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Wasei-eigo ( 和製英語 , meaning "Japanese-made English" or "English words coined in Japan") are Japanese-language expressions based on English words, or parts of word combinations, that do not exist in standard English or whose meanings differ from the words from which they were derived. Linguistics classifies them as pseudo-loanwords or pseudo-anglicisms.
Wasei-eigo words, compound words and portmanteaus are constructed by Japanese speakers on the basis of loanwords derived from English and embedded into the Japanese lexicon with refashioned, novel meanings diverging significantly from the originals. 124 An example is handorukīpā (ハンドルキーパー, "handle-keeper"), derived from "handle" with the meaning of "steering wheel", with the full phrase meaning designated driver. Some wasei-eigo terms are not recognizable as English words in English-speaking countries; one example is sukinshippu (スキンシップ, "skinship"), which refers to physical contact between close friends or loved ones and appears to be a portmanteau of skin and kinship. :156–157 In other cases, a word may simply have gained a slightly different meaning; for instance, kanningu (カンニング) does not mean "cunning", but "cheating" (on a test). Some wasei-eigo are subsequently borrowed from Japanese into other languages, including English itself.:
Wasei-eigo is often confused with gairaigo , which refers simply to loanwords or "words from abroad". Some of the main contributors to this confusion are the phonological and morphological transformations that they undergo to suit Japanese phonology and syllabary.[ citation needed ] These transformations often result in truncated (or "backclipped") words and words with extra vowels inserted to accommodate the Japanese mora syllabic structure. :70Wasei-eigo, on the other hand, is the re-working of and experimentation with these words that result in an entirely novel meaning as compared to the original intended meaning. :123–139
Wasei-eigo is distinct from Engrish , the misuse or corruption of the English language by native Japanese speakers, as it consists of words used in Japanese conversation, not an attempt at speaking English. (和製漢語, Japanese-created kango (Chinese compounds)), which are Japanese pseudo-Sinicisms (Japanese words created from Chinese roots) and are also extremely common.These include acronyms and initialisms particular to Japan (see list of Japanese Latin alphabetic abbreviations). Wasei-eigo can be compared to wasei-kango
There was a large influx of English loanwords introduced to Japan during the Meiji period, which was an important factor in Japan's modernization. [ citation needed ]Because they were so quickly accepted into Japanese society there was not a thorough understanding of the actual meaning of the word, leading to misinterpretations and deviations from their original meaning.
Since English loanwords are adopted into Japan intentionally (as opposed to diffusing "naturally" through language contact, etc.), the meaning often deviates from the original. When these loanwords become so deeply embedded in the Japanese lexicon, it leads to experimentation and re-fashioning of the words' meaning, thus resulting in wasei-eigo. 127:
Many scholars agree that the main proponent behind these wasei-eigo terms is the media, in order to create interest and novelty in their advertising and products. 133 The use of English words is also an attempt by advertisers to portray a modern, cosmopolitan image – one that is often associated with Western culture. :48:
Though there is disagreement about the assumption that the majority of wasei-eigo are created by advertisers, the audience that predominantly uses wasei-eigo is youth and women. 123–139 Many Japanese consider English loanword usage to be more casual and as being used mainly among peers of the same status. :49 In addition, many wasei-eigo words are used to camouflage risque terms and ideas, such as the famous rabbuho (love hotel), or the many massaji (massage) and sabisu (service) associated with taboo topics. Finally, wasei-eigo may be used to express a poetic and emphatic need of the speaker, resulting in a new term.:
English loanwords are usually written in katakana , making it apparent that they are words non-native to Japan. 73 This constant reminder that these are loanwords, and not natively Japanese, links the meanings of the words with the idea of "foreignness". Because of this, wasei-eigo (and some English loanwords) is often used as a method for speaking about taboo and controversial topics in a safe and neutral way. :52 Further, being non-native Japanese words and marked as foreign in their writing, they can be associated with concepts and subjects that are non-normal, or uncommon in Japan. :57:
Wasei-eigo has resulted in some inadvertent unfortunate results, such as the adoption in 2013 by Fukushima Industries of Fukuppy as the name of their corporate mascot.
In linguistics, a false friend is either of a pair of words in different languages that look or sound similar, but differ significantly in meaning. An example is the English embarrassed and the Spanish embarazada, the word parents and the Portuguese parentes and Italian parenti, or the word bribe, which means 'suborn' in English, but crumb in French.
Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic language family, and its ultimate derivation and relation to other languages is unclear. Japonic languages have been grouped with other language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, Korean, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance. It is also recognised minority language of Angaur, a state of Palau and Singapore.
Katakana is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji and in some cases the Latin script. The word katakana means "fragmentary kana", as the katakana characters are derived from components or fragments of more complex kanji. Katakana and hiragana are both kana systems. With one or two minor exceptions, each syllable in the Japanese language is represented by one character or kana, in each system. Each kana represents either a vowel such as "a" ; a consonant followed by a vowel such as "ka" ; or "n", a nasal sonorant which, depending on the context, sounds either like English m, n or ng or like the nasal vowels of Portuguese or Galician.
Kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system. They are used alongside the Japanese syllabic scripts hiragana and katakana. The Japanese term kanji for the Chinese characters literally means "Han characters". It is written with the same characters as in Traditional Chinese to refer to the character writing system, hanzi (漢字). Although some Kanji will have similar meaning and pronunciation as Chinese, some can have very different meanings and pronunciations as well e.g. 誠, meaning 'honest' in both Chinese and Japanese, is pronounced makoto or sei in Japanese, but pronounced chéng in Chinese (Standard).
Engrish is a slang term for the misuse or corruption of the English language by native speakers of Japanese, Korean and other Asian languages. The term itself relates to Japanese speakers' tendency to inadvertently substitute the English phonemes "R" and "L" for one another, because unlike English, the Japanese language has only one liquid consonant. The same situation exists with Korean.
A pseudo-anglicism is a word in another language that is formed from English elements and may appear to be English, but that does not exist as an English word with the same meaning.
Konglish, more formally- Korean-style English is a style of English used by Korean speakers.
Sino-Japanese vocabulary or kango refers to that portion of the Japanese vocabulary that originated in Chinese or has been created from elements borrowed from Chinese. Some grammatical structures and sentence patterns can also be identified as Sino-Japanese. Sino-Japanese vocabulary is referred to in Japanese as kango (漢語), meaning 'Chinese words'. Kango is one of three broad categories into which the Japanese vocabulary is divided. The others are native Japanese vocabulary and borrowings from other, mainly Western languages (gairaigo). It is estimated that approximately 60% of the words contained in a modern Japanese dictionary are kango, but they comprise only about 18% of words used in speech.
Rendaku is a phenomenon in Japanese morphophonology that governs the voicing of the initial consonant of a non-initial portion of a compound or prefixed word. In modern Japanese, rendaku is common but at times unpredictable, with certain words unaffected by it.
Gairaigo is Japanese for "loan word", and indicates a transcription into Japanese. In particular, the word usually refers to a Japanese word of foreign origin that was not borrowed in ancient times from Old or Middle Chinese, but in modern times, primarily from English, Portuguese, Dutch, and modern Chinese dialects, such as Standard Chinese and Cantonese. These are primarily written in the katakana phonetic script, with a few older terms written in Chinese characters (kanji); the latter are known as ateji.
The modern Japanese writing system uses a combination of logographic kanji, which are adopted Chinese characters, and syllabic kana. Kana itself consists of a pair of syllabaries: hiragana, used primarily for native or naturalised Japanese words and grammatical elements; and katakana, used primarily for foreign words and names, loanwords, onomatopoeia, scientific names, and sometimes for emphasis. Almost all written Japanese sentences contain a mixture of kanji and kana. Because of this mixture of scripts, in addition to a large inventory of kanji characters, the Japanese writing system is considered to be one of the most complicated in current use.
In modern Japanese, ateji principally refers to kanji used to phonetically represent native or borrowed words with less regard to the underlying meaning of the characters. This is similar to man'yōgana in Old Japanese. Conversely, ateji also refers to kanji used semantically without regard to the readings.
Many Japanese words of Portuguese origin entered the Japanese language when Portuguese Jesuit priests introduced Christian ideas, Western science, technology and new products to the Japanese during the Muromachi period.
Japanese dictionaries have a history that began over 1300 years ago when Japanese Buddhist priests, who wanted to understand Chinese sutras, adapted Chinese character dictionaries. Present-day Japanese lexicographers are exploring computerized editing and electronic dictionaries. According to Nakao Keisuke (中尾啓介):
It has often been said that dictionary publishing in Japan is active and prosperous, that Japanese people are well provided for with reference tools, and that lexicography here, in practice as well as in research, has produced a number of valuable reference books together with voluminous academic studies. (1998:35)
Reborrowing is the process where a word travels from one language to another and then back to the originating language in a different form or with a different meaning. This path is indicated by A→B→A, where A is the originating language, and can take many forms. A reborrowed word is sometimes called a Rückwanderer.
Japanese words of Dutch origin started to develop when the Dutch East India Company initiated trading in Japan from the factory of Hirado in 1609. In 1640, the Dutch were transferred to Dejima, and from then on until 1854 remained the only Westerners allowed access to Japan, during Japan's sakoku seclusion period.
Wasei-kango are those words in the Japanese language composed of Chinese morphemes but invented in Japan rather than borrowed from China. Such terms are generally written using kanji and read according to the on'yomi pronunciations of the characters. While many words belong to the shared Sino-Japanese vocabulary, some kango do not exist in Chinese while others have a substantially different meaning from Chinese; however some words have been borrowed back to Chinese.
Wago are native Japanese words, meaning those words in Japanese that have been inherited from Old Japanese, rather than being borrowed at some stage. Together with kango (漢語) and gairaigo (外来語), they form one of the three main sources of Japanese words. They are also known as yamato kotoba.
In contemporary Japanese writing, foreign-language loanwords and foreign names are normally written in the katakana script, which is one component of the Japanese writing system. As far as possible, sounds in the source language are matched to the nearest sounds in the Japanese language, and the result is transcribed using standard katakana characters, each of which represents one syllable. For example, America is written アメリカ (A-me-ri-ka). To accommodate various foreign-language sounds not present in Japanese, a system of extended katakana has also developed to augment standard katakana.
|For a list of words relating to Wasei-eigo, see the Wasei eigo category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|