Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hotel, hamburger and other "foreign words"

As I wrote about recently, there are several Japanese words -- such as sushi and sumo -- that are in the English language.

But it works the other way around, too.

Words from other countries are written in the Japanese script, katakana. They are usually pronounced about the same as they are in English, which is great news for me!

For example, if you ask for a menu in Japan, you'll be understood since it's the same word in Japanese. On the menu, you might see pizza, coffee and ice cream.

Granted, they'll most likely be written in katakana (so ピッザ, コッフェエ and イセクレム, respectfully), but they're pronounced just about the same way. So if you say the word pizza to a Japanese person who doesn't speak English, he or she will definitely know what that is. :)

There are only two pizza places in Kuji, and one of them (named 10.4) is just around the corner from my apartment. I like to buy frozen pizzas at the Universe grocery store; they're delicious! (and some are unique, like shrimp and corn pizza!)

Another food that everyone knows (and loves! At least I do...) is "cake." Although here they pronounce it like "kay-key."

This is a photo from the cute little cake shop I went to on Easter. What beauties!

A couple of other words that are not quite the same, but similar, are supermarket (pronounced "supa" in Japanese) and department store ("depato").

Right outside my apartment is a vending machine that sells cola. The sign above the machine is written in katakana, and reads "Dorinnku cona" ("Drink corner")...

Here are some more foreign words that can me found in Japanese: credit card, present, computer, America, jeans, tape, video game, and hotel.

Liz has a story about a Japanese guy who said the word unicorn in English. She was so impressed by his knowledge of English vocabulary...until she found out that "unicorn" is what the Japanese call it, too! Similarly, I was once really proud of a student who said the word "communication." But then I found out it's the same word in Japanese. Pretty tricky.

Well, that's all for now. Bye-bye!


Dawn said...

Strange to know that some words are the same in both languages - and even then some are very close and probably could be understood still.

The treats look good as always - you're gonna kill my diet - LOL.

Lauren said...

I am glad to know that there are some English words in Japan because if not who knows if I would be able to speak much!!!
Love you!!!

Anonymous said...

So true. I'm in the process of learning Korea; the basics. They have a lot of the same words as well or words that sound very similiar.