national

Court rules against man who sued NHK for using too many loan words

48 Comments

The Nagoya District Court has ruled against a 72-year-old man who filed a damages suit against public broadcaster, claiming that its overuse of foreign loan words rendered many of its programs unintelligible, thus causing him emotional stress.

Hoji Takahashi, who heads the "Nihongo wo taisetsu ni suru kai" (Treat Japanese as Important Association), brought the suit because repeated entreaties to NHK had been ignored, his lawyer said. He had been seeking 1.41 million yen in damages.

In handing down the ruling on Thursday, Presiding Judge Kiyofumi Saito said the use of foreign words cannot be proven to cause emotional distress.

In the suit, Takahashi said NHK was relying too heavily on words borrowed from English, instead of their traditional Japanese counterparts. He gave as examples words such as "risuku" (risk), "korabo" (collaboration) and "toraburu" (trouble).

Japanese has a tradition of borrowing words from other languages, often quite inventively and sometimes changing their meaning in the process.

Although English provides the bulk of loanwords -- an inheritance of the post World War II U.S. occupation and subsequent fascination with American culture -- words borrowed from many other languages are also in use.

Thus, the word for part-time work is a Japanized version of the German "arbeit", "concierge" comes from the French and the Spanish "pan" is understood as bread.

However, Japan's phonic structure, in which sounds are usually made of a consonant and a vowel, renders many of these borrowed words unintelligible to speakers of the language from which they came.

“Young people can probably understand a lot of this stuff, but for older people like myself, when I hear 'asurito' (athlete) and 'konpuraiansu' (compliance), I don’t know what it means," Takahashi was quoted as saying.

© Japan Today/AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

48 Comments
Login to comment

This may be the only way to get us to learn English.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I think he has been watching too many US courtroom dramas. What a waste of court time and his money.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I wonder what would have happened if, instead of seeking bogus 'damages' for some imagined mental pain, the man had refused to pay NHK's fee on the grounds that the broadcasts have to be intelligible to everyone who pays for them.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

He needs to either turn OFF his tv or Change Channels.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Language is dynamic in nature. If you don't understand it you have two choices, study and learn or create a new language.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I'm sure his parents, grandparents and great grandparents wouldn't have understood the loan words he uses on a daily basis either. Stop acting 'old' and making yourself a living, irrelevant fossil.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Mr. Takahashi, it's 'kompuraiansu'. Oh, and pan comes from Portuguese pao, apparently, not Spanish.

This reminds me of how as a child in the UK I had to deal with too much French in English. Many restaurant menus were unintelligible too.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

GOOD !

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Gokai: "This may be the only way to get us to learn English."

If it were actually English. It's not.

nandakandamanda: "This reminds me of how as a child in the UK I had to deal with too much French in English. Many restaurant menus were unintelligible too."

Not at all comparable, and especially if you take history into context. English is half Romantic, half Germanic, and as any good linguist knows the Romantic languages derive largely from Latin, and especially French. Hence many words are similar, like "finit, finito, finished" as one. There's also the fact that England and France conquered each other back and forth for ages, and French was considered the more high-class language to use, while English was considered worthy of only the common folk. There is not comparing how French has seeped into English or vice-versa with how Japanese has more English loan words than your average English native speaker uses.

While this guy might have expected a bit much in taking this on, he is absolutely right that the Japanese language is relying too heavily on loan words. If it continues it'll cease to be Japanese and become pidgin as a first language.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

He probably wasn't doing it for the money. He got his point across, whether anyone noticed it or not is another matter. I agree with his views though, and most countries do have governmental organs set up to conserve its national language and limit external influences.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Language is like a living thing... it evolves along with the society and the people that speak it...

Yes it may be sad to lost that part of the culture (I for once kind of like how people talked back in the 1800s) but we can not stop that.

Stopping the evolution of language is as stopping scientific research.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

He might have been better spending his time and his money on seeking mental help and some counseling obviously he has some sort of disorder.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

While I this guy and his little club seems pretty ridiculous, I do agree with him that there are WAY too many unnecessary "English" loanwords both over at Propaganda HQ and in the Japanese language in general. No need for that. Instead of theaching the Japanese proper understanding of for example English, they butcher original words and make it into something only the locals would consider have anything to do with "English".

