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Language Purism in Japan

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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby Sairana » Sat 05.31.2008 7:01 am

vinniram wrote:Seriously, GET OVER YOURSELF (america could take the same advice 8))


See, that's precisely what I refer to. You are constantly digging at America for whatever reasons you have in your head. I think we've all been there. Sooner or later you'll come to realize that it's no use putting foreign cultures on a pedestal as if they're some sort of Utopian society.
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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby AJBryant » Sat 05.31.2008 10:42 am

vinniram wrote:Seriously, GET OVER YOURSELF (america could take the same advice 8)) am I being a hypocrit now?


Smiley face or not, we have a rule in place about politics. Normally, I'd let it slide, but you're getting on my nerves.

Consider this a warning to rein things back in a bit.

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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby vinniram » Sat 05.31.2008 10:04 pm

I wouldn't have said that if it weren't for my original comments being taken WAY out of proportion by certain users. Hopefully the personal attacks have stopped, as what I said was in direct response to comments of a certain user. If you're thinking I'm some sort of person who thinks "goddamn those americans they're so evil" and "japan is the perfect utopian society" you're wrong. Every single country, every single race, every single group has good people and bad people, good things and bad things. there is good and bad in america and japan. so please, I'm sick of people deliberatly twisting my words. my comments, however unjustified, came out of frustration. sorry about it, and I hope that other users also tone things down a bit. fair enough everyone?
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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby JaySee » Sat 05.31.2008 10:18 pm

After reading Wakkanai's comments - I'm assuming this is about him - I must say that I'm having a hard time finding any personal attacks towards you in there (unless you're identifying your arguments with yourself as a person). So I'm not really sure what you're on about, but as Sairana said, when you bring up controversial issues like colonialism and then go on to make rash statements about these, you're basically asking for a heated discussion: if you can't take a few blows then you shouldn't bring these topics up in such a manner.
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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby coco » Sat 05.31.2008 10:30 pm

vinniram wrote:3) In the aformentioned thesis I read recently (concerned with gairaigo usage in Japan), public opinion polls have shown up to 35.5% of the population encounters Gairaigo they can't understand, and 37% believe that Gairaigo is becoming a problem. This is up from about 5% in the 1980s. 37% may not sound like much, but given that Japan's population is 130 million people, 37% equates to approximately 49 000 000 people.

Thanks for concern about social divides in Japan.
I assume the data of the thesis you mentioned was taken from 国語に関する世論調査結果 investigated in 2002.

If so, the question was
日常生活の中で,外来語や外国語などのカタカナ語を交えて話したり書いたりすることについて,好ましいと感じるか,好ましくないと感じるか.

Do you feel it's favorable to use( mix) foreign language, loaned-language and Katakana-words when you write or speak Japanese in your daily life? --- ( Sorry, my English is very poor.)

N=2,200 ( men and women, older than 15 years old)
Answer is:
・Favorable, if anything. 16.2% (13.3%)
・Not favorable, if anything. 36.6% (35.5%)
・Feel nothing. 45.1% (48.8%)
The percentages in( ) is the result of 1999's . 
The point is the percentage of "Favorable". It is larger than 1999's.  
I don't think this can be:
35.5% of the population encounters Gairaigo they can't understand, and 37% believe that Gairaigo is becoming a problem.


I think more than 70% of Japanese people have encountered foreign (loaned) language they couldn't understand, at least once or twice. And most of them are unnecessary words.
If the words are necessary, people learn and remember.
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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby vinniram » Sat 05.31.2008 11:30 pm

you're right - most of them are unnecessary and so people just don't learn them, but if they're necessary they do. so I'm guessing there are thousands of Gairago that minority groups introduce, but which die pretty quickly, right? Interesting stuff.
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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby coco » Sun 06.01.2008 1:30 pm

vinniram wrote:so I'm guessing there are thousands of Gairago that minority groups introduce, but which die pretty quickly, right? Interesting stuff.

Yes, I think so.
Do you know "DINKY"(dual income, no kids yet)?
That word was introduced as DINKS(ディンクス), but I don't think it is still a popular word.

I'd like to tell you something. Please pardon my poor English.

The poll I linked describes the reasons of why katakana-words are non-favorable.
(N=806,multiple answers allowed)
・ 日本語の本来の良さが失われるから  53.5%(49.9%)
- Because the original beauty of Japanese language is spoiled by them. 
・カタカナ語は分かりにくいから 49.4%(64.2%)
- Because they are not easy to understand. 
The percentage of "elusive" have decreased compared to 1999's.

In 2006, The National Institute for Japanese Language offered the paraphrase plan regarding 176 loaned-words as having result of 2002's poll. ( I introduced the plan in this forum before.)
Personally, I don't think this suggestion have been success.
The reason is; Not only commercial companies but also government like using Katakana-words.

For example, ワーキングプア(working poor) is getting to be a common-word in these days.
Although the definition of ワーキングプア has not been completely fixed yet in official (in Japan), it is commonly used as addressing lowest-paid workers ( under 2 million yen a year). Politicians and economists tend to use it when they talk about income divide, because ワーキングプア is that elusive.

In the same way, politicians (ruling party legislators) once tried to settle the draft law called ホワイトカラーエグゼンプション(white collar exemption) measure. However, opposition legislators insisted that it should be paraphrased as "intensified labor to workers" measure in Japanese. As a result, the draft was withdrawn.

