How would I describe a baby kangaroo in Japanese? Would I call it "ジョーイ" (katakana for "joey", which is used in English for pretty much any baby marsupial), or "子カンガルー" (literally baby-kangaroo).

The English edition of Wiktionary doesn't have a translation. Weblio only has info on the given name "Joey" at both the page on ジョーイ or on Joey.

Doing a google image search using 子カンガルー gave me better results than doing one on ジョーイ, but that could just be because the former doesn't have to compete against synonyms.

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    "Baby [insert an animal name]" is always 子[animal]. Feb 21, 2016 at 11:13
  • @broccoliforest ouch. I remembered that just as I was about to open up this page. I was confused by some people's name ending with "子".
    – Golden Cuy
    Feb 21, 2016 at 11:24
  • @broccoliforest, I don't agree. That formula works best with native Japanese animal names. I can't think of any katakana animal names that it works well with, including 子カンガルー (which would be understood, but sounds unnatural).
    – dainichi
    Feb 21, 2016 at 23:44
  • @dainichi I understand you, but I don't think the criteria is being native words. It works best with relatively short and widespread animals. To me, 子ガラス and 子フクロウ sound as (un)natural as 子カンガルー. IME seems to include 子パンダ btw. Feb 22, 2016 at 4:22
  • @broccoliforest, 子フクロウ does give quite a few Google hits, but so does 子カンガルー, so you're absolutely right that it's not as clear cut as I might have led to believe. Anyway, I was mostly trying to clarify your "always"-comment which I thought could be misleading.
    – dainichi
    Feb 24, 2016 at 1:20

1 Answer 1


Basically, you have two choices:

「カンガルー[赤]{あか}ちゃん」 and 「赤ちゃんカンガルー」 (No 「の」 needed in the latter.)

「カンガルー子」 does not make much sense at all, which you might find surprising. You need to use a particle. 「カンガルー[子]{こ}」 makes perfect sense, but it does not carry the meaning of "baby" specifically. It includes the toddler version of a kangaroo as well.

「ジョーイ」 is a word I have heard for the first time today.

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    Sorry, I should have asked about "子カンガルー", not "カンガルー子".
    – Golden Cuy
    Feb 21, 2016 at 11:28

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