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24

Phonemes and Allophones In English, we have two different /p/ sounds. When you say pin, you use an aspirated [pʰ] sound, and when you say spin you use an unaspirated [p˭] sound. This may come as a surprise! English speakers generally think of them as being the exact same sound. That's because English doesn't have any pair of words which are ...


19

but I am constantly baffled by why certain loan words from English are constructed using certain katakana sounds. Loan words do not necessarily need to be borrowed from English. In fact, most old loan words (in the 外来語 sense) were borrowed from Portuguese. For example, if someone asked me to say "energy" in Japanese, I would have guessed エナジー or ...


17

Good question! 「米国」 According to Japanese Wikipedia, the pronunciation of American was メリケン during the Meiji period, and was rendered into kanji as 「米利堅」 Since the first character is 米 (べい、まい、めい) the abbreviation became 米国. This was despite the fact that the full kanji representation of アメリカ is 亜米利加. I suspect it was because 亜 is already used to represent ...


15

It comes from the Greek word xylon, which means wood. The Greek word xylon is pronounced "ksilon", so the Japanese transcription is faithful to the original Greek pronunciation, rather than the English corruption of the word. See the answer to this question for the reason why "x" is pronounced "z" at the beginning of English words. As for the origin of ...


15

It is native Japanese (和語). It is a compound of kao (顔) and hayui (映ゆい). A simplified view of the phonological development is kapopayu-ki > kaɸoɸayu-ki > kawowayu-ki > kaowayu-ki > kawayu-ki > kawayu-i > kawai-i. Other than the normal p > ɸ > w > Ø, the two major changes are 1) merge of owa > wa and yu > i. 可愛 is ateji (当て字).


14

Original word is from "Diagram" ダイヤグラム, which is a 外来語.


14

I think most people don't even know whether a word is wasei-eigo. Just to give you a sense, there are plenty of people who think パン, バイト, and アベック come from English. I think most won't care if they find that out (which they do because sometimes the TV discusses this. For most people it's just another trivia). Just think about how popular ルー大柴 was ;) I'm ...


14

Why is it pronounced "yen"? I was actually wondering this a month or so ago, but found the answer on the Wikipedia article for yen/en. The spelling and pronunciation "yen" is standard in English. This is because mainly English speakers who visited Japan at the end of the Edo period to the early Meiji period spelled words this way. ... In the 16th ...


14

First, a brief explanation of the word 「テンション」 for those who are not familiar with it. It does not mean "tension" or "tense". Rather, it refers to "(a level of) excitement or hyperness seen in a person". 「テンション」 is such a frequently-used word that I had to define it first. I know from my personal experience that quite a few J-learners would think that ...


13

Any word read in on'yomi in Japanese and using the Sinic hanja reading in Korean is probably ultimately attributable to Middle Chinese, unless evidence can be found of an independent coinage somewhere on the Japanese archipelago or the Korean peninsula. Terms like the ones below are likely borrowings from Middle or later Korean, rather than Chinese. We can ...


13

There are also several old and common words which may have come from Korean, but of course, unlike words that are easily recognized as Korean in origin (such as 両班 Yangban or 温突 ondol), these words would probably forever remain in controversy: 寺 (てら) may have come from the Korean 절 (jeol). The Koujien dictionary also states the Pali word thera (old, ...


13

Someone else might have better referenced information but I was told these words predate the Second World War when the Japanese government policy was to avoid, possibly even outlaw, all loanwords. (My Japanese father in law told me he was not taught English because it was language of the enemy.) There were also Japanese names for the fielding positions in ...


13

It is 和製英語. Sometime around the 1920s, employees at 東京電燈会社 created a device which consisted of a plug and outlet. This was called コンセントプラグ "concentric plug". Outlets without the plugs are now referred to as コンセント. Needless to say, English "concentric" does not make much sense.


12

I'm fairly certain that this has to do with pitch in Japanese and accentuation in English. The natural pitch for デバグ【HLL】 is HLL, whereas デバッグ【LHLL】 would naturally be LHL (and バグ【HL】 is HL). To mimic accentuation by pitch (i.e. accented syllables get a high pitch after transliteration), the ッ is necessary to give the バ a (natural) high pitch. バグ already ...


12

Use アイディア (or アイデア) when it's replaceable with resolution, suggestion, etc. If you really want to avoid loanwords, you can use "(良い)考え". What shall we do? Do you have any idea? 何しよう? 何かアイディアある? An idea is something that solves multiple problems at once. -- Shigeru Miyamoto アイデアというのは複数の問題を一気に解決するものである -- 宮本茂 Use 概念【がいねん】 (or 考え方) when it's ...


