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Jap-English

Introduction | International Dialects | Facts about Japanese and English | Word list of Jap-English

Introduction

Japan is a country relatively new openned to the world. For this reason, we found Japanese in an Asimilation* or Borrowing* stage in which all the words coming from that "New World" (the West) are being incorporated to the Japanese Vocabulary (It is through the KATAKANA Alphabet that the Japanese represent such words).

*Note: The Japanese is being through the same asimilating/borrowing process that English has been through since its origins, so the process will continue, as still happens with English

For this reason, you will likely find a vast number of foreign words adopted for the Japanese to meet the lack of such terms in the Japanese Language since they belong to items that did not exist in Japanese before this new "opening" to the Western Culture. For example: "sombrero", "patisiere", "computer", etc. The mayority of these foreign words have an English origin and they all suffer a "shortening" effect once incorporated to the Japanese Vocabulary. For example, for the word "computer" Japanese people refer to it as "pa-so con" which is nothing more than a shorter way to say "PERSOnal COMputer".

The "problem" is when Japanese people use English words and mix them under their own logical understanding to create a new word. For example: "first aid box" is what they call to a "fisrt aid kit". This might sound logical, but it is not real english, I mean, if a Japanese National goes abroad to a Enlgish-native-speaking country and s/he uses such expression, the listener might not have very clear what it is being said. Another example: "housing". This is a word that Japanese use to refer to "Real state". It is clear that a english-native speaker might not have a clue of what do you mean when using such word, even though Japanese people perfectly understand it. This is what we call "JAP-ENGLISH" , "JAPLISH" or "JANGLISH". It is not wrong, but it must be clear that such words ONLY HAVE MEANING in the country where they were created (Japan). The good news is that EVERY SINGLE LANGUAGE has their own "local" version of English words. So, we can find Spanglish, Arablish, etc.


International Dialects with Ties to English:




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Nevertheless, English is a "Crazy Language". Therefore, sometimes I find that Jap-English is more logical than English since the latter sometimes has more exceptions than rules! (lol). And if you don't believe me, take a look at this great article "Why English is a language hard to learn?"


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These are some FACTS about Japanese people and English Language:

  • Since the Japanese language is spoken at fast a pace, words tend to be shorten. For example, you might hear a Japanese national saying "Paso Con". It is hard to figure that they are refering to a "PERSOnal COMputer"! Another example: "Cu-ra" when they actually mean "Cooler"! ...Isn't Cute??!!

  • As happens with all languages, Japanese has its own hard-to-pronounce sounds. The sound "U" might be pronounced as "A". Therefore, "cut" and "cat" might sound quite the same when pronounced by a Japanese. Another example: "th" is pronounced like a "s", so you will hear "mouth" pronounced same as "mouse", or "happy baSday" instead of "happy birthday".

  • Many Japanese LOOOOOVE "British English" so they try to use a "British Accent" but this misleads them to pronounce ALL the individual sounds in every word, which is not precisely correct.

  • Japanese tend to add the suffix "-ING" to words so as to form NOUNS. For example (and I read this on a very important TV-news channel): "Making of love song". It is not clear whether they refer to "making" as a NOUN or as a "Progressive Tense".

  • They also tend to add the suffix "-NESS" to many words so as to form NOUNS: "perfectness" instead of "perfection" but this is not always correct

  • Since in Japanese Articles do not exist, they tend to omit them. Look at the same example above: "Making of love song". Do you notice that the Indefinite Article "A" has been omitted?

  • It is confussing for them to distinguish between Countable and Uncountable nouns: "Do you want a FEW water?". Honestly, I still find hard to distinguish between them too! JA,JA!

  • Prepositions is another weakness: "In Tuesday" they might say, or "My birthday is _ November 17" (Where is the preposition?)

  • Some of them are not aware of the differences between the American, Canadian, Australian and British English. I remember some co-workers believing that I had mispelled when I wrote "color" instead of "colour".

  • They might find hard to distinguish between adjectives or nouns ending in "-ENCE" and "-ENT"like the following: "The difference..." / "It is different".

