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I'm going to Japan in a week, and I'd like to be able to convey the fact that I am (very) allergic to coriander. Google Translate gave me:

私はコリアンダーにアレルギーがある

to be pronounced as:

Watashi wa koriandā ni arerugī ga aru

but I'm a bit suspicious of this because the words for coriander and allergy seem to be transliterations of the sound of the words in English, and I find it hard to believe that the Japanese would not have their own word for coriander and allergy.

So, is this the best way to inform restaurant staff that I am allergic to coriander (and not just that I don't like it) ?

  • 1
    FYI, 'allergy' is a loan word (from German) in every major language except a few. The concept (and word) only originated in the early 20th century. – Ciaran Jul 20 '17 at 14:03
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    We do have a Japanese word. 過敏症, but overall アレルギー is more commonly used both in casual and technical contexts. – Yosh Jul 20 '17 at 15:34
  • @Yosh Is「Xにアレルギがある」the common usage? If I'd been put on the spot, I probably would have gone with 「コリアンダーのアレルギ」(cf. English “a coriander allergy”), but I don't know if that's what a native speaker would say either. – David Moles Jul 20 '17 at 21:23
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    @DavidMoles Yes, 「Xにアレルギーがある」is common. However 「Xのアレルギーがある」is also fine and common (I somehow feel a little less but perhaps equally). 「日本の小児ではXのアレルギーが最も多い (X allergy is the most common [among the population]) 」 is an good example of "X allergy" as you mentioned. Perhaps you could understand the "に" on the analogy of "I'm allergic to X". – Yosh Jul 21 '17 at 7:31
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Yup, I should think that would make your allergy clear.

As a side note, Coriander is often known as パクチー (From Thai “phakchi”) as well so you might want to try saying that if the point doesn't seem to be getting across.

EDIT: @Chocolate points out that when it's a spice its コリアンダー and when it's a raw leaf it's パクチー. Assuming you are allergic to both you might want to mention both.

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    粉状の香辛料(スパイス)の場合は「コリアンダー」、生の葉っぱは「パクチー」って呼ぶことが多い気がします。(質問者はどっちがダメなんでしょう、やっぱり両方ダメなんでしょうかね・・?) – Chocolate Jul 20 '17 at 14:16
  • That's a good point, I'll add an English translation – paullb Jul 20 '17 at 14:43
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I think the given sentence works. For the sake of politeness, however, you might want to use -ます form instead of standard form for ある. Your sentence might look like this, then:

私はコリアンダーにアレルギーがあります
Watashi wa koriandā ni arerugī ga arimasu.
I have an allergy to Coriander.

I have added bold to the example to show what changed and what part of the sentence was affected.

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For the sake of understanding what it is you're saying (it sounds like you're still new to Japanese, so forgive me if I'm wrong), 私はコリアンダーにアレルギーがある can be broken down like this:

  • 私 (I)
  • は (marks preceding clause as the sentence topic)
  • コリアンダー (Coriander, the spice (thanks @Chocolate))
  • に (to)
  • アレルギー (allergy)
  • が (marks preceding clause to be the subject in regards to the verb)
  • ある (in your case, "have")

I would directly translate it back to English as "I have an allergy to Coriander".

If you'd like to express that your allergy is severe, try: 私はコリアンダーに重度のアレルギーがある (watashi wa koriandaa ni juudo no arerugii ga aru).

  • You're right, I'm a beginner, and your help is appreciated. – Your Uncle Bob Jul 20 '17 at 21:38

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