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Stop mixing Japanese and English

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Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby adam » Thu 02.15.2007 9:03 pm

Has anyone encountred this who lives in Japan? A foreigner has been living their for quite a while (maybe from 1 year +), and has no interest in learning the language (Though has plenty of reasons to give you why it's not lack of interest but lack of time)

However these people love to mix in a japanese word into their english conversation for no reason. I'm not talking about the words in English that are already there such as karate, sumo, tsunami, etc.

Let me give two examples.

I overheard at a cafe, "Ahhh man, this tastes like 「どく」 "
"Man why are the [りんご] so expensive here?" "Well the Japanese they really like their [フルツ] (And yes he actually gave the japanese pronunciation for the word!)

I just dont understand this trend. I understand people struggle with the language a lot, and it's difficult at the beginning to put sentences together, but c'mon don't just throw in one Japnaese word into your conversation, to vindicate the fact that you have lived in Japan for years and can't speak any Japanese.

Maybe this observation is just me. This post souunds bitter, but it's not ;)
Last edited by adam on Thu 02.15.2007 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby prep_girl_Nessa » Thu 02.15.2007 10:39 pm

I kinda know what you mean. I have a friend who doesn't speak any Japanese at all except for like "Kawaii" and "Baka" and things she heard from me, but she'll go around saying the only words she knows in English sentences.

It's really annoying, expecially when she does it in front of the Japanese students at my school who always have to tell her her Japanese is good, even though it's obviously annoying them >.<
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 02.15.2007 10:43 pm

I did this when I was there, but the mixing of Japanese words was not random. I tended to use Japanese words in English speech in the following situations:

1. The words were related to my job and I was speaking to other foreigners involved in that job (i.e. 市役所 rather than "city hall", 小学校 rather than "elementary school")

2. The word was being used to refer to something specifically Japanese -- i.e. if I used フルーツ it would refer to something specific about fruit in Japan, and probably used in a deprecating manner (i.e. if I referred to myself as a 外人 it was always in the context of either self-deprecation, or talking about something related to racism in Japan)

Maybe that's it. But this seemed to be the trend of others I talked with as well -- most of them competent enough at Japanese to speak completely in Japanese if they wanted to.
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby erik » Thu 02.15.2007 11:23 pm

I've been in Japan for four years and I do hear it often from other foreigners. I myself don't do it, but I think there are a few reasons for doing it, whether or not they are good reasons is another matter.

Sometimes foreigners want to try out their new vocabulary before they potentially embarrass themselves in front of a native speaker. Sometimes it's just words that get used so much that it's just second nature to use them (like 外人 in the example above). Sometime there's just no equivalent way to say it in English - 元気 is a perfect example of this. But more often than not they are just eager fresh-off-the-boat foreigners and the trend tends to wear off after a year or so.
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby tanuki » Thu 02.15.2007 11:46 pm

If the people you are talking about are living in Japan, I think it's pretty much normal that they do that. They are used to seeing Japanese most of the time, hearing Japanese (if not listening) and so on, so it's natural that it "sticks".

It happened to me (and most [probably all] of my classmates) in Germany. We would talk in Spanish and throw in some German words. It felt natural, no one was trying to "vindicate" anything. :)
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby Kagemaru » Fri 02.16.2007 7:13 am

Drives me mad.

"How are you?"

"I'm really 元気"

Or worse, the one who speak English like this ne
finishing all the English sentences like this deshou
this one annoys me the most dayo

erik wrote:
I've been in Japan for four years and I do hear it often from other foreigners.


In my case, from native or semi native English speaking foreigners only.


erik wrote:Sometimes foreigners want to try out their new vocabulary before they potentially embarrass themselves in front of a native speaker.


Is that possible?


erik wrote:Sometimes it's just words that get used so much that it's just second nature to use them (like 外人 in the example above). Sometime there's just no equivalent way to say it in English - 元気 is a perect example of this


If I heard words like なんとなく、心機一転 and the like worked into English sentences I would be inclined to believe that.

adam wrote:
I understand people struggle with the language a lot, and it's difficult at the beginning to put sentences together, but c'mon don't just throw in one Japnaese word into your conversation, to vindicate the fact that you have lived in Japan for years and can't speak any Japanese.


I think you hit that right on the head.

adam wrote:Maybe this observation is just me. This post souunds bitter, but it's not ;)


Not at all, 100% behind you on this.