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I totally support this man! I dont think he was really trying to get money but just trying to get the attention of NHK and the public! Katakana English was a good idea a hundred years ago but now its Japan's main reason for its low English proficiency! Using katakana English hinders learning real English and at the same time, people are forgetting real Japanese!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Stop living in the past, and keep up with the times

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I agree with KingJaCorey. Japanese is a tremendously rich language and can easily come up with its own alternatives for the karita kotoba (loan words). What I have found cool are the words, like "tabako" -- that have a foreign origin but also can be written in kanji.

As for assertions that the case was a waste, that's why they are called trials. Words certainly can cause stress -- such as the word "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japanese has a tradition of borrowing words from other languages, often quite inventively and sometimes changing their meaning in the process.

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

No more kanjis and kanas? Borrowed from China and created as Japanese. No more Japanese language?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

National Broadcasters like the NHK in Japan, BBC in Britain and the like need to be a beacon of proper and pure Japanese (English), lead by example.

Yes, you can't stop language from evolving, but at least slow it down that it doesn't become unintelligible in less than one generation. This man is old, he can't be expected to keep up with the tremendous pace that Japanese is changing and importing loanwords.

I'm not sure of all the newspapers, but those I've read, or at least try to read were near impossible to decipher because of the abundance of Kanji and lack of Katakana (loanwords). Why the huge gap between Shinbun and Terebi? Young people don't read the newspaper as avidly as their parents and grandparents. TV is geared toward the gap in the market: young people.

Are you not entertained?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I agree with the man and I agree with another poster that language is a living thing. I deleted the obvious humour at the end. Is that ok moderator? People really need to chill out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The man's point is quite real although his attitude may be an exaggeration. Many says and write rough words against this man in particular for his age and this maybe because they don't cohabit an elder. My father himself (82) sometimes stands like a deadpan when the use of loan words is intense. Languages yes evolves. But when a language has its own words to define something, it's not hurting to use these words in order to keep communication understandable for all.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And he never hear otakus talking about waifus (virtual anime girlfriends) or husubandos (their male counterpart).... his mind could be blown...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am not a fan of NHK, but I play piano on NHK’s ららら♪クラシック and I appeared with 宮﨑 あおい in their 蝶々さん. Yes still they beg me to pay (their guys who go door-to-door) when most of the time they haven’t paid me.

Do you think for a moment I am going to have sympathy for this person? After all the care he has for NHK, I will bet $1,000 that I have contributed directly to his enjoyment of their station (he’d know my face if he is not senile (my icon here is just my drawing)), yet he asked for $14,100?

Get a clue, guy. What’s happening to you is you don’t understand a few words (but you can infer). What’s happening out here in the real world is that us actors don’t get paid for 3-4 months after doing the job; You’d have seen it on TV before we get our money, and we too have bills to pay.

Other people are trying to make a living. Get over yourself. Just as a side-note, I used to watch TV back home in Spanish just to get familiar with a second language. I am not asking an old guy to get fluent, just that “familiar” isn’t really a bad place to be.

L. Spiro

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@James Dean Jnr.JUN. 13, 2014 - 09:27PM JST

I'm not sure of all the newspapers, but those I've read, or at least try to read were near impossible to decipher because of the abundance of Kanji and lack of Katakana (loanwords). Why the huge gap between Shinbun and Terebi? Young people don't read the newspaper as avidly as their parents and grandparents. TV is geared toward the gap in the market: young people.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Japanese Newspapers were for Japanese, not for foreigners. Hiragana and Kanjis. Don't blame papers. Katakanas are used to write foreign language words. Don;t think Japanese are illiterate on their own language In schools, their textbooks were written in Japanese. Youngsters, they even dig how-to books of technology.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@toshiko You should take a moment to read more carefully!

Don't pick and choose arbitrary parts to quote when the original intent was something different, its insulting.

National Broadcasters like the NHK in Japan, BBC in Britain and the like need to be a beacon of proper and pure Japanese (English), lead by example.

Read James comment again, he was agreeing with you! You should be more careful before saying such dismissive and frankly rather offensive things.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Tokiya Thank you. I am however not offended, it takes a lot for me to be offended, my skin is thick and so is my skull.

