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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 "massage" and "message" have katakana versions of the words (マッサージ and メッセージ) which seem reasonably distinct from each other.

Are native Japanese speakers likely to confuse "message" and "massage" in English, and if so what is it about Japanese that causes this?

  • Was this observed in speaking or writing? – l'électeur Dec 18 '15 at 13:23
  • @職場恋愛小説執筆中 writing, in all cases. – Andrew Grimm Dec 18 '15 at 13:36
  • Do you mean you saw, say, they typed the English word massage instead of the English word message? – broccoli forest Dec 18 '15 at 13:53
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    私の友人はバイオリンケースに「Massage of the Wind」って油性マジックで書いてしまいました。@broccoliforest おひさー!! – Chocolate Dec 18 '15 at 14:17
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    In writing, I've seen native English speakers mess this up..... – Blavius Dec 18 '15 at 20:44
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Lacking a more scientific corpus of mistakes, I searched Lang-8 for pages that contained both "message" and "massage". I got a number of matches, many of them involving native speakers of languages other than Japanese typing "massage" and being corrected by native speakers of English to say "message".

Incidentally, the book title "The Medium is the Massage" was the result of a typo made during the process that the author noticed but wanted kept as-is.

This doesn't rule out differences between Japanese and English being a contributing factor, but it makes that theory less likely.

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