  • Some big companies have spelling or grammatical mistakes in their Publicity (labels, promotions or commercials) and nobody seems to notice it. I found out that even some Japanese DVD movies translated into Enlgish (either dubbed or subtitled) have spelling mistakes (see the chart bellow)




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    Here you are a list of some of the words that I have found during my stay in Japan. Plese feel free to email me for any correction, expansion, question, etc.

    JapEnglish Words


    Japenglish Word
    Meaning in English
    talent
    celebrity
    kick board
    scooter
    campaign
    campaign/promotion
    rehabi
    rehabilitation
    norma
    quota
    refresh
    conditioned
    "She is a nice character"character
    "She has a nice personality/is a nice person"
    drama
    soup-opera
    image
    imagine
    gas stand
    gas station
    connect
    match
    campaign
    promotion/campaign(itself)
    used*
    second-hand
    quiz
    test/exam
    scary
    scared
    pierrot
    clown
    shopper (What a mistake!)
    shop attendant/sales clerk/shop keeper
    office worker
    desk clerk/office clerk
    mail carrier
    postman/mailman
    attendants
    attendees/attendance
    groups
    teams/pairs
    tramp cards
    playing cards
    mix
    shuffle
    mix (as an adjective!!)
    mongrel/mutt
    garbage station
    the dump
    touch!
    give me five
    fight
    do your best/go on/keep on trying
    waterworks
    faucet/sink
    "Did you cut your hair?"
    "Did you have your hair cut?"
    "He killed by himself"
    "He killed himself"
    hijack (as a noun!)
    hijacker
    "He lost himself"
    "He lost his temper" / "He lost his mind"
    mime/pantomime/
    charades
    "Which is taller" (when refering to persons!)
    "Who is taller?"
    "They took his boold"
    "He had some blood drawn"
    "They took my wisdom tooth out"
    "I had my wisdom tooth out"
    pants
    underwear/boxer shorts/undergarment
    underwear
    undergarment
    running machine
    treadmill
    seal
    sticker
    "What alphabet is this?"
    "What letter is this?"
    waterworks
    faucet/sink/turn on-off
    pan corner(the section in a super market)
    baked goods
    fresh food (the section in a super market)
    food court
    jetcoaster
    rollercoaster
    "What's your favorite sports/fruits?"
    "What's your favorite sport/fruit?"
    ankaide (???)
    survey
    mansion
    apartment building
    fruits salad/basket
    fruit salad/basket
    survey
    Mixer/mill drill (ESL material)
    "They are a sexless couple"
    abstinent
    cake shop
    bakery
    patisserie
    baker
    cashier (when refering to the place rather than to the employee)
    check out counter/cash register
    "tenant" (They post this add in an office or building which is available for rent/sale)
    for rent/for sale
    body language
    signals/expressions
    "I must wash my clothes"
    "I must do the laundry
    April Fool
    April Fool's Day
    toilet
    bathroom/restroom/washroom
    "Touch!"/"high touch!"
    "Give me five!"<
    stewardesss
    flight attendant
    sports (always use it in plural!)
    sport
    corner (they just love using this word for everything!!)
    section
    salada
    salad
    muffler
    scarf
    grand open
    grand opening
    pinch (as both noun and verb!)
    pin/tweezers/pliers
    soccerball
    football
    football
    soccer
    conversation circle
    conversation club
    emergency break
    handbrake/parking brake
    heartful
    thoughtful/friendly
    plastic paper
    wrapper
    wrapper
    cellophane/cellotape
    bbq
    kabob
    "How is the weather in Canada?"
    "What`s the weather like in Canada?"/"How is the weather today in Canada?"
    "What do you want to be in the future?"
    "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
    boxer trunks
    boxer shorts/boxers
    swimring
    swimbelt/life belt/life buoy/life preserver
    swiming shorts
    swiming suit/bathing suit
    ornament
    ball/bobble/pompom
    city train
    street car/trolley/trolleycar/tram
    "I saw a man coming to me."
    "I saw a man coming towards me".
    "Which is taller?" (when refering to persons!)
    "Who is taller?"
    handle
    steering wheel
    "Long time no see!"
    "It`s been ages since we met!"/"It`s been a long time since the last time I saw you /we met!"
    playact/mime/pantomime
    charades
    purse (when refering to men)
    wallet
    magic tape
    velcro
    drama (as a noun)
    dramatize/recreate
    camera man
    photographer/camera woman
    "What`s time?"
    "What's the time?"/"What time is it?"
    "Mind your head"
    "Watch your head"
    "Open page 10"
    "Open to page 10"/"Turn to page 10"
    Ilike orange/apple/strawberry/watermelons/pumpkins/banana
    Ilike oranges/apples/strawberries/watermelon/pumpkin/bananas
    concentration game
    memory game
    image (used as a verb!)
    imagine
    "to be poor..."
    "to be a poor/weak/bad at-in..."
    "Salvador`ll"
    "Salvador will"
    childrens
    children
    conbi
    combo/combination/pair/couple
    "My birhtday is November 17"
    "My birhtday is on November 17"
    "I study English each week"
    "I study English every week"
    perfectness
    perfection
    "It is difference"
    "It is different"
    "The place was silence"
    "The place was silent"
    translator
    interpreter
    close
    close to business



