English Loanwords from
Japanese:
A Survey of the Perceptions
of American English
Speakers
Author: Margaret Pine Otake
(Tok...
The subject of research
In recent decades several new vocabulary items have entered the English
language from Japanese sou...
Background Research Summary
Why loan
words
enter a
language?
Speakers are
very familiar
with the other
language
Close cont...
Where we can
find loan words?
Magazines Novels
Internet
broadcasts
Store
advertise -
ments
Movies
Research Question
How familiar American English speakers are with a
list of Japanese loanwords and how they use
these term...
Research Methodology
• A list of Japanese loanwords was created based
on words seen in various print and on-line media
as ...
Eliminated categories of words
Description of Sample
12 informants
all native
English
speakers
ages 17-18
Cliff Senior
High School in
Cliff, New
Mexico
6...
Description of Sample
For a few of the words on this
survey, kamikaze, honcho, and
suudoku, a similar brief survey
was giv...
Data Collection and Analysis
• Geisha, Japanese: geisha, gei
„talent‟, „art‟ + sha „person‟, a
singing girl; a professiona...
Data Collection and Analysis
• Tsunami, Japanese: tsunami,
tsu „harbor‟ + nami „wave‟, a
tidal wave, a seismic wave.
• All...
Data Collection and Analysis
• Kamikaze, Japanese: kami
„divine‟, „god‟ + kaze „wind‟.
• Seven of the informants show
know...
Data Collection and Analysis
How answered 34 college students?
• Fourteen students said they didn‟t know the word.
• Seven...
Data Collection and Analysis
• Honcho, Japanese: hancho,
han „group‟ + cho „leader‟.
• Almost all the samples and
meanings...
Data Collection and Analysis
How answered 34 college students?
• 30 respondents all recognized the word, but
all give the ...
Data Collection and Analysis
• Hibachi, Japanese: hibachi, hi „fire‟
+ hachi „bowl‟, a (charcoal)
brazier.
• 19 of 20 info...
Data Collection and Analysis
• Karaoke, Japanese: karaoke,
kara „empty‟ + oke, shortened
version of okesutora
„orchestra.
...
Data Collection and Analysis
• Manga : manga, man
„unorthodox‟ or „rambling‟ +
ga „picture‟, „drawing‟;
• Anime : loanword...
Data Collection and Analysis
• Otaku, Japanese: o, polite
prefix, + taku „house‟ or
„residence‟, a person with an
obsessiv...
Data Collection and Analysis
• Edamame, Japanese eda
„branch‟ + mame „bean‟,
means “young soy bean”.
• 15 out of 47 inform...
Data Collection and Analysis
• Sudoku, Japanese: suudoku,
suu „number‟ + doku „single‟ or
„alone‟.
• The 43 informants all...
Important variables
• Some words were excluded from the survey (like karate,
kimono, obi, etc.). In our opinion if these w...
Results
Perhaps the most important finding, though statistically
unverifiable from this survey, is that new language seems...
Recommendations
In case you face
a loan word in
English, or any
other language
you study, first of
all check this word
in ...
English loanwords from Japanese
English loanwords from Japanese
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English loanwords from Japanese

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English loanwords from Japanese

  1. 1. English Loanwords from Japanese: A Survey of the Perceptions of American English Speakers Author: Margaret Pine Otake (Tokyo Seitoku University) Published in: Tokyo Seitoku University Bulletin, No. 17, 2010.
  2. 2. The subject of research In recent decades several new vocabulary items have entered the English language from Japanese sources. A selection of some of the more common terms from Japanese was made based on print sources and conversational use by American English speakers. A survey of speakers of American English was conducted to determine the sense of the meanings of these words from the informants‟ point of view, the ways in which the words are used in grammatical structures, and the degree of awareness of the language origin of the words.
  3. 3. Background Research Summary Why loan words enter a language? Speakers are very familiar with the other language Close contact with the loaner culture A sense of need New food or other material items Terms borrowed to make a distinction between similar items Prestige associated with the borrowed words A strong impact of cultural images
  4. 4. Where we can find loan words?
  5. 5. Magazines Novels Internet broadcasts Store advertise - ments Movies
  6. 6. Research Question How familiar American English speakers are with a list of Japanese loanwords and how they use these terms for meaning?
  7. 7. Research Methodology • A list of Japanese loanwords was created based on words seen in various print and on-line media as well as words heard in daily conversations with English speakers living in the U.S. • Informants were asked to write out a meaning and then to write out a sample sentence using the word.
  8. 8. Eliminated categories of words
  9. 9. Description of Sample 12 informants all native English speakers ages 17-18 Cliff Senior High School in Cliff, New Mexico 6 informants all native English speakers ages 48-71 East Coast and West Coast of the U.S. 11 informants all native English speakers ages 18-60 New Mexico or Arizona in the Southwest of the U.S. 15 informants not native English speakers ages 12-13 International School Bangkok, Thailand 6 informants all native English speakers ages 50-90 residence for retired people in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  10. 10. Description of Sample For a few of the words on this survey, kamikaze, honcho, and suudoku, a similar brief survey was given to two groups of Japanese college students in order to discover how they understood the meaning of and used these words in Japanese.
  11. 11. Data Collection and Analysis • Geisha, Japanese: geisha, gei „talent‟, „art‟ + sha „person‟, a singing girl; a professional beauty and entertainer. • 18 of the 32 sample sentences for geisha clearly relate the word to the traditional geisha of Japan.
  12. 12. Data Collection and Analysis • Tsunami, Japanese: tsunami, tsu „harbor‟ + nami „wave‟, a tidal wave, a seismic wave. • All of the informants‟ meanings and sample sentences gave literal interpretations and examples related to large waves or (mistakenly) to storms.
  13. 13. Data Collection and Analysis • Kamikaze, Japanese: kami „divine‟, „god‟ + kaze „wind‟. • Seven of the informants show knowledge of the original Japanese meaning: “divine wind” while the other 19 show a similar meaning to “suicide mission”. • Other answers are about insane behavior or some kind of warrior without the meaning of suicide attached.
  14. 14. Data Collection and Analysis How answered 34 college students? • Fourteen students said they didn‟t know the word. • Seven correctly identified it as “divine wind” with a historical reference. • 6 identified it as part of the phrase used for the special forces who dove airplanes into enemy ships in World War II: kamikaze tokkotai. • Six made guesses that it meant some kind of lucky or powerful wind, but gave no historical reference. • One said that it was the name of a brand of sake.
  15. 15. Data Collection and Analysis • Honcho, Japanese: hancho, han „group‟ + cho „leader‟. • Almost all the samples and meanings on the survey use honcho as a synonym for boss. • Some informants identified honcho as coming from Spanish, English or English slang.
  16. 16. Data Collection and Analysis How answered 34 college students? • 30 respondents all recognized the word, but all give the narrow definition of hancho, „leader of a han,‟ a group that exists particularly in (elementary) school settings.
  17. 17. Data Collection and Analysis • Hibachi, Japanese: hibachi, hi „fire‟ + hachi „bowl‟, a (charcoal) brazier. • 19 of 20 informants gave a meaning of some kind of grill, like a barbecue grill, for cooking food. • None of the middle school students in Group D nor the high school students in Group A provided a response for this word, while most of the adults did.
  18. 18. Data Collection and Analysis • Karaoke, Japanese: karaoke, kara „empty‟ + oke, shortened version of okesutora „orchestra. • 16 of 46 informants included pre-recorded lyrics or the use of a machine as part of their definition. • Five informants use the word “sing-along”.
  19. 19. Data Collection and Analysis • Manga : manga, man „unorthodox‟ or „rambling‟ + ga „picture‟, „drawing‟; • Anime : loanword from “animation”, shortened to fit Japanese (Otake). • All of the informants who gave correct answers, clearly knew the difference between manga (the print form of cartoons) and anime (film variety).
  20. 20. Data Collection and Analysis • Otaku, Japanese: o, polite prefix, + taku „house‟ or „residence‟, a person with an obsessive interest for something, particularly anime or manga. • Otaku was the least known word in the survey. • Of 26 Japanese college students, all recognized the word otaku and gave similar definitions
  21. 21. Data Collection and Analysis • Edamame, Japanese eda „branch‟ + mame „bean‟, means “young soy bean”. • 15 out of 47 informants provided a meaning and 14 of the 47 provided a sample.
  22. 22. Data Collection and Analysis • Sudoku, Japanese: suudoku, suu „number‟ + doku „single‟ or „alone‟. • The 43 informants all showed the meaning to be “number puzzle” or used very similar words.
  23. 23. Important variables • Some words were excluded from the survey (like karate, kimono, obi, etc.). In our opinion if these words were in this survey, the results could be a little bit different. • The author tried to interrogate people who are not familiar with Japanese culture. • Americans have some contacts with Japanese culture and these words are in use there, and, for example in Moldova the results of survey would be different.
  24. 24. Results Perhaps the most important finding, though statistically unverifiable from this survey, is that new language seems to be accrued throughout life. The two groups A and D (ages 18 and younger) provided the fewest responses for the survey. Young people are the ones who bring new vocabulary to their language, but the adults were the ones who recognized the most items. The acquisition of the wisdom of language and culture seems to be a lifetime process.
  25. 25. Recommendations In case you face a loan word in English, or any other language you study, first of all check this word in dictionary, try to find its historical meaning and use it in a right way.

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