Language of the Week: Japanese

japanese

Konnichiwa ! (hello)

As you may already be aware, Japanese is the official language of Japan, meaning that it is the native language of over 125 million people. In Japanese, “Japan” is written using two characters “日本 ” meaning land of the rising sun.

Japanese actually borrows many words from other languages such as English, Portuguese and German.

For example:

In English, we often shorten the word television to TV, which in Japanese is テレビ pronounced as [terebi]

The word “bread” in Portuguese is pão and in Japanese is パン  pronounced as [pan].

Lastly, the german word for worker is Arbeit and in Japanese is アルバイト pronounced as [arubaito].

There are quite a few different writing systems in Japanese; Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji and Romaji. Hiragana comes from a version of cursive Chinese calligraphy. It is what native Japanese students are first taught how to write in school. Kanji is considered to be most difficult to learn and is essentially the same as Chinese characters and is able to convey complicated and lengthy phrases short and precise. Katakana is derived from Kanji and are most often used by Japanese comic book (called manga) artists to show that the speaker is a foreigner. Lastly, Romaji is the Latin or in other words English alphabet used to transcribe Japanese.

I hope that didn’t scare you away from learning Japanese, an advantage for students studying Japanese is that the words do not have genders and a word is written in the same way no matter if it’s singular or plural.

Of course, I am never one to miss out on a joke, the Japanese like to tell jokes in the form of a story, and not short two-liners. Here is a shortened version of a very famous story by Manjū Kowai:

友人達とお酒を飲んでいると、ある一人の人物がこの世で何が一番怖いか皆に問いかけます。一人はクモ、またもう一人はナメクジ、その横の人は蛇と答えます。そのうち一人はまんじゅうが一番怖い。。と答えました。それを聞くと他の友達は良くある冗談として大量のまんじゅうを買い込み、彼を一緒に部屋に閉じ込めてしまいます。しばらくして皆が様子を見ようと扉を開けると、なんと彼はまんじゅうを全部食べてしまっているではないですか!友達の一人が言います。『なんだ、お前まんじゅうが怖いって言ったじゃあないか。このうそつきめ!本当は何が怖いか正直に言ってみろ。』と聞くと、彼は『はて、、』と言ってしばらく考え込み、『いいタイミングで聞いてくれたものだ。今はおいしいお茶が本当に怖い』。

A few friends are sitting around having some drinks. One of them asks the rest what they’re most scared of. One says spiders, another says slugs, the guy next to him snakes and so on…
Finally, one of them admits it’s manjū cakes that scare him the most. So, as a practical joke, his friends go off to get heaps of manju cakes and lock him in a room with them. After a while, they open the door – only to see that he’s actually eaten all of them! « Hey! » shouts one of the friends, « I thought you said you were terrified of manjū! You liar! So come on, tell us the truth now! What is it that you’re really frightened of? » « Well, » says the man thinking for a while, « Funny you ask that, but at this very moment, I think I’m really scared of a nice cup of tea…. »

さようなら (sayounara) bye !

 



Who are we?

Agence de traduction AlltradisAlltradis is today a key player in translation and conference interpreting.

Since its creation in 1995, Alltradis has translated over 19,000 written projects in various language combinations, organized simultaneous interpreting for the largest international conferences and gathered a long list of loyal clients. Alltradis has truly become a fundamental part of their success. We specialize in diverse industries such as; medical/pharmaceutical translation, cosmetic/luxury product translation, technical and industrial translation, marketing/finance/HR translation, legal translation, etc.

Many world leading companies trust our expertise – what are you waiting for? For more information, visit our website: www.alltradis.us


Une réflexion au sujet de « Language of the Week: Japanese »

  1. تحميل اغانى

    Hi,I read your blogs named « Language of the Week: Japanese » daily.Your humoristic style is witty, keep up the good work!

    Répondre

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *