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Languages. English to Japanese

 The English language has achieved status as the world's lingua franca through globalization. It is highly popular all over the world nowadays. English is the language of

the Internet, movies, music, science, and sports. The aim of this paper is to discuss the English language in Japanese culture and to present the phenomenon which is called Japlish. First, the information about the history of English in Japan, the attitude of Japanese, and the importance of this language in the country will be provided. Then the Japlish phenomenon and its characteristics will be discussed. The information and the examples were taken from the Oxford guide to world English by Thomas Burns McArthur and internet sources.                                                                                                                                 
English in Japanese culture
   Japan is an island country in East Asia. Since at least the7th century, the Japanese have
referred to their country as Nippon or Nihon, variant pronunciations of two written characters derived from Chinese and separately meaning sun and origin, whence the epithet in English ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ (McArthur 2003:363).
    As the centuries went by, the Japanese incorporated into their language many words and expressions imported from abroad. The foreign words came initially from China, via Korea, then massively from the Occident after the opening of Japan to the western influences from the Meiji era (1868-1912). Japanese borrowed extensively from Chinese,

notably in the 6th/9th centuries, and from various Western languages from the 16th century
onward, including Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French, German, and both British and American English. The earliest Europeans to make contact were Portuguese merchants and Spanish Jesuits, followed by Dutch and then English traders in the 17th century  (McArthur 2003:364). The adoption of Chinese words by the Japanese corresponds to Japan's cultural development period whereas the adoption of the words of Western origin corresponds to one recent period of the economic, political, and technological progress of the Nipponese nation. Following the total collapse of the Empire of the Rising Sun in 1945, the Japanese archipelago passed under American influence; an influence of which it did not succeed yet to liberate itself. Thus, nowadays, the vocabulary imported in Japan from abroad is in fact mainly of American origin.

  However, the Japanese have quite an original way to absorb American culture. Linguistic specificities of their language, the use of a specific syllabary for the words of foreign origin, and the national will to distinguish what is properly Japanese of what is not, largely soften the subversive effect of the vocabulary of foreign origin's introduction. This is the reason why there is a "Japlish" (neologism designating an English adapted to the Nipponese culture). According to Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language, Japlish means any mixture of Japanese and English. It is also sometimes called Engrish (Japanese have no such sound l and replace it with r). In fact, Japlish or Engrish is a term forged by some American people to stigmatize a bad use of the American language by the Japanese. A significant aspect of Japlish is the use of thousands of adapted English words in daily speech and writing.

   According to McArthur, Present-day Japanese vocabulary contains a majority of native words (wago), a  significant minority of words of classical Chinese origin (kango), and a
shifting and apparently ever-increasing range of foreign adoptions, mainly European and
in recent years predominantly English (gairago, ‘outside come language’). Japanese writing has four scripts that can be regarded as distinct or as subsystems within a single
overall writing complex. They are:

The most venerable, which uses full Chinese characters, each with a Chinese and a Japanese value or reading, as with Nihon.
2.The kana: hiragana and katakana

Two native syllabic scripts derived from kanji, and known as the kana, the older of which is hiragana and the younger katakana. Hiragana is used for writing grammatical elements attached to kanji and for some native words. Katakana, which is more angular and simpler, is mainly used for onomatopoeic words, transcriptions of foreign words and names, and foreign adoptions.

