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Why does Google translate "Do you like rice" as "お米は好きですか"?

I think the kanji is correct, but the reading and romanization they use is "O Amerika wa sukidesu ka?"

enter image description here

I'm pretty sure the reading should be "ごはん", but based on this entry it's saying one of the alternate meanings for 米 is America, which just seems odd to me, but I'm guessing that's the reason for Google's odd translation?

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    That's another reason you can't trust Google Translate. (I tried the audio button and it reads it aloud as "okomewasukidesuka", by the way.)
    – chocolate
    Feb 18 at 2:09
  • It says "o Futsu" for お仏, not "o Furansu" as I hoped... The translation was "Buddha", by the way.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 18 at 4:19

1 Answer 1

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I don't know the historical reason behind this, but the US country is written the "rice country" in Japanese and reads as 米国{べいこく}. But obviously that's not how the sentence in your screenshot should be read; the correct reading for that is お米{こめ}は好{す}きですか?, and the other word for rice is 御飯{ごはん}.

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    Wiktionary page for 米国 explains that [米利堅]{メリケン} (from "American") was one of names of USA used in Japanese texts in 19th century and early 20th century, and this word was abbreviated to its first kanji 米. め is one of readings of , but 米國 > 米国 word, which uses べい reading of 米, is attested since at least 1603 with meaning "country rich in rice" (before USA were created). New meaning of 米國 > 米国 word was created, without changing reading of this word to めこく.
    – Arfrever
    Feb 18 at 3:26
  • @Arfrever Interesting, thank you for sharing. Feb 18 at 17:35

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