Linguistics

Beauty is in the Language of the Beholder

Is a rose in full bloom beautiful? How about a decaying flower losing its petals? Are straight teeth or crooked teeth more aesthetically pleasing? Would you rather put a gilded porcelain vase or a warped, weathered piece … [Read more...]

Wasei-Eigo: I Can’t Believe It’s Not English!

Borrowing words from other languages is a phenomenon as old as language itself. That’s why, even though you probably don’t speak French, Latin, German, Spanish, AND Japanese, you can somehow comprehend the following … [Read more...]

Weird Kanji – Unusual Readings and their Origins

Good old kanji! You know, the 50,000 some odd characters borrowed from Chinese that are used to read Japanese? They're daunting at first, but get easier once you know the rules. There's the on’yomi and kun’yomi readings, … [Read more...]

What I Learned About Learning Japanese From Spending 3 Weeks In Taiwan

My (friend's) wedding / (my) vacation time in Taiwan has come to a close, and while these three weeks have been a lot of fun, they've also been very educational as well. You see, I wanted to attempt to remember what it's … [Read more...]

Japanese, The Borrower Language Part 3: Why They Do It

Japanese is one of those languages that is seen as mysterious and exotic to many Westerners. It may seem that way, but if you've read Part 1 and Part 2 of my "Borrower Language" series, or if you are familiar with … [Read more...]

Japanese, the Borrower Language Part 2: Twisting Words

Want to read part 1 of this series? Read it here - Japanese, The Borrower Language part 1: Where the Japanese Language Came From. The phenomenon of language borrowing is in no way unique, but it seems to stand out more … [Read more...]

Playing With Words Japanese Style: Kotoba Asobi

Words words words! Tofugu has done various posts about various types of wordplay in the past, but I thought that I would contribute my own compilation of fun things that you can do with those (Japanese) sounds that make … [Read more...]

Japanese, The Borrower Language Part 1: Where The Japanese Language Came From

English loanwords in Japanese are often a source of amusement for native speakers of English learning Japanese as a second language. There’s so many of them, it seems like if you don’t know a word in Japanese, you can just … [Read more...]