dinky buildings on flat surfaces that have ハイツ stuck on the end of their names. As a native English speaker, few of these are ...
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votes
2answers
89 views

Do non-native speakers of English find gairaigo more difficult to learn than native speakers of English?

I've occasionally heard people who aren't native speakers of English complain about gairaigo (words derived from European languages, not words derived from Chinese) being difficult to learn. ...
2
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1answer
101 views

XをYという形に sentence

「俺焼き豚頼んでないですよ」 店主であり違法改造バイク夢五萬のライダーである高田くんのお兄さんは、菜ばしを“サービス”という形に動かした。 "I did not order pork loin." Takada's brother, who is the shop owner and rides an illegally modified motorcycle ...
2
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1answer
197 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 ...
2
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1answer
121 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
239 views

Why is Austin spelled with an オ?

Based on the pronunciations here, what I hear in Anime, and the way I hear kana pronounced in Japanese class, it seems to me that Austin should start with ア rather than オ, but it is clearly spelled ...
2
votes
1answer
286 views

What are the reasons for the huge amount of loanwords in Japanese?

It seems that Japanese has far more loanwords than any other language I've heard spoken. I understand that English is far-reaching and a global language, but are there many known reasons that English ...
2
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1answer
573 views

Is “ガール” (gāru) now considered a Japanese word? What about “ガールズ” (gāruzu)?

In my wanderings around Japan giving my kana knowledge some practice I've noticed both the words "ガール" (gāru) and "ガールズ" (gāruzu) in use at least in signage. Obviously they are borrowed from English ...