12

That's not likely to happen, as long as the survey was conducted in Japanese. USA → アメリカ, 米国{べいこく} As like most nations outside US do, we prefer to abbreviate the country's name to toponym. USSR → ソ連{れん} (ソビエト) Russia → ロシア ("united states" → 合衆国{がっしゅうこく}) If someone should believe that the Soviet Union was America, then it's another failure of public ...


10

There's one for a fountain pen: 万年筆 (まんねんひつ), but pens haven't been around that long, so everything else seems to be ペン. Mr. Biro only started making his ballpoints in the 1940's. Even one of the types of pencil has become a pen - シャーペン (it's a shortening of シャープペンシル).


10

I won't vouch for its accuracy, but here's a list of words that EDICT claims to be of Korean origin: て拳道 [てこんどー] /(n) (uk) Tae Kwon Do (kor:)/ アイゴー /(int) argh (kor: aigo)/sigh/ アボジ /(n) father (kor:)/ ウォン /(n) won (unit of Korean currency) (kor:)/(P)/ ウオン /(n) won (unit of Korean currency) (kor:)/(P)/ オイキムチ /(n) cucumber kimchi (kor: oi kimch'i)/ オモニ /(n) ...


10

If you're OK with エロい (as discussed in comments), there are examples like: エロい グロい ナウい But note that these are directly derived from エロ(チシズム), グロ(テスク), and ナウ ("now"). They were not borrowed into the language as -i adjectives; they were borrowed into the language as nouns and/or na adjectives, and then THOSE borrowings were turned into -i adjectives. ...


10

マラソン by its own strictly means running 42.195 km, as long as it is used as the name of professional athletic competitions. For example, "10000m走" (10,000 metres) is never マラソン. 長距離走【ちょうきょりそう】 is the generic term which corresponds to "long-distance running" (usually >= 5 km), which of course includes マラソン. When it comes to amateur events or PE classes at ...


10

I think on reading ヴァ, ヴィ, etc., people usually try to pronounce it differently from バ, ビ, etc., but with varying success. In fact, I think most Japanese that try to distinguish ヴァ and バ pronounce what would be //v// indeed like the Spanish [[β]], a voiced bilabial fricative (or like a combination like [[bβ]]). That seems to make sense since the voiceless ...


10

I remember that this "-zilla" caught on for some reason among English-speaking people, and appeared in several software names such as Mozilla, Bugzilla, FileZilla. English Wikipedia even has a page describing this suffix -zilla! However, I believe that was an English-only phenomenon, and Japanese people don't regard ジラ as a suffix. FWIW, this "-zilla" ...


10

Historical Background According to the 歴史的{れきしてき}経緯{けいい} section of the 縦書{たてが}きと横書{よこが}き article on the Japanese Wikipedia, apparently in the late 1800s it wasn't altogether uncommon for printed materials to have Japanese still written vertically top-to-bottom with lines progressing right-to-left, with any European-language text written horizontally ...


9

ご飯 (ごはん), 飯 (めし) and ライス all refer to the same thing: steamed rice. ご飯 and 飯 can mean meal, too. As you said, it is not uncommon to see ライス in a menu at a restaurant, even when it is not part of a compound word such as カレーライス. I do not know why they do not say ご飯, and I can only make a guess at possible reasons: As Jeshii said, they may want to make it ...


9

Although it's true that there are a very, very large number of kanji compounds imported from Chinese to Japanese, it's not as direct as that statement. There are Chinese words that don't exist in Japanese, and many chinese Kanji have different meanings or pronounciations, as well as occasionally being written slightly differently. These differences are ...


9

Ah, I found something on this particular example... 支那の色名である「橙色(とうしょく)」が日本語になったと考えられている。[...]橙色は、英語のオレンジに対応する日本語の色名として用いられたが、橙色も元々は借入語であり、英語より橙色の方が借り入れたのが早かったに過ぎない。なお、「橙」の漢字が教育用漢字に採用されなかったために、赤と黄との中間色相は日本でもオレンジ色と呼ばれることが多くなった。 source: http://www.7key.jp/data/design/color/orange/daidaiiro.html Not sure from what source this information is in turn, ...


9

It would require serious philological investigation to figure out the exact situation w/r/t to 衡器, スケール and はかり, but there are a few suggestive pieces of data easily available. 日本国語大辞典 has one example sentence for 衡器. It is from 1909, from a weights-and-measures law ([度量]{どりょう}衡法{こうほう}施行令{しこうれい}): 度量衡器の製作の免許を受けたる者は ... ...



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