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    JapEnglish in Publicity
    (Companies names, services, commercials, labels, promotions, etc)

    "Miracle Magic" (This is the slogan of one famous magician in Japan!)
    "Miraculous Magic"
    "The Daily Modern" (From a famous card brand TV Commercial!!!!!!)
    "The Daily Modernity"
    laundry mart
    laundromat
    "Balance hair make..." / "Hair works Popeye"
    "Hairdressers'..." / "Beauty Parlor..."
    (TV Show)"Final judgeh
    "Final Judgment/trial"
    "Auto Shop drims"
    "Auto Shop Dreams"
    "housing"
    "real state"
    "water block"
    "water proof"
    "Auto Shop drims"
    "Auto Shop Dreams"
    Pixer
    Pixar
    Plane Bagel
    Plain Bagel
    "Refresh beauty body"
    "Refreshed and beautiful body"
    "Tokyo Light Rail Transport (on the livery)
    "Tokyo's streetcar"
    callot/selory/pea/grape fruets/grapefruits/grape (on a menu)
    carrot/celery/pee/grape fruit/grapes
    choco spray (in the wrapper)
    chocolate sprinkles
    alumin case (in the wrapper)
    aluminium-aluminum plates/cups
    "High-technical excellent taste and flavor"(in a bubble gum's wrapper!!)
    "High-technology excellent taste and flavor"
    guiter(in a music academy)
    guitar
    "Shift the future" (pronounced as /sheft/ rather than /shift/ in the commercial of and important cars brand)
    "...supli" (pronunced as /sapli/ instead of /suplai/ on a sport beverage's label)
    "...suply"
    "We love quintuples" (the titlle of a Soup-opera of 2004)
    "We love (our, the) quintuplets"
    "How can she sees us?" (from the subtitles in English of the Japanese DVD movie "Totoro". There are much more mistakes than these!)
    "How can shee see us?"
    a bathtab/"She's has loose bowels"/"You're a soldier soon"/"You have money, haven't you?"(from the subtitles in English of the Japanese DVD movie "A Tombstone for the fireflyes". There are much more mistakes than these!)
    a bathtub/"She has loose bowels"/"You will be a soldier soon"/"You have money, don't you?"
    "Soft vanilla yogurt strawberry" (On the label of a yogurt)
    "Mild vanilla-strawberry yogurt/yoghurt/yoghourt"
    "Netz make the style" (in the commercial of and important cars brand)
    "Netz makes the style"
    "Wonderful small" (in the commercial of and important cars brand)
    "Wonderfully smallness"/ "Wonderfully Small"
    "Naplesh(in a PIZZALA's Flyer!)
    "Napoles"
    "Week a minuteh in a TV News Segment
    This week IN A minuteh
    "Touch pen (in the new Nintendo DS"
    "Stylush
    Instrmentsh (in a bag from a guitar shop)"
    "Instruments"
    "Recommend dessertsh(in the website of an expensive Japanese Bakery)
    "Recommended desserts"
    "Making of love song" (on a TV show report)
    "The making of "Love Song"/"Making a love song"/"The making of a love song"



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