A system of Roman letters, known as romaji, with at least five uses: for foreign words in their unmediated forms; for loans written as initials (such as NATO and UNESCO); for Japanese words and names that are likely to be read by non-Japanese (such as a company or product name); as a classifying device in some libraries; and for seating in some theatres and transport.
In addition, Hebon is the standard system for Romanizing Japanese words, named for the US physician and missionary J.C. Hepburn, who used it in the 1880s in his Japanese-English dictionary. It represents letters according to English orthography. Japanese English-language company names such as National, Sharp, Citizen, Brother are written in romaji and/or katakana. Japanese-language company names are sometimes written in romaji, and roman abbreviations of names from either language are common, as with JAL (Japanese Air Lines) and NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai). Western-style shops, cafes, apartment blocks, and office buildings often have foreign names shown in romaji, such as the Sunshine City commercial building in Tokyo. There are a lot of dictionaries of new compound words and recently adopted loans in Japan. There are many dictionaries of loanwords, with head-words in katakana scriptand explanations in Japanese, such as the Zukai Gairaigo Jiten (‘Illustrated Loanword Dictionary’) (McArthur 2003:365). This shows that borrowing words from other languages, especially English is a very common phenomenon in Japan nowadays.
  However, the ties between Japanese English are extensive, close, useful – and often intensely frustrating. Hard reality shows itself in the position of Japan in the international league table for scoring in the TOEFL/Toefl (‘Test of English as a Foreign Language’), a global examination administered by a US company, the Educational Testing Service. In 1995, the top-scoring nation was the Netherlands, average score 607 out of possible 677, while mainland China averaged 549. The average for Japanese candidates was 490: the 152nd position out of 171 entrant locations that year (McArthur 2003:366).
  English has long had a key role in Japan, especially through the reading and translation of Western works. There were calls by some radicals after the Meiji Restoration for English to be adopted as the national language, in order to promote Japan’s development. These were unsuccessful, but remarkable in themselves. There have also been three waves of eagerness to learn English in more recent Japanese history: after the Second World war, at the time of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and in recent years in relation to the information-technology revolution and globalization. In January 2000, the Commission on Japan’s Goals in the 21st Century, reporting to the then prime minister Keizo Obuchi, suggested that, over time, English might become Japan’s second official language, a quasi-recommendation that sparked off heated debate. Three issues appear to be crucial in such recent discussions: an awareness of the inescapable importance of English to Japan; a concern that Tokyo may be less attractive as an Asian financial center than, say, Singapore or Hong Kong, because English is not a working language there; and a wish not to lose face, especially in East Asia, as for example in the TOEFL test scores (McArthur 366). It is very important for Japanese to know English nowadays, especially for business people (having in mind Japanese technologies and a big number of business partners in the US; Japan is a world leader in technology, machinery, and robotics; it is also the world's fourth-largest exporter) and academics who have to communicate directly with non-Japanese. It encourages the Japanese to improve their English.
Introducing Japlish
Although not all Japanese use or need English as such, they use many of its words on an everyday basis in the form of gairaigo and commercial names. When English itself is used there is a kind of carry-over effect from gairaigo, in that features of Japanese pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and social style are likely to occur. They include:
1.The pronunciation of l and r
There is difficulty in distinguishing between and pronouncing l and r, the nearest Japanese sound being between the two, so that really may sound like ‘rearry’ and learn like ‘ren’.
2. Acknowledgment yes
Yes is commonly used, as its Japanese equivalent hai, to confirm that something has been understood or to acknowledge a question, with or without further development.
Usages that adapt Japanese into English are also common, as in ‘go-to shopping’ for go shopping, and the use of silent to translate shizuka, which has a wider meaning of ‘silent, quiet, peaceful’.
4.Made-in-Japan English
For most Japanese, the term Japanese English does not refer to English as spoken by Japanese to foreigners, but to wasei eigo (‘Made-in-Japan-English’): local expressions drawn from English but used in distinctively Japanese ways, such as imejiappu (‘image up’) ‘improving one’s image’).
Made-in-Japan English 
 The term Japanese English does not refer to English as spoken by Japanese to foreigners, but to wasei eigo ( ‘Made-in-Japan English’ ). Wasei eigo applies to local expressions, which are drawn from English but used in distinctively Japanese ways. For instance, imeji-appu means ‘image up’ or in other words,  ‘improving one’s image’(McArthur 2003:368).
According to Tom McArthur, Japan has four major English-language daily newspapers: the Japan Times, the Daily Yomiuri, the Mainichi Daily News, and Asahi Evening News. All of these newspapers are the sister publications of the Japan daily newspapers, except the Japan Times.  Moreover, there are many specialist English-language bookshops in the main cities of Japan. There is a great number of English books in every large bookstore. (McArthur 2003:368).
It is important to mention that are private kindergartens and elementary schools that provide English instructions. Regular study normally begins in the first year of lower secondary school and continues at least till the end of upper secondary school. Traditional approaches, such as reading comprehension and grammar-translation, may be supplemented by oral work, sometimes with native speakers. Knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar is important in the selection of candidates to higher education.  Furthermore, an English-language paper is included in the national examination for university entrance. Tokyo and Osaka have public universities that specialize in foreign studies, some technical colleges specialize in English-language instruction, and there are many language schools. The educational channel of Japanese TV broadcasts regular foreign-language-learning series, including English, and there is daily English-language instruction on the radio, teaching mainly colloquial American.the two most prominent organizations for language teachers are the Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT ) and the Japanese Association of College English Teachers ( JACET ).  (McArthur 2003: 369).

As  McArthur states, English words are in their original form within Japanese texts but are normally transcribed phonetically by katakana. Many Japanese products have English names written in their original form, often with katakana transcription, or given only in katakana, and English words and phrases are often used in advertising to draw attention to a product and give it an attractive, fashionable image. (McArthur 2003 :369).
English words are used with such items as clothes, goods for young people,  fashion accessories, and toiletries. This use of English words has become a  part of a fashion that has spread in East Asia and beyond and is sometimes called Decorative English. Moreover, it is popular to use sport English proverbs, mottos, and would-be inspirational slogans such as ‘Let’s sing a song with me!’ another example could be, ‘Warm hearts together! Cocolo Olympic Games’. This was the Osaka’s Olympic slogan in 2008. (McArthur 2003 :370).

According to McArthur, decorative English is meant to be seen rather than read. The cosmopolitanism of Roman script conveys a mood more than a message, while the content is likely to reflect such themes as a youth, health, vitality, joy, and freedom, as in: (on a packet of tissues ) for someone who seeks a long relationship with things nice; ( on a spectacles case ) This case packs my dream and eyeglasses; ( on a pencil box ) tenderness was completed a pastel. English composed by Japanese for Japanese often translates Japanese: comprehensibly (as on a chocolate wrapper, enjoy the superb combination of almond and chocolate ) or obscurely ( for hair conditioner, soft in one ). The following examples are typical of the English used on casual bags: ReSpice Enjoy fashion life; Nice to Heart and Just Impression; The New York City Theatre District is where you can and us, anyone. Since the Second World War, English has become particularly associated with US culture, and its use as part of the design of Western-style goods reinforces their role as symbols of both modernity and America.(McaArthur:370).

  It is important to notice that since 1945 thousands of terms have entered the language, mainly from English. Borrowing from different European languages can have etymologically complex outcomes, as with karuta ( a type of playing-card: from Portuguese carta ), karute ( a medical record: from German Karte ), arakaruto ( ‘á la carte’: from French ), and kado (‘ identity, credit, greetings(etc.) card’: from English card. Such terms are freely used in everyday Japanese conversation and writing, the users often not aware of the languages from which they have come. Indeed, non-Japanese may also fail to recognize many of them because of adaptations in form and/or meaning.

  Because katakana represents Japanese syllables ( such as sa and ke ), the transliteration of foreign words generally leads to phonetic change. Final consonants tend to be followed by a vowel, and consonant clusters are often broken up, as in erekutoronikkusu (‘electronics’), kurisumasu ( ‘Christmas’ ), and purutoniumu (‘plutonium’ ). Sounds that do not exist in Japanese are converted to the nearest Japanese syllables, as in takushi (‘taxi’), chimu (‘team’), tsuna (‘tuna’), rabu (‘love’), basu (both bus and bath). Or they may be represented by katakana combinations created to allow foreign words to be closer to their original pronunciation, as happens with hanbaga (‘hamburger’). Loanwords may undergo semantic as well as phonetic change, as with manshon (‘high-class block of flats’: from mansion), konpanion (‘female guide/hostess’: from companion), sumato (‘slim’: from smart), baikingu (‘buffet meal, smorgasbord’: from Viking), and moningusabisu (‘morning service’: a set breakfast). The density of foreign matter in some katakana-cum-gairaigo phrases is considerable, as for example kurismasu sizun no romantikku dezato (literally ‘Christmas season of romantic dessert’=a romantic dessert for the Christmas season) (McArthur 2003:371).

  Clippings and other abbreviations are common, as with terebi (‘television’), apata (‘apartment building’), pato (‘part-time work’), engejiringu (‘engagement ring’), masukomi (‘mass communication’), wapuro (‘word processor’), as if wordpro. Clipped foreign words often combine with Japanese words: haburashi (‘toothbrush’: from Japanese ha ‘tooth’, English ‘brush’), kuropan (‘black bread’, from Japanese kuro ‘black’ and the Portuguese for ‘bread’). Words from different foreign languages can also come together: rorupan (‘bread roll’: from English roll and the Portuguese for ‘bread’). In addition, two or more words from English are sometimes combined in new ways: pureigaido (‘play guide’: a ticket agency), bakkumira (‘back mirror’: rear-view mirror). Such usages are known in Japanese as wasei eigo (‘Made-in-Japan English’). (McArthur 2003:371).

