Can you still speak Japanese while avoiding to use most Chinese loan words? The native portion of the Japanese language is called Yamato Kotoba or Wago, but how fluent could you still be without the Chinese-based part of Japanese?
Would pure Yamato Kotoba be comparable to Anglish for English?

  • 2
    I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you really shouldn't shorten the word 'Japanese' like that. If you must shorten it, use 'JP'.
    – Angelos
    Oct 24, 2019 at 9:54
  • @AeonAkechi Thank you for the correction. It didn't occur to me that that could be perceived as pejorative. Oct 24, 2019 at 10:27

1 Answer 1


Although Sino-Japanese words (aka kango) are technically loanwords, they have been an integral part of the Japanese vocabulary for more than 1000 years. Practically speaking, it's almost impossible to avoid all of them. Some very common kango which have no easy wago equivalent include:

  • 百, 千, 万, ... hundred, thousand, ten thousand...
  • 学校 school
  • 日本語 Japanese (language)
  • 月曜日, 火曜日, ... Monday, Tuesday, ...
  • 冷蔵庫 refrigerator
  • 本 book
  • 帽子 hat
  • 鉛筆 pencil
  • 電車 train

Since you mentioned Anglish, yes, I think speaking purely in wago is conceptually close to speaking without "loanwords" in English like street, school, marriage or cheese.

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    Minor quibble -- Anglish usually refers to a modernized form of Old English (OE), excluding words traced to Norman French after the 1066 invasion and other borrowings. Marriage is one of these, displacing OE hǣmedsċipe. However, OE already had stræt, scōl, and ċīese, all traceable to the Proto-Germanic stage, where they were probably borrowed from Latin. Oct 24, 2019 at 20:01
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    百→もも 千→ち (千葉県!) 万→よろず 23456 →ふたよろず、みち、よおお、いそじあまりむっつ。 :)
    – Kaz
    Oct 24, 2019 at 21:21
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    The seven day week is an import anyway, and is derived from or coordinated with the Western system of days and planets. E.g. Moon -> Monday -> 月. Mercury (水星) -> Mercredi (French wednesday) Saturn -> 土星 -> 土曜日 -> Saturday.
    – Kaz
    Oct 24, 2019 at 21:26
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    @Kaz, is the seven-day week really Western-influenced? 1 week = 1/4 month, more or less, and everyone on the planet can observe the phases of the moon. Oct 24, 2019 at 22:35
  • @Kaz I've also wondered about that for a very long time and still couldn't find any proof. Do you have any source/s?
    – DXV
    Oct 25, 2019 at 1:58

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