In fact, this may sound narrow minded, but the further away I remove myself from native English speaking foreign circles here, the less I get frustrated and see this nonsense, as this for me holds ramifications in many other facets.
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby richvh » Fri 02.16.2007 8:17 am

This is as futile as complaining about katakana English polluting the purity of the Yamatokotoba (and yes, there are people who do that, as well.) English has been following other languages down back allies and shaking them down for loose words since at least the time of William the Bastard's little adventure at Hastings, and there's no reason for it to stop at the shores of Japan. Or do you propose abandoning the following words?
Samurai
Shogun
Tsunami
Honcho
Dojo
Katana
To name but a few.
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RE: Mixing of 2 languages

Postby bikki » Fri 02.16.2007 9:18 am

We has the same experiences here in Hong Kong.
Hongkongers tend to mix Cantonese with some English words.
As we use English in our work, we tends to use the English words instead of using the Chinese words.
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 02.16.2007 10:41 am

Hey, using Japanese words in English is a good way to remember those words as you build your vocabulary..

As a missionary, when speaking to my English speaking companions, we would use our gospel vocabulary with each other to reinforce our remembering of it.

rather than call each other companion it doryo or rather than use elder we used choro and rather than missionary it was senkyoushi, and rather than mission it was dendoubu etc etc..

some call that Japanglish, others call it senkyoushigo.. it all works out in the end.
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby keatonatron » Fri 02.16.2007 12:17 pm

I've noticed this before, and I think I made a post just like Adam's a long time ago.

The episode that annoyed me the most was when I was walking through the train station in Fukuoka. I saw 3 wide-eyed American frat boys, and when I walked by one of them pointed at me and exclaimed "Hey, there's a gaijin!" :@

I know what you mean though, they're trying to look like they know more than they do. Once I heard someone come up with a new mangling: "Gackt was singing so kawaiily" :|
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby Ongakuka » Fri 02.16.2007 12:35 pm

Samurai
Shogun
Tsunami
Honcho
Dojo
Katana


Are you studying Japanese history Richvh? Or have you been playing Shogun Total War: Warlord edition between writing chapters of ゆきの物語 ;)
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 02.16.2007 12:38 pm

keatonatron wrote:
I've noticed this before, and I think I made a post just like Adam's a long time ago.

The episode that annoyed me the most was when I was walking through the train station in Fukuoka. I saw 3 wide-eyed American frat boys, and when I walked by one of them pointed at me and exclaimed "Hey, there's a gaijin!" :@

I know what you mean though, they're trying to look like they know more than they do. Once I heard someone come up with a new mangling: "Gackt was singing so kawaiily" :|


Conjugating English with Japanese endings and Japanese with English endings is definately weird. Although I must admit I am guilty of it.. However, a gaijin calling another gaijin a Gaijin, is just plain odd. they might as well just be pointing at each other .. lol
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby Tajoumaru » Fri 02.16.2007 4:12 pm

Though I live in the States I watch a lot of Japanese TV, and the amount of shakuyougo I hear on some shows borders on the absurd. That is, native Japanese TV personalities who, to appear trendy, funny, or sophisticated, fill their sentences with an inordinate amount of English (and other European-language) terms. It doesn't really bother me; this is just an example of the above-mentioned trend working the other way.
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 02.16.2007 4:20 pm

I find it's even funnier when the English word they choose is just so wrong. Like a certain personality the other day wanted to say , this rocks.. but ended up saying this stones.. lol, it killed me
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RE: Stop mixing Japanese and English

Postby ess_jay_arr » Fri 02.16.2007 5:26 pm

keatonatron wrote:
The episode that annoyed me the most was when I was walking through the train station in Fukuoka. I saw 3 wide-eyed American frat boys, and when I walked by one of them pointed at me and exclaimed "Hey, there's a gaijin!" :@

Okay, that is pretty stupid that he felt the need to exclaim that, but I can see why he used 'gaijin' instead of 'foreigner'. When I think of the word 'gaijin'(or 'gaikokujin'), rather than a direct translation of 'foreigner', I think of it meaning 'a non-Japanese person in Japan' or thereabouts.

Here in England, we're pretty multi-ethnic, and I've never once looked at someone and thought 'Hey, a foreigner!' but since Japan has such a homogenous population, when I was there and I saw other foreigners, I did sometimes think 'Hey, another gaijin.' just 'cos the term has more relevance in that context.

As for referring to 'fruits' as 'furuutsu' and stuff like that, I did that a little bit just because I find katakana pronunciation really funny. :P I still remember when I figured out that what I thought were 'miracle donuts' were actually 'milk donuts'. :D
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