  In general terms, gairaigo words have a modern, Western, and sophisticated image, sometimes competing with native equivalents: thus, depato (‘department store’) has almost replaced the corresponding Japanese word. English is tending to replace the combining of Chinese-derived root-words as the main resource for describing new concepts and things in Japanese: compare the older Chinese-derived denwa (‘electric talk’) for telephone and the more recent terehon kado (‘telephone card’). All such adoptions, notably from English, are used especially in the media and to describe Western science, technology, ideas, arts, fashion, food, sports, leisure activities, and lifestyle. (McArthur 2003:371).
As the author states, there are two pidgins related to Japan.  One was a pidgin spoken from the early 20th century by Japanese immigrants to Hawaii, distinct from the other pidgins and creoles used in the islands. Another, Bamboo English, was used after the Second World War between some Japanese and the US forces of occupation. American military involvement in other parts of East Asia later caused this pidgin to spread to Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Many of its usages have become well known, as with mama-san (originally an older Japanese woman, especially if in charge of geishas, from mama ‘mother’ and san, an honorific title), often applied to any bar hostess, and ichiban (‘most, number one’), meaning ‘the best’. A humorous text in what was called Korean Bamboo English survives from the Korean War, apparently written by a US soldier. It tells an old European story using elements of Japanese(and to a lesser extent Korean) with army slang. (McArthur 2003:371).
  The informal terms Japlish, Japalish, Janglish, and Japanized English have been applied to the thousands of English words used in everyday speech in Japan and meant as it were for Japanese eyes and ears only. Many such wasei eigo usages are not necessarily obvious to, or even detectable by, native speakers of English. Thus, dokuta sutoppu (‘doctor stop’) is a prohibition on certain activities, such as smoking, made by a physician. The title of a recent best-selling novel, ‘Bajin Rodo’ (‘Virgin Road’), refers to the aisle a bride walks down in a church. A productive example is sandoichi (‘sandwich’), usually shortened to sando and commonly compounded, as in eggusando (‘egg sandwich’), hamusando (‘ham sandwich’), mikkususando (‘mixed sandwich’: a plate of various kinds of sandwiches), tsunasando (‘tuna sandwich’), and hottosando (a toasted sandwich of any kind). (Mcarthur 2003:371).
The terms Japlish and Japalish have been widely used since the 1950s for any blend of Japanese and English, the first term risking local disapproval by using the element Jap (regarded since the end of the Second World War as an ethnic slur), while the second is probably intended to by-pass this risk by adding another letter from Japan. The term Janglish both sidesteps the slur and picks up the linguistic dissonance with jangle. All three terms are informal, wry, and inclined to be pejorative. They refer both to Japanese spoken or written with an admixture of English and to English that shows a strong Japanese influence, and have been in use for decades: ‘A great many Japanese speak English nowadays (or at least’Japlish’, as the American colony calls it)’ (Harper’s Magazine, Jan 1963).

There is a great number of Japanese words that spread all over the world. Here is the small table, which provides certain examples of areas of special interest:
Areas of Interest Words
The civil arts Bonsai, haiku, kabuki, Noh, origami
The martial arts, war, sport Aikido, bushido, harakiri, sumo
Cuisine Sashimi, sushi, tofu
Religion Shinto, Zen
Kinds of people Geisha, mikado, ninja, samurai
Furnishings, clothes, etc. Kimono, obi, tatami
Entertainment Karaoke, Nintendo
Lanuage Hiragana, kanji, katakana
 Naming of Cars
A form of Japanese linguistic creativity that includes borrowing from English and elsewhere and has a high international profile is the naming of cars. The patterns, which are highly neologistic, run much as follows:
7.1.Company name and symbolic English name or name elements
Examples: Honda Civic (suggesting a town car whose driver behaves well); Mitsubishi Colt (echoing cowboy films, horses, and guns), with the variant Mitsubishi Colt Spacestar (blending sci-fi and roominess); Isuzu Trooper (offering the dash of a cavalryman and/or suggesting a good solid worker); Mitsubishi Lancer (with cavalry esprit); Mitsubishi Space Runner (suggesting ample room, endurance, the future, and speed); Nissan Bluebird (a streamlined high flier); Nissan Stanza (poetry in motion?); Subaru Justy (enigmatic Decorative English, touching on soundness and lustiness); Suzuki Swift (alliteratively suggesting speed and a streamlined and beautiful bird); Toyota Hiluxe (a gairaigo-style syncopation of ‘high’ and ‘deluxe/luxury’). (McArthur 2003:371).
Company name and symbolic classical or pseudo-classical name

