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Questions tagged [loanwords]

外来語. Words brought into Japanese from languages other than Chinese.

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2
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1answer
422 views

Native Japanese vocabulary, pure Wago/Yamato Kotoba

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 ...
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1answer
116 views

How to know whether a word is borrowed from foreign languages?

If I want to translate the word "card" into Japanese, there's only one word in Katakana in Google Translation: カード. If I search the relevant Chinese word "卡片", there's still only one single result カード ...
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1answer
2k views

Why is beatboxing called 「ヒューマンビートボックス」?

I was watching TV when the topic turned to certain celebrities' ability to beatbox. In talking about this every mention of the term beatbox was ヒューマンビートボックス. Why is human necessary? The use of ...
9
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2answers
2k views

What term would be used for words that are borrowed from Japanese and used in other languages?

Many Japanese words are used in other languages, sushi, anime, karaoke, tsunami.... Is there a term to identify these words? I am familiar with terms such as 外来語 to indicate loanwords borrowed from ...
2
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2answers
129 views

At what age is a person considered to be シルバー?

I read this term in an online article and it was referring to people. I assume it means elderly people. Is there an age that one must be to use this term?
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2answers
229 views

Looking to understand a fantasy name

This is related to Beyblade, regarding a team exclusive to a game that didn't get translated to English. Each blader has their own holy beast to command and I'm not getting the name of one of them. ...
4
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1answer
1k views

What does エセインテリ mean?

is it like a pseudo-intellectual or something else?
2
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1answer
249 views

What's the origin of the title 親王?

As far as I know, prior to the adoption of the title "Emperor" in ancient China by Shihuangdi (who claimed to be the first 皇帝 (huangdi), from the titles of 8 ancient godly beings), 王 was the sole ...
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1answer
121 views

Why ロサンゼルス and not ロスアンゼルス but ロスアラモス and not ロサラモス?

Is there a rule as to when to keep the articles like San,Las, Los,La, Le (L'), Les (yes, my dear Dutch, not forgetting Den), in names on separate katakanas? Sometimes there is no choice, like in Las ...
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2answers
882 views

Are on’yomi words loanwords?

this is probably a silly question, but since words with multiple kanji are usually read with on’yomi would that effectively make most japanese vocabulary loanwords? like 森林 or 図書館?i understand ...
6
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1answer
631 views

How to pronounce 1ターン?

I've seen the phrase 1ターン1度 "once per turn" used in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Card game, so it seems like ターン is a legit counter. But I'm not sure how to pronounce it. From what I've googled so far, some people ...
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1answer
168 views

Transcription and pronunciation of words that had “wi” in them in English and are「ウィ」in Japanese

I was looking up how the name Will Smith is pronounced and written in Japanese. Why does "Will" become 「ウィル」? I would have expected ワ to be used instead for the first sound. I found mentions of the "...
2
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1answer
108 views

Etymology of bateren (伴天連 / 破天連)

The archaic Japanese word bateren 伴天連 / 破天連 (referring to a missionary [Jesuit] priest) is derived from the Portuguese padre. The Portuguese word notably does not contain or end in a nasal consonant, ...
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2answers
196 views

Unvoiced vowels in katakana: special case?

When foreign words or proper names are used in Japanese, some modifications are necessary, in particular a lot of vowels are introduced. E.g. 'plastic' (two syllables) becomes プラスチック (five). In this ...
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1answer
93 views

Is the adjective インディペンデント actually used as an adjective?

I saw a movie labeled インディペンデント作品 The adjective インディペンデント does not end in i and is followed by neither na nor no here. Is this meant as a strange compound noun (katakana + kanji)? Or is this a ...
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1answer
193 views

Why are there very few non-する gairaigo verbs in Japanese?

I can think of many gairaigo noun + する verbs in Japanese, like ゴルフする, but I can think of only a handful of non-する verbs in Japanese, such as ググる (mentioned in Are there words which consist of katakana ...
2
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1answer
182 views

How did スマート (from 'smart' in English) shift to mean 'slim, trim' and 'stylish'?

I first learned of this loanword on /r/FalseFriends. Wiktionary: Etymology From English smart. Adjectival noun スマート (-na inflection, rōmaji sumāto) slim, trim, slender ...
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1answer
66 views

なんだこの「ギャラリー」? What does he mean by gallery?