@Toshiko Sorry if my comment was a bit unclear. Japanese Newspaper = Good (Proper Kanji etc); Terebi = Bad (ignores old people, uses the equivalent of slang all willy nilly)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

All languages evolve, some live and some die. Just like species do.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@James

I don't think you need to apologise to toshiko- she should apologise to you for automatically assuming that as a foreigner you were complaining about the lack of katakana in Japanese newspapers. And of course from her post one can infer that she believes no foreigners can actually read kanji and hiragana, but that's another matter.

As for the story, I have some sympathy with the old gent, but he chose the wrong basis for his claim. He pays his NHK fees to be entertained and informed in Japanese. If he can't understand NHK's Engrish gobbledegook, then I think he's entitled to complain.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sorry, but a lot of ppl posting here seem to have a romanticized idea of "language". Language is like a river, always going somewhere else. Half of English is "loan words", and where would we be if someone asked us to give them back???

And these J "loanwords" aren't really foreign anyway. The whole concept of how to use the word "sa-bisu" is totally different from the English word "service" that it comes from. Just as English "villa" is much different from the original Spanish use of "villa". And I forgot which changed how, but you would be pretty embarrassed if you mis-used the Spanish version "emabarazada". And "shirt" and "skirt" are different versions of the same word, originally, in different languages.

Anyhow, that's language, that's people. Complain all you want, the river's going to keep on flowing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Tokiyo thank you, James: Sorry. I misunderstood your comment, It is obvious this guy never knew Japanese language are combination of borrowed languages. He never read Kojiko and Nihonshoki in his history classes? @taiko, Tokiyo wrote well. You are attacking me personally? Write like tokiyo instead of copycatting to do personal attack.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Lowly: "Language is like a river, always going somewhere else. Half of English is "loan words", and where would we be if someone asked us to give them back???"

Not at all the same, and as for giving back, that's silly. There are more than 20,000 English words used in Japanese, and that's more than most English speakers ever use in their daily life. The problem is that some Japanese speakers who KNOW they are loan words will try to use them in English and suggest you take a 'gutz pose' for a picture, or ski on the 'gerunde' (not English). What's more, as I've said, English "loan words", if you must, are well established based on history and the fact that English also has Latin and Germanic roots. Japanese has appropriated an obscene amount of words in a very short time and the language has become corrupt. You can see it modern tech, movie and music titles, and otherwise. Ask a Japanese the length of his/her new flat screen TV and s/he'll smile and tell you how many inches it is. Ask them how man centimeters it is, despite that being the modern unit of measurement in Japan, and they'll scratch their heads and say they have no clue. Ask them their height in inches soon after, and again head scratching. And just look at the new Tom Cruise movie: "The Edge of Tomorrow", renamed in Japan as: "All You Need is Kill" because of the nonsensical English of the original book title. How about "From Cradle to the Grave" being renamed as "Black Diamond"? Why not just give it a Japanese title as they used to do in the days of old instead of changing it to another English title with little or no meaning? The point is that there is indeed far too much English used in the Japanese language and it's literally making it stupid. I won't even start on asking why it's "Nice shoot!" in soccer or basketball but "nice shot" in golf, and never mind baseball.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Somehow I agreed with this old man. We were living in overseas for 15 years now. We don't understand some words from Japanese drama because screen writer completely destroyed original meaning and pronunciation. They should know the original meaning and which English language (US or UK) they are using. English language has very complex grammar and meaning will change depending on usage of words. I'm no surprised about complaint against NHK or Television Broadcasters for using too many loan words foreign languages.

They should use Japanese language as first priority but if they can't find proper word in Japanese language and then they can borrow word from foreign languages. I'm sure most Judges and Politicians do not know what foreign loan word mean was when they heard first time. They will need someone to explain them. Now it’s time for medias to change their bad habit.

Using too many foreign loan words is "Goodo or Bado"? I don't know but Japanese broadcasters shouldn't do Japanese language to one of the most endangered languages in 21st century.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I want to support Mr. Takahashi totally. I live in America. When my sisters use the words such as "pasokon" and "pokeberu", I don't understand what they are talking about. If the Japanese use English words, they should use the words correctly, at least, by using "real" English words, otherwise, use the Japanese words. The Japanese are not improving their English skill AT ALL. They are just adding the new words that are MEANINGLESS to the English users in the world. Not only that, but also they are wasting their time to learn the new words that have no value and confuse their own people. I hope Mr. Takahashi would appeal. It is time for the Japanese to wake up and become aware that the usage of wrong English is a self-destruction of Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

NHK should use Japanese announcers who studied in USA or UK.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Isn't that amazing what global communication technologies have accomplished?

