My friend is creating a word card application to help people memorize Japanese words / Kanji. The subject of what to call the application came up and he asked me for some suggestions. One of the requirements is that it's a very simple name with the word Japanese in English and then something else.

I suggested "Japanese 語" be the name of the application and I would like to get some input from the people here.

I already looked up the meaning of 語 but what I would like to know is does it look totally confusing or make some sense with the English word "Japanese" before it.

  • 2
    I can clearly understand the meaning but it sounds a bit awkward. And since the 'ese' part of Japanese means 語 anyway, how about just "Japan語" (Japango). It sounds snappier. By the way opinion based questions are off-topic on this site so the question will probably be closed. Dec 9, 2018 at 11:28
  • the 'ese' part of Japanese means 語 -ese is used as a suffix to form adjectives and nouns describing things and characteristics of a city, region, or country. As a noun, Japanese means those things of Japan, and can only be interpreted as「語」if the context is clear. Comprehensive references such as encyclopedias refer to 日本語 as Japanese language, not just Japanese - I'm rather surprised at the interpretations here reading "Japanese 語" as Japanese -ese, when my first impression is that it should be read as just Japanese language.
    – dROOOze
    Dec 12, 2018 at 0:19

1 Answer 1


I would say it's indeed confusing at least to native Japanese speakers.

  • 語 meaning word is not really common outside academic contexts. Words listed on a word card/list are usually called 単語 by Japanese people who study foreign languages.
  • 語 is also a suffix meaning language or -ese. For example 日本 means Japan and 日本語 means Japanese. When I see "Japanese 語", I can't help reading it as something weird like "Japanese-ese".

"Japanese 単語" would be at least not confusing.

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