We have to admit that katakana-words have favorable points.

You might want to know the fact that 九鬼周造 wrote an essay concerning the Gairai-go flood in 1936.( before Pearl Harbor)
He listed common Gairai-go in his essay, were:
ニュース、センセーション、サーヴィス、サボタージュ、カムフラージュ、インテリ、サラリーマン、ルンペン、ビルディング、デパート、アパート、ヒュッテ、スポーツ、ハイキング、ピクニック、ギャング、アナウンサー、メンバー、マスター、ファン、シーズン、チャンス、ステートメント、メッセージ、リード、マッチ、スローガンetc..
He worried about this like you. But it wasn't related with colonial empires.

As for me, I can't understand IT terms, like アプリケーション, ソフトウエア, プログラム. What is the difference?  I won't understand even if someone explain it to me in Japanese.
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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby vinniram » Mon 06.02.2008 7:00 am

The truth is, in this whole issue of Gairaigo, I'm worried. I went onto Nihongo wikipedia just before, and the first thing that pops up is "mein peeji". I'd say at a healthy estimate, that about 70% of the page is gairaigo. 60-70% for sure. I find that scary. I find it scary that the Japanese language seems to be unable to produce words for such a volume of concepts and ideas, so as to force 60-70% of the wikipedia main page to be gairaigo. SURELY there exist words in Japanese for "main" and "page"?

I'm genuinely worried about the language and I can't help it. It's just that, when seeing the volume of gairaigo, and how many of the supposed "lexicon gaps" it is filling are words which already exist in japanese, I can't help but have an uneasy feeling about it all. It can't be healthy for a language to take phrases such as "rodu puraishingu" and phonetically transliterate. Why not use the japanese for "road" and the japanese for "pricing"? It just doesn't make sense to me. Same with "puburiku inborubumento" - why not the japanese for "public" and the japanese for "involvement"?

Anyway, are there efforts being made in Japan to at least slow down the influx of gairaigo into Japanese lexicon? I read a Japan Times article detailing how the National Institute for Japanese Language produced a list of 200-something words (less I think) of gairaigo words and japanese substitutes which could be used. But this isn't really going to make a difference in the long run. I just hope that something is done to turn the tide back at least partially, because to have 60-70% of the japanese wikipedia page in gairaigo really worried me :(
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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 06.02.2008 9:03 am

vinniram wrote:The truth is, in this whole issue of Gairaigo, I'm worried. I went onto Nihongo wikipedia just before, and the first thing that pops up is "mein peeji". I'd say at a healthy estimate, that about 70% of the page is gairaigo. 60-70% for sure.


Ridiculous. Most of the katakana words on the main page are foreign names (and place names) which will always be in katakana. There are also some plant names which are Japanese, but written in katakana by convention. If you look on the right side at the "category" section, most of the categories are sino-Japanese words, only a few are katakana (and some of those are names). Today's featured article is Buxtehude, so of course there are going to be a lot of foreign names in that article. I would say maybe 10% or less of the entire page is Western gairaigo, if you don't count place/people names.

Unless you're counting the sino-Japanese words as gairaigo, I guess, then it would probably be more like 70-80%.

I find that scary. I find it scary that the Japanese language seems to be unable to produce words for such a volume of concepts and ideas, so as to force 60-70% of the wikipedia main page to be gairaigo. SURELY there exist words in Japanese for "main" and "page"?


Both メーン and ページ existed in Japanese before Wikipedia or the Internet, so it makes sense to stick them together to represent "main page". That's what people expect to see anyway.

I'm genuinely worried about the language


Languages do this all the time. What you're fretting about already happened with the influx of Chinese, and happened in English with the influx of French. There's really nothing you can do to stop it, and there's no need to worry about it.

Anyway, are there efforts being made in Japan to at least slow down the influx of gairaigo into Japanese lexicon?


No.

I went and read the featured article on Buxtehude; there's hardly any gairaigo in that article (not counting place names, personal names, or terms very specific to Western culture or music like "cantata").
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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby AJBryant » Mon 06.02.2008 9:08 am

If you are genuinely THAT worried about Japanese and gairaigo, go see a therapist immediately and explain the problem. If you are just being hyperbolic with your terminology, stop it and lighten the hell up and move on.

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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby richvh » Mon 06.02.2008 9:30 am

I find that scary. I find it scary that the Japanese language seems to be unable to produce words for such a volume of concepts and ideas, so as to force 60-70% of the wikipedia main page to be gairaigo. SURELY there exist words in Japanese for "main" and "page"?


Try this some time - get out a good, big English dictionary - a college or unabridged Websters, for example - that has word derivations, and then go through your post and see just what percentage of words you used do not derive from Anglo-Saxon words. For that matter, look at your own use of "Nihongo" and "gairaigo" - you're doing the same thing you're complaining about the Japanese doing.
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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby vinniram » Tue 06.03.2008 3:45 am

Hmmm, you make a good point. I'm sure this 'trend' will die out at some stage anyway. Things always change, and the gairaigo influx is no exception.
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Re: Language Purism in Japan

Postby monkeykoder » Tue 06.03.2008 2:12 pm

I don't know about that look at the gairaigo influx into English.
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