Japanese Language

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Profession undoubtedly defines your way of thinking. When I hand my first PhD I already realised that there is no turning back. I will always pay attention to the things that most people seem to miss, enjoy them and talk about them. The recent events proved to be no different. When the world was gasping at each Coronavirus news, I was enjoying the news about terminology. Recently, due to the sudden outburst of the Novel Coronavirus Japan has learned new terminology such as “cluster”, “overshoot” and “lockdown”. They all came from the English language epidemiologic background and were presented to the Japanese as クラスター, オーバーシュートandロックダウン, in other words as the so-called カタカナ語(Katakana language). A short time later, […]

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Jenglish = Japan made English In advance of the Tokyo Olympics, Japan started speaking English. It is undoubtedly a lovely thing to do, and foreigners greet the initiative with a storm of applause. And yet more and more foreigners online say the English posters or translations are hard to understand. The Internet has already coined this phenomenon as Jenglish. I found three reasons why Jenglish is so hard to decipher. Japanese phrase dressed in English words What many Japanese did was use their (Japanese) way of expressing in the English language. This gap gave birth to such memes as: English: “According to Japanese law, customers under the age of 20 […]

On February 15th JR announced a release of an IC card that targets foreigners in Japan. This commuter card is dedicated to those who use public transport for a short time period. It’s called “Welcome Suica”, and, apart from its designs that features Japanese sakura, it benefits its users by providing prepaid public transportation services free of deposit. Normally, you pay a 500 yen deposit to have an IC card issued. But in the case of Welcome Suica foreign guests are welcome to take it as a Japanese souvenir. It covers all the areas that are covered by SUICA and PASMO, including buses, trains and underground. The sales start in […]

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When you speak Japanese with your Japanese friends you can’t avoid this question: “What Japanese do you like most?” or as they say it 好きな日本語はなんですか? (Suki na nihongo wa nan desu ka?) I am always at a loss. What do they want me to say? There are different dialects in the Japanese language, there are different idioms, different characters, onomatopoeia, polite speech, not very polite speech – it all qualifies as Japanese. So how exactly should I answer this tricky question? I’ve asked my Japanese friends and here is what I found out: The answers may contain but are not limited by a word or phrase with a pleasant meaning […]