As a (latin) spanish speaking person, I couldn't understand 1 in every 10 words on spanish TV programs (from Spain). I was taught english when I was very young, US english, therefore I had a hard time with british, scottish and australian accents on TV, not anymore.

Spanish is becoming one 'language', I understand and use many slang words from Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Mexico and even Spain.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140606-why-we-must-save-dying-languages

Someday we might end up with one and only language.

As for the man complaining and suing, if he is paying the NHK fee, he has the right to do so.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Forget about the new imported words, some of the most basic words that Japanese people use are English.... how do you even say 'start' (sutato) as a verb in actual Japanese?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Here's a loan concept he evidently likes:

"emotional distress"

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So Japanese is importing lots of loan words from English. Big deal. It's what Japan does. Try holding a conversation without using any Chinese loan words, you'd be pretty tongue-tied.

All languages flow and change; read a novel or newspaper report from just a couple of hundred years ago, it's nothing like the English we use today. We hold up Shakespeare as English at its finest, but kids need to study it in school to understand what is being said. If Mr Takahashi can't understand the Japanese used on NHK it's because he's falling behind, not because NHK is somehow corrupting the language. There is nothing strange, unusual or stressful about the language used on NHK. Granpa needs to read a bit more, talk to folk a bit more, respect the Japanese language for what it is, not what he wants it to be. He needs to chill out a bit; get his waifu to make him some sandowichi with pan and bata from the conbini, open a kan biiru, kick off his surippa and watch a bit of yakyuu on the terebi.

how do you even say 'start' (sutato) as a verb in actual Japanese?

はじめる(hajimeru) 出発する(shuppatsu suru) 起動する(didou suru) 開始する(kaishi suru) depending on how you're using it and what it means.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I often ask my mother-in-law if she understands some of the gairaigo on TV, and she's clueless. What the complainant was opposing is, in effect, the linguistic (and arguably cultural) disenfranchisement of a huge portion of the population.

Is it progress however, or the slippery slope to a vapid and incomprehensible pidgin?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The problem is kanji. Kanji isn't dynamic enough. It's too slow moving to change with our times. While hiragana would work, Japanese tend to want all their "Japanese" words to be in kanji (with the conjugated parts, articles, and so on in hiragana), but katakana is allowed to stand alone. So, if you want a new term quickly, you need to use katakana. As katakana is used mainly for loan words, many new terms are taken in as katakanaized loan words.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Cleo et al.: "All languages flow and change; read a novel or newspaper report from just a couple of hundred years ago, it's nothing like the English we use today."

Yes and no. In opinion pieces most certainly not, as they are less formal, but with regular news it's not so different.

"We hold up Shakespeare as English at its finest, but kids need to study it in school to understand what is being said.

Not a very good allegory. No one ever spoke in iambic pentameter, and Shakespeare isn't held as the finest English spoken, but the writing and his ability to be poetic is why he is so highly upheld. It'd be more apt to say The Queen's English, I think.

"If Mr Takahashi can't understand the Japanese used on NHK it's because he's falling behind, not because NHK is somehow corrupting the language."

To an extent, yes. I think the onus is on him to try and learn, but as a paying customer he has a right to complain if he suddenly cannot use the product and the company refuses to help him.

"There is nothing strange, unusual or stressful about the language used on NHK."

Not sure about NHK, since I don't watch it, but there's definitely something strange with the language going on. They are changing it FAR too quickly, and far too intentionally so that it is not naturally acquired by the populace.

"Granpa needs to read a bit more, talk to folk a bit more, respect the Japanese language for what it is, not what he wants it to be."

That's part of the problem. Languages change, absolutely, but these days there are so many English loan words being used it's getting hard to call it "Japanese".

BBQ Demon: "The problem is kanji. Kanji isn't dynamic enough. It's too slow moving to change with our times."

