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18

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 ...


16

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

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

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 ...


13

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 ...


12

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 ...


11

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, ...


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

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 ...


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

The second paragraph can be answered in large part by What changes are made to the pronunciation of gairaigo? and by Less-approximate and more-approximate forms of loan words and by Different transcriptions for words with related origin . As for the third paragraph, Wikipedia says the Agency for Cultural Affairs (文化庁) at the Ministry of Education of Japan ...


9

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. ...


9

Xyl~ is the same as Xyl in Xylophone (coming from 'wood' in Greek). How it is pronounced varies between languages. You can see this by the explanation on the Japanese wiki article for Xylophone, which shows the different pronunciations in katakana: Japanese: シロフォン English: ザイロフォウン German: クシュロフォーン French: グジロフォヌ Italian: クシロフォノ、シロフォノ In German the IPA ...


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

This puts English derived words at something like 80% of foreign origin words (this would exclude 漢語{かんご}). It also has some lists of words separated by origin (leaving out English-derived words). Let's assume for a moment that this list is in some way representative of non-English derived katakana loanwords. A rough calculation suggests that the most ...


9

But everything I've been reading all seems to say that katakana are mostly used to form loanwords from other languages Katakana are used for way more than just making loanwords: It is used for reading classical Chinese (漢文). It is used for names of people, places, countries, restaurants, etc. It is used in science, for example biological names of ...


9

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 ...


8

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) ...


8

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 ... ...


8

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 ...


8

It comes from concentric plug. Although the origin is not 100% clear, it appears that plugs were round (concentric) in early 20th century England, which may be where the word comes from.


8

Japanese 国語審議会 (National Language Council) recommends longer (with ー) forms since 1991. So foreign words in textbooks for elementary school students usually have trailing "ー". http://www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/hakusho/nc/k19910628002/k19910628002.html 注3 英語の語末の‐er, ‐or, ‐arなどに当たるものは,原則としてア列の長音とし長音符号「ー」を用いて書き表す。ただし,慣用に応じて「ー」を省くことができる。 〔例〕 エレベーター ギター コンピューター ...


8

To answer the title question first, yes, it is. Roughly, I am going to say that it happens incidentally 90% of the time and intentionally the rest of the time. This comes from innocent ignorance 80-90% of the time as the English word "flea" is simply not known nearly as widely as the word "free" among the average people. The word 「フリー」(from "free") is ...



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