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This greatly depends on the word... As for 地図 vs マップ and 毛 vs ヘア, the traditional kanji versions are still the normal choices. We hear ヘア in very limited situations, like in hair salons and ads for shampoo. See: Difference between マップ and 地図 As for ねじ回し vs ドライバー, ねじ weren't common in Japan until after the Edo period, so it was natural that ドライバー became ...


It can happen in Japanese just like it can happen in English.


Yes, many people do. The katakana transcriptions of them are based on English, and so they sound. There are other confusing country names in Japanese such as アルバニア{Albania} and アルメニア{Armenia}, アイルランド{Ireland} and アイスランド{Iceland}, or ウルグアイ{Uruguay} and パラグアイ{Paraguay}, but this one is especially infamous because both countries are well-known ones and likely ...


Any Japanese who knows Austria and Australia are different countries wouldn't confuse them. We pronounce Austria as オーストリア, オーストリヤ, or オーストリー (elder genaration tends to call this way. Conversly younger generation calls Italy as イタリー、while elder genaration tends to call it イタリヤ), and Australia as オーストラリア with a clear vocal distinction.

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