The sentence comes from a video about why Japanese language has so many pronouns.


The translation for this from the same video is:

"We can infer that personal pronouns in Japanese differ from those of other languages in that they change very often"

So, what I can't understand is this: 他の言葉からの転用が多い : Seeing the translation, I guess 言葉 means 言語 here, right? so, does it mean something like:


at least that's what I see.

  • 3
    I don’t think 言葉 means 言語 here. It might make more sense to read it as 単語.
    – aguijonazo
    Nov 8, 2022 at 11:51
  • If it's a publicly available video, can you link it? Nov 8, 2022 at 12:41
  • 1
    Some say Japanese has NO personal pronouns, and I agree.
    – aguijonazo
    Nov 8, 2022 at 12:55
  • @aguijonazo then what would you call 私、貴方、俺、僕、君 and such?
    – jarmanso7
    Nov 8, 2022 at 14:11
  • 2
    他の言葉からの転用が多い differ from those of other languages in that they change very often <- この英訳めっちゃ間違ってません?
    – chocolate
    Nov 8, 2022 at 15:03

3 Answers 3


That translation is not accurate, and I believe this 言葉 means "word" rather than "language".


(lit.) As a charasteristic of Japanese pronouns, one can list (the fact) that there are many borrowings from other (Japanese) words.

One of the characteristics of Japanese pronouns is that many of them are derived words from other (Japanese) words.

転用 is a noun meaning "derived usage", "borrowing", etc. In case you don't know からの by itself, see this.

If I understand correctly, this sentence is saying many Japanese "pronouns" are etymologically derived words. For example, かのじょ is 彼 ("that") + 女 ("woman"), あなた is 彼 ("that") + 方 ("place"), きさま is 貴 ("precious") + 様 (honorific suffix), and so on. This is also why some believe Japanese personal pronouns are not really pronouns (see the discussion in the comment section).


からの転用 = repurpose[d] from.

Many Japanese personal pronouns were repurposed phrases that had, or still have, other meanings. あなた was not originally a personal pronoun, for example.


Your question is about からの.

からの is から+の

Maybe you are confused because there is this の particle while a literal translation back from English would make 他の言葉から転用 looks totally fine, right?

If you are not familiar with の particle check this article

To paraphrase it: "の is like a label maker. It turns a noun into a label that modifies another noun."
Furthermore, it's not just a possessive particle, more of something that links a thing to another (if you prefer mental representations).

So you have to read like this :

他の言葉から の 転用

literally "diversions related from other words"

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