Panel this is taken from for context. This is commentary about a school go tournament that will start soon. あれ おまえも見にきたの? なんかギャラリー多いな 海王中囲碁部はトップレベルだもん 見なきゃソンだよ My translation ...
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1answer
150 views

What are the common practice of reading names of modern Chinese people?

From what I've seen from the Japanese Wikipedia, names of communist figures (Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Xi Jinping) seem to be read with on'yomi (Mou Takutou, Tou Shouhei, Shuu Kinpei). On the other ...
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516 views

Transitive English words becoming intransitive 外来語

While reading naruto's answer to Difference in sentences (と and に), I realized that although キス is an intransitive verb in Japanese, the English kiss is almost always used as a transitive verb. Some ...
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1answer
176 views

Loanwords related to science

I speak fluent English, Ukrainian and Russian. And I also have experience learning German and Japanese. As an avid language learner, I've been reflecting on what the languages have in common, their ...
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93 views

Does プレゼント have both English meanings or just the “gift” meaning?

Present in English means both gift, and it also mean the current (present) time. Japanese online examples and translation seem to omit this second meaning. Does プレゼント have both English meanings or ...
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157 views

Does マンション also mean “luxurious house” in Japanese?

According to Jisho.org/mansion and Japanese Core 1000 マンション in Japanese means "apartment, condominium, residential building". But in English where the word might come from, it also refers to a large ...
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3answers
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Does ガス also mean gasoline in Japanese?

What are the meanings of ガス in Japanese? I'm asking because in English it can be used for either "a substance in a form like air that is neither solid nor liquid" or, for gasoline, the liquid fuel. ...
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186 views

Is there a list of official valid loanwords or they are adapted on the fly from their original languages?

In Spanish there is an entity, the Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española) which states what is a valid spanish word or not. In Japanese, I've read the Japanese Ministry of Education has an ...
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2answers
2k views

Which language レシート is adapted from?

レシート is supposed to mean receipt. The adaptation of the word looks a bit odd to me. If it comes from English, why does it lose the "p"? Why it uses a "shii" sound instead of a "ce" (to me there are ...
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1answer
133 views

Can any nationality be expressed by adding + jin to the country name?

So, many country nationalities are written by adding +jin to the country name like Itaria-jin イタリア人 , Oranda-jin オランダ人, Kanada-jin カナダ人, Supein-jin スペイン人 , etc. but there are some like american who ...
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1answer
131 views

Convert Japanese Style English Font to Normal(?) English Font [closed]

This might be computer science related question. I am manipulating Japanese data and in some Japanese words, there are English words and Numbers are in. SYSKEN, 松井ケ丘3, コメリH&G, 篠路7-1 are the examples....
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2answers
3k views

What's the original Japanese word for door, other than the loanword ドア?

I assume that ドア is a loanword from English, unless it's a big coincidence, yet, it's in the top 200 most used Japanese words by frequency in a Japanese words by frequency list. What's the original ...
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2answers
1k views

How do you describe something “spicy”?

When I typed "spicy natto" on Google Translate, I got this: スパイシーな納豆 Here are two things that confused me: 1) why do we need な? 2) why not use 辛い? Does anyone know?
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How would I know whether a word existed and was commonly used N years ago?

Suppose I'm writing a novel that takes place N years ago, say N = 80. Given the dramatic increase of loanwords in the past century, especially from English, what would be the best way (if there is any)...
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1answer
271 views

Is there a defined cause for the recent rise in the popularity of gairaigo?

I was looking on the web for Japanese graphic design and found some pre-WWII material. Then I saw some more recent advertisement material. Comparing the two eras, I notice a difference that was beyond ...
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2answers
235 views

When are foreign language based words written with kanjis?

I was reading the wikia of an anime and I found this, Red Riot Unbreakable 烈怒頼雄斗安無嶺過武瑠 (レッドライオットアンブレイカブル) (Reddo Raiotto Anbureikaburu) The name of a ...
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0answers
72 views

what's the difference in usage between gairaigo and wago? [duplicate]

Please help me to understand how and when english-derived words are used in modern Japanese? I understand that ko-hi and garasu didn't exist in Japan, so there are no Japanese words for them. But I ...
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1answer
278 views

Why did the 黄色い線 become the 黄色いブロック?

