Importing foreign words

Another stupid quiz …


I got this from Bojo

I did it in 18 seconds. (on my second try… hahaha)
I deserved an A-!!
Take the
How Dexterous Are You? Quiz!!

Importing foreign words…
Japanese just drives me crazy sometimes. I’ve gotten used to it, but I dont’ think the Japanese really know how difficult they make their language. Of course, a lot of this is a reflection of their cultural personality, of course, which could be seen in both a negative and positive light. Let me look at the negative, cuz that’s usually more fun… hehehehe.

It used to kill me when I would use the “wrong” pronunciation of an English word in Japanese: the original word is gum, so the Japanese word for chewing gum is gamu. Now rubber band is, in Japanese, “circular (wa) gum”, but it’s called wa-gomu. This is not a typo” one is pronounced gamu, the other is gomu. Or how about “glass”? A cold drink tumbler is called gurasu and a sheet of glass is called garasu. But allow me clarify this. The pronunciation of these words are based on when they were imported. Chewing gum is an American phenomenon and was imported as such, while the rubber in a rubber band was introduced by the Dutch way back when and they spell and pronounce it “gom” in Flemish. This practice is not only for western words. Depending on when a word was imported from China determines the pronunciation of a Kanji, Chinese character. The character for woman (Jp. onna) is pronounced nyou, as in nyoubou (wife), and jo in josei (female), because the word nyou finds its roots in Buddhism, a religion that was imported during the Six Dynasties China, presumably much earlier than the bulk of Chinese word importation.

BUT (and you knew there was a “but”), this doesn’t explain why they say gomu-teepu for the plastic tape we use for shipping, or sungurasu for sunglasses…

I got on this subject cuz I was thinking about the distinction made with rice in Japan. When you eat Japanese food, it’s called gohan. When you eat it with western food, such as curry, it’s called raisu. Do you think its the distinction between long grain rice and short? Nooooooooo! you could be served exactly the same thing, taken from the same rice cooker, but it would be called differently based on how its served. I once was at a restaurant in Japan and asked for more rice.

“Could I have more gohan, please?”
“Do you mean raisu?” the waiter confirmed.
“Uh, yeah, gohan,” I responded kinda confused
“Very good, I will bring raisu right away,” he emphasized for me…

Jerk. And in case you were wondering, curry was imported to Japan by way of England–which was teh former “protectorate” of India. and soyou will find what many of us consider to be typical Japanese curry usually in western-styled restaurants in Japan, if not specialized curry places.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s