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I've heard the word used in phrases like 質問コーナー, but I haven't heard this usage of "corner" in English. Why is it used this way?

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    和製英語. That is all...
    – istrasci
    Aug 19, 2021 at 16:24

2 Answers 2

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The general sense of "corner" in reference to "a specific area for doing something" was already well established in the the 1800s. See also Google NGram viewer for the English phrase question corner, which first appears in English-language works in Google's corpus as of 1861:

Click the bubble marked 1800-1904 at the bottom of that page to get the corresponding Google Books search results:

We can see numerous examples there. Many of them are irrelevant, like cases of "the [something] in question. Corner ..." However, some of them are exactly the kind of usage we see in the Japanese 質問コーナー, such as this section of a 1900 edition of Midland Schools, a publication from Des Moines, Iowa. Or this section of an 1884 edition of Woman's Work for Woman: A Union Magazine.

Sometimes the source English term is simply archaic or unusual in our personal lects, leading us to think that the Japanese must be 和製英語. That was my first reaction to learning that パンツ means "underwear", whereas "pants" in my own sociolect means "trousers". And then I learned that, in standard UK English, "pants" does indeed mean "underwear". I had to rethink many of my ideas about "Ingrish" and unexpected meanings for terms.

This use of the term コーナー may be a similar example: ultimately, this appears to be a borrowing from regular English usage, and not 和製英語.

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It must have been derived from the English word used in the sense of a specific sales area located in a commercial space, as in kids' corner.

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    Yeah, to me it didn't strike me as an unusual use of the word.
    – Leebo
    Aug 20, 2021 at 4:24

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