Until a few months ago, I am absolutely sure in every single train station I had ever been the announcement was something along the lines of "黄色い線の内側でお待ちください". Then, out of the blue, one day the word ...
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1answer
776 views

Should you say English loanwords in the Japanese pronunciation?

For example, if an American travels to Japan, would they ask for "kohi" in a "koppu", maybe a "foku" for their "supagetti", or would they use "coffee", "fork", etc.? Which would be more socially ...
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1answer
179 views

Could ベビーカー be derived from “Baby carriage”?

Most etymologies I've come across for "ベビーカー" assume that it's wasei eigo based on a combination of "baby" (ベビー) and "car" (the "カー" part of "マイカー"). For example, the Japanese edition of Wikipedia ...
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1answer
251 views

Are there differences in meaning for 「ワイルド」 and 'wild'?

The word ワイルド is generally translated as 'wild' in English. Of course there are many instances where this is the appropriate translation. But I feel like there is a wider range of meanings in Japanese ...
2
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1answer
133 views

Is ワンサイズ a valid Japanese word?

Japanese For Busy People volume II, revised third edition, on page 23 has To state or ask how much bigger, you use other words. ワンサイズ大きいのはありませんか。 Do you have one that is a size bigger? However,...
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567 views

Attempts to distinguish English “L” and “R” sounds using (extended) katakana

Katakana can represent many foreign sounds that do not exist in native Japanese words, either by using special characters such as ヴ or by using special katakana combinations such as フュ. They are ...
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2answers
231 views

Is there an opposite of gairaigo, covering both kango and wago?

Is there a term that means that something isn't gairaigo, words recently derived from (predominantly European) foreign languages? For example, I'd like to say that 踊り is a non-gairaigo word, which ...
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1answer
157 views

Meaning of ブラック in this sentence about work

A Japanese friend that works as a teacher told me he wants to quit his job and come to work in Europe. I asked why and he answered: EUに行くのが夢。 あと、日本社会の中でも教える仕事はスーパーブラック What is the meaning of ブラック ...
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3answers
528 views

Why Was Jaguar Borrowed as ジャガー?

It's listed as being borrowed from English, but even if it were the case that it had been borrowed from Portuguese, it's still pronounced /ɡwɑɹ/ and not /ɡɑɹ/. Japanese phonology is also perfectly ...
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1answer
178 views

Why does ボウル use a vowel kana rather than a long vowel mark?

It seems like both ボウル and ボール are valid Japanese words. The general impression I get is that using long vowel marks ("ー") are the norm for words written in katakana. In Why are long vowels ...
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3answers
1k views

Is マネージャー suitable when describing a manager working in a large business?

In Fluent Forever's Awesome Word List, マネージャー is used to describe a manager in a bank or similar organisation. However, doing a search with the basic version of google image search mainly got middle-...
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2answers
418 views

Meaning and translation of "プラスアルファ”

A friend asked me to translate into English a short text. The context is Tokyo being a global city where people gather and experience a variety of lifestyles and values (価値観), and where art, culture, ...
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1answer
189 views

Anime or Animation?

I was reading an article about loan words and came across anime(Anime アニメ ---- animation). I later talked with one of my Japanese-speaking friends, and he did not recognize the word anime, he ...
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2answers
233 views

Meaning of スイッチ in the following sentence

Context: in a boxing match, boxer A is fighting against the particularly tough boxer B. Even after having taken a lot of punches, boxer B is still standing. During a break, the trainer of boxer A says:...
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1answer
1k views

Is there a list of Japanese characters that don't have equivalent roots in Chinese? [duplicate]

According to this answer: Almost all Japanese characters (in my experience >99%) are exist in Chinese. Few are changed a little, like 宮 and 宫. As a Chinese, I have no difficulty in recognizing ...
12
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1answer
772 views

Why is 犬 used to refer to “dog” in Japanese?

In Chinese there are two words that refer to "dog" - 狗 and 犬. In most use cases 狗 is more frequently used, as it refers to a specific dog. In Japanese however, 犬 is used exclusively. Did 狗 exist in ...