In Japan, yes, but other nations like China have no trouble with adapting using 'ataji' if not changing to the Chinese equivalent meaning. I'm not at all suggesting Japan revert back to using ataji for new words, but if the original language is going to be completely bastardized in terms of pronunciation they should use Japanese words when it's not a proper noun (and even then, in many cases, they could come up with a creative Japanese equivalent). I've been here for ages and of course understand when Japanese talk to me in English and say "diji-kame" or "pasokon" or what have you, but it would never be understood by English speakers who are not familiar with the Japanese use of loan words.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@clea

Thanks, but I find the actual usage of these Japanese words is slightly different and more formal than 'start' don't you think? I would say they are almost like 'commence'. It seems like some English words have crowded out their native equivalents or have added another subtle difference in meaning. As an English speaker I often find that Japanese is missing a few really key words.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It'd be more apt to say The Queen's English, I think.

And British English is surely much richer since the BBC stopped insisting all its announcers, reporters, actors, news casters etc., speak with marbles in their mouths. No one speaks the Queen's English except the Queen.

They are changing it FAR too quickly, and far too intentionally so that it is not naturally acquired by the populace.

But who is they if not the populace?

these days there are so many English loan words being used it's getting hard to call it "Japanese".

The Japanese language is the language spoken by the Japanese people. I don't see anybody complaining that importing huge numbers of loanwords and a whole writing system from China that then got chopped about and mangled to produce two more writing systems, all three systems being needed to produce a coherent bit of text, made the Japanese language 'less Japanese', nor do I see anyone, not even Mr Takahashi with his one-member Nihongo wo Taisetsu ni Suru Kai, insisting that we all go back to speaking 'pure' pre-Heian-period Japanese.

Japan is a living language; it evolves. The time it stops evolving is the time it becomes a dead language.

I've been here for ages and of course understand when Japanese talk to me in English and say "diji-kame" or "pasokon" or what have you, but it would never be understood by English speakers who are not familiar with the Japanese use of loan words.

So your problem is with Japanese people's limited ability to speak fluent English or to distinguish loan-words that have been assimilated into their language from genuine English words. That doesn't make Japanese any less Japanese.

It seems like some English words have crowded out their native equivalents or have added another subtle difference in meaning.

You mean there once was a Japanese word meaning 'start' that disappeared from the dictionary when スタートappeared? I don't think so.

There's also nothing 'formal' about the start words I gave you, they're used in everyday conversation.

As an English speaker I often find that Japanese is missing a few really key words.

Does not compute......If you're speaking English, surely Japanese vocabulary is irrelevant; if you're speaking Japanese, the fact that you're a native English speaker doesn't change Japanese vocabulary. If the language was really 'missing key words' we'd see groups of people standing around unable to communicate because they don't have the words to say what they want to say. I don't see that happening.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

According to this story, "English provides the bulk of loanwords." I cannot tell you how many times I have read or heard this ridiculous statement, mostly by Japanese.

Apparently the Chinese loanwords, which are by far the most numerous loanwords in Japanese, were borrowed so long ago that the average Japanese doesn't recognize them as foreign. Usually I have to take them into a discussion of onyomi (pronunciation of Chinese characters derived from the Chinese pronunciation) and kunyomi (pronunciation of Chinese characters based on yamato kotoba corresponding to the meaning of the Chinese character) before they get it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Moondog, I get what you're saying, but as you yourself point out, the Chinese borrowings are no longer considered loanwords or foreign. They've been fully localized. And even when it comes to English loan words, clearly some are more foreign than others...I bet even Hoji Takahashi can't live without a handful of English gairaigo. He's just bothered by the newer influxes...some of which seem pretty unnecessary. "Asurito" seems to be going too far.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Smith,

"silly", ya, that's why it was a joke!

Sorry, you haven't actually identified any real problems. Just described what languages actually do, sometimes fast, like Japan today (or English between 1100 and 1200 AD), and sometimes slower. But it always happens, even if there is no language to borrow from, because the speakers will use words in new ways and change sound patterns (pronunciation patterns) and even grammar, all by theyselffs. In the case of Japan today, you have what was an isolated island country suddenly thrown open to the world and tons of new philosophical, cultural, culinary, technological, etc etc concepts enter, it is only natural that these things bring words with them to describe them. Even if there were possible native close concepts and words already there.

Oh, and btw English has no Latin roots. English is a Germanic language. The fact that we have enough Latin and French words in our language to make you say that just proves how big a borrower English has been.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Cleo: "I don't see anybody complaining..."

