JAPLISH: The Joys of Japanese English
The influence of Western popular culture and the many foreign businessmen and tourists in Japan means that the English language has now become very common. Try as they might, though, they don't always get it quite right. This book is a collection of these failed attempts of the Japanese to get their heads around the complexities of English. More
A coffee shop in Nagasaki calls itself "Placebo Labor Handbag". Anybody who has been to Japan will already be familiar with the strange, charming, tortured and often nonsensical English, known as Japlish.
The influence of American popular culture and the many foreign businessmen and tourists in Japan means that the English language has now become very common. Try as they might, though, they don't always get it quite right and as a result wherever you go you find lots of Japlish. This book is a collection of these failed attempts of the Japanese to get their heads around the complexities of English.
Japlish is not laughing at the Japanese but with them. The Japanese have just as much fun laughing at our attempts to speak their language. When one Western manufacturer introduced its sticky-tape into Japan it translated its slogan "Sticks like crazy" as "It sticks stupidly". A brand of cigarettes was advertised, not as making you "Feel Free" as intended, but as making you "Feel Empty-headed". In fact, what you most often get in Japlish is a sense of the deep-seated politeness of the Japanese.
Sadly, the Japanese are a bit touchy about their Japlish, seeing the grammatical errors as a loss of face. Instead, they should delight in the whole new branch of the English language they are developing. Fortunately, the difficulties involved for a Japanese person learning English and vice versa are such that Japlish is here to stay.
Yap Yarn was born on the Pacific island of Yap to a Bougainville mother and an Australian father descended from the Dutch historian of Rome Jaap Jarneveldt. He has spent most of his life lumberjacking in Sweden, Greenland and Canada, hijacking briefly from Prestwick to Gander (Newfoundland) and landing less briefly in a Prince Edward Island jail. Yap has now retired to Cheltenham (New South Wales) with his pet gibbon called Ted (after the Roman historian) and his pet marmoset Marmoset (after the Duke of Marmoset). He has more quirks than a koala has fleas, and has been intrigued by Japanese English ever since he met a T-shirt in Tokyo emblazoned with the urgent cry "Let's T-shirt!"
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