Examples: Mitsubishi Carisma (combining ‘car’ and Greek ‘charisma’, suggesting prestige and power while ensuring that the second word is pronounced k and not tch); Toyota Carina (combining ‘car’ and Latin feminine ending-ina, and/or perhaps adopting for aesthetic rather than semantic reasons Latin carina ‘keel’); Toyota Corolla (Latin: ‘little crown’, usually referring to the part of a flower, and perhaps regarded as feminine and therefore attractive); Nissan Micra (Greek for ‘small’, in its feminine form); Nissan Primera (suggesting ‘primary, prime, premier’ while using Spanish primera ‘first-class’ and, less helpfully, ‘first gear’); Nissan Serena (Latin ‘serene’, also suggesting serenade); Subaru Impreza (suggesting Italian or Spanish and touching on both impressive and empress). (McArthur 2003:371).
Japanese company name and international computer-linked neologisms

  More recently, notably with the development of computer-generated forms with no prior dictionary meanings, more radical departures have become common, either invented, as with the Toyota Celica (suggesting coelia/celia, Latin for ‘heavenly’; and ‘celestial’, while sounding and looking soft and smooth), and Suzuki Vitara (perhaps echoing Latin vita’life’, and vitality). (McArthur 2003:371).

   Non-Japanese companies appear to have followed Japan’s lead, including in the use of computer-generated word-like entities. Examples include France’s Citroen Xantia and Citroen Xsara ( perhaps using X for mystery, the first rather meaninglessly suggesting Greek xanthos ‘yellow’, and pronounced ‘Zantia’ in English, whereas the second is usually pronounced ‘zara’ and may benefit from having no prior meaning at all); Germany’s Mercedes Elegance; Italy’s fiat Tempra (enigmatically suggesting ‘time’ and touching irrelevantly on ‘temper’, ‘temperature’, and ‘temporary’); Vauxhall Corsa (suggesting both ‘corsair’ and ‘courser’, each implying adventure, action, and surging motion). In this area, Japan appears to have been well ahead of the general game. (McArthur 2003r:371).
Examples of Japlish
Adopted English words in Japanese:
aisukohi Iced coffee
akusesu access
akushon action
ansa answer
bisuketto biscuit
buruusu blues (music)
chaumopointo Charmpoint
(most attractive feature)
chokoteto chocolate
daietto diet
doru dollar
foku fork
fakkusu fax
fikushon fiction
garasu glass
garu girl
infomeshon information
jusu juice
kasettotepu cassette tape
pinattsu peanuts
kapetto carpet
kontakutorenzu contact lens
karenda calendar
kiro kilogram
kara color
kuraianto client
kohi coffee
Makudonarudo McDonald’s
masukomi mass communication
nyusu news
notopasokon notebook computer
ona owner
otobai motorbike
pasokon personal computer
puresute abbrev. of Playstation
potetochippu Potato chips
risutoappu "List up", make a list
rasshuava Rush hour, peak hour
tagetto target
taipu Type, pattern
terebi television
 Signs and billboards:
Let's Wedding Signs for bridal stores in many train stations
Traing Japan Railways' slogan. Apparently the correct English verb to use while riding a train.
Let's Blue A department store had a sale on all blue clothing items
Let's Kiosk A popular stand at train stations selling newspapers and snacks
To conclude, it can be stated that the English language has great importance in Japan. First of all, it is strongly related to Western culture. It is mainly used with the items related to fashion, technology, arts or simply lifestyle, for this reason, it is very popular among young people. In a way, it is related even with freedom. Since English is so popular nowadays in Japan, it affects the Japanese language very much.

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