Obviously the guy trying to sue NHK is, and he's not alone.

Lowly: "Oh, and btw English has no Latin roots. English is a Germanic language. The fact that we have enough Latin and French words in our language to make you say that just proves how big a borrower English has been."

Ummm... sorry, but you're wrong. While, as I have said on this thread before, much of the latin words used in English were derived from other Romance languages and became English, a good number come straight from Latin, some 29% or so, almost the same as that borrowed from languages like Germanic around 29%. Greek is about 6%. French about 29%, and all of that taken from Latin. Nonetheless, I'm not arguing that language is not fluid or that it should not change, I'm saying here it's being changed solely due to popular culture while schools insist on teaching "classical Japanese". Trust me, I've seen the test scores of many, and it wouldn't take Shakespeare to 'rue the day' the language changed to become incomprehensible among generations. I just watched the WC soccer game and the amount of Japanese-English used was, while about 10,000% less worse than baseball, horrible.

Japanese in the future will be like a pidgen language if this keeps up. Might make understanding some of the characters in Blade-Runner a little easier.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, perhaps there is no meaning in keeping up this debate, but

"um, you're wrong", well, presence of words does not indicate the actual roots of a language. It is ironic you keep bringing this up, as it is exactly what you are arguing about with Japanese. English is, in fact, a Germanic language, with the same origins as German Swedish, Icelandic etc. Later on we took on a whole lot of French words (invasion and subjugation) and even later on we took on a whole lot of Latin (on purpose, mostly related to education, religion and science developments and trends around the renaissance). But this by no means makes English a "Romance language" (the term for languages that came out of Latin, like French and Spanish). English is one of the more changed Germanic languages (i.e. other Germanic languages are a little closer to what Old Germanic used to be) but it is still a Germanic language nonetheless. And this change has nothing to do with the presence of Latinate words (which other Germanic languages have a good deal of too btw).

A language and what its roots are is determined by grammar and syntax first and foremost. If you mean Latin roots in a merely conversational context, like a long time ago we borrowed lots of Latin words, then, ok, sure, but in a linguistic sense, English is not an extension of the Latin family tree, and the original English speakers did not come from Rome. So, sorry, no cigar.

What Japanese is doing now is very similar to what Eng did in 1100-1200 and then again in the Renaissance (mostly) with Freench and then Latin, which is, being a society in flux and consequently taking on lots of new words. So by bringing up Latin and English you are kind of making my and Cleo's point for us. It is the same as Jpns now, and also Japanese 1000 yrs ago when they off and on imported bucket-loads of Chinese words. That did not give them Chinese roots, and also it shows that change will just happen no matter what.

This is as natural as can be, and sorry, I do not feel a whisp of sadness that there is a radical difference in word use between generations. As I said, languages w/o outside contact change themselves radically even w/o outside influence. In fact, languages that are not written down can sometimes change at an amazing rate such that a difference of two generations or more can make it nearly impossible to speak if the older generation hasn't been close to the change. The actual grammar itself changes radically. This is one of the reasons why it is nearly impossible to determine origins and relations of the myriad Australian aboriginal tongues and N American Indian languages. This is something it is harder for us in the modern world, depending on the printed word for hundreds of years, to imagine. Print and education has an immense slowing effect.

In short, there is no "normal" or "true" Japanese. And as for pidgin language, I think you might want to research that term a little more, you are using it incorrectly. It would be basically impossible for Japanese to just become a pidgin, but I don't feel like going in to that now.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"I don't see anybody complaining..."

Obviously the guy trying to sue NHK is, and he's not alone.

That guy is complaining about the recent use of loan-words from English, not the now-so-well-integrated-into-the-language-that-no one-thinks-they're-loanwords-anymore vast, huge, humungous number of loan words from Chinese. Plus a writing system that has been messed around to such an extent that no modern Chinese speaker can read modern Japanese and make more than a guess at the meaning. Obviously the guy suing NHK isn't complaining about those loanwords, nor does he think their use makes Japanese any less 'Japanese', otherwise he wouldn't use so many of them in the title of his one-man protest group. What he wants to keep taisetsu is one version of the language with one huge set of loanwords, at the expense of another, more modern, evolving version of Japanese with a growing number of loanwords from another language.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites