Tag Archives: internet slang

A concerned 63-year-old housewife writes in:

I came across a funny article while browsing through the archives of the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan’s major newspapers. My translation follows after each paragraph of text.

January 16, 2008

流行のKYより、美しい日本語を

Rather than trendy words like KY; how about proper Japanese?

主婦 63歳(大阪府東大阪市)

By a housewife, age 63 (From East Osaka)

最近、KY「空気読めない」という言葉をラジオやテレビでよく耳にするようになったが、若者から流行したということを本紙(5日)で初めて知った。

Although I’ve been hearing terms like “KY” (kuuki yomenai) on the radio and television more often, I recently discovered some new words made popular by young people from reading this newspaper.

ATMが「アホな父ちゃんもういらへん」とは驚きだ。父親を大切にしない風潮だと思うと情けなくなる。ATMとは現金自動預け払い機だと、我々中高年は誰でも思うだろう。

For example when I learned the meaning of “ATM,” which stands for “I’m fed up with my stupid dad,” I was very shocked. I’m deplored at this growing tendency not to honor one’s father! After all, anyone else reading “ATM” would simply think it means “Automated Teller Machine.”

MK5が「マジキレる5秒前」、MMが「マジムカつく」とか、今の若者の辛抱のなさを表している略語だ。ローマ字式略語約400語を収集したミニ辞典「KY式日本語」が出版されたというが、これ以上、日本語を乱してほしくない。

Not to mention other abbreviations that have appeared like “MK5” (I’ve five seconds away from blowing my top), MM (seriously pissed off), etc, which reveal just how little patience today’s youth seems to have. With over 400 abbreviations that use English characters, we now have published mini-dictionary’s like “KY Japanese” that compile these phrases. I hope nothing happens to destroy the Japanese language.

今の日本は美しい日本語をあまりにも大事にしていないのではないだろうか。若者に迎合するのではなく、まず大人がきれいな日本語で話してみてはどうだろう。

It seems as if proper, well-written Japanese is no longer important in Japan today. Instead of pandering to what the youth are doing, how about adults lead by trying to speak with correct Japanese?

Honestly, reading this kind of article is kind of cute—especially since you’ve got the same kind of old biddies here in America trying to crack down on the decay of the English language too. While I don’t think I’d be too happy to see “lol” and “omg” used in actual essays in English, it seems as if the old fart that wrote the article above is against the use of abbreviations in all forms of communication, with a desire to bring back “correct” (literally: beautiful) Japanese.

Good luck with that.

The only people who use “correct” Japanese anymore are old housewives in Japanese dramas and the entire cast of Winter Sonata (which, not so surprisingly, drew its massive fan base in Japan from women ages 50-70. Go figure). And they sound weird too. Seriously, don’t try to emulate them, unless you’re trying to impress 63 year old women from Osaka. And something tells me that’s the last group on your mind.

The book she mentions in the article “KY Japanese” appears to be this one (KY式日本語―ローマ字略語がなぜ流行るのか 0r “KY Japanese: Why have English Character Abbreviations become popular?). I haven’t read it, but it looks fairly interesting—I may try to pick it up in the future at some point.After all, searching for a good, serious treatment of Japanese abbreviations (especially in English) brought up only this article (Linguistic Innovations and Interactional Features of Casual Online Communication in Japanese), which has a nice, long academic title, but honestly doesn’t dive too deeply into anything one couldn’t gleam from simply reading 2ch for a few minutes. Big deal.

Also, KY Japanese has a funny 1-star review posted for it on Amazon:

雑学として気楽に読むなら問題ない。でも、間違った日本語を使っている人が読むと、もっと馬鹿になるよ。時間があったら、国語辞典を開いてほしい。

This is fine for miscellaneous information. But, if someone who already uses incorrect Japanese reads this, he’s just going to become stupider. If you have the time to read this, try opening up a real dictionary instead.

Gotta love it. Seriously, I can’t be the only one who goes through 1-star reviews of products (often of products I’ve already purchased and enjoyed) just to see what people can come up with to slam it. Must be some kind of sick masochism, perhaps.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Japan, Japanese

Back in Action with some E-Slang

So it’s a new year, so why not try and revive this blog along with it? I’ll give it a shot, at least.

One thing that has been on my mine recently is internet slang and net culture from Japan and other East Asian countries. When I’m chatting with friends, I’ll liberally through in an “lol” or a “rofl” for good measure from time to time, without even thinking about how a foreign learner of English, regardless of ability, will likely have no idea what I’m talking about.

For example, the equivalent in Japanese is “wwwww[…]” to indicate laughter. Or in Thai they use “555555.” I’ve also seen the Kanji for laughter enclosed in quotation marks used as well. So you’ve got, roughly:

「そうですか!www」= Is that so, hahaha.

「本当に?(笑)」= Is that true? lol

I always find this sort of thing interesting, and naturally there’s a whole collection of “the word lol in other languages conveniently listed on Wikipedia. That should make it easier to know if your friends are laughing behind your back on Facebook or not.

Or if you’re after Japanese slang specifically, there’s a great collection right here for your browsing pleasure. I noticed they left out one piece of net-slang in Japanese I discovered today—”2828″ which stands for にやにや, which is a kind of perverted or devilish grin.

2828する

And although I’m incredibly late to the party, I found this article on the top Japanese buzz-words of 2011 to be awesome. This is the kind of stuff that if you know it, you can at least pretend to be a full-fledged Japanese person. It’s current, it’s cool, and crazy interesting.

My favorites have to be the Po-po-po-pon and Kodama deshoka ads, mainly because of the hilarious spin-offs that resulted because of their popularity. I actually managed to meet (if you can call it that) the female singer from the Po-po-po-pon advertisement while I was working in a camp in Japan. I’ll have to save that story for a little later, however!

Leave a comment

Filed under Japanese