In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Innovative Japanese Borrowings in English Garland Cannon .Before the 20th century, neologisms recorded in English-language dictionaries consisted chiefly of transfers from other languages, either as phonetic loans like the 1553 bonze (< F but ultimately < Jp bonso, now bozu), or as some sort of translation like the 1876 Arita ware (< Jp Arita-yaki). During the medieval period and the Renaissance , there was large-scale borrowing from the classical languages and the Romance descendants of Latin, but with steadily decreasing reliance on foreign elements to expand the word stock. An analysis of 13,683 neologisms added to English much more recently (the last four decades) has shown that loanwords now total only about 10 percent of new English words. That is, existing elements now furnish almost all of the needed constituents, even though many of these are naturalized forms of earlier borrowings into English, e.g., hologram (< holo- + -gram; Cannon 1987, 252). Japanese, like English, is heavily composed of elements borrowed from other languages, and its vocabulary has probably undergone the largest transfer (both quantitative and proportional) from English of all modern languages. During the Meiji period (1868-1912), Emperor Mutsuhito's systematic westernization of Japanese ideas and culture stimulated radical but serious suggestions that Japanese was a dated language and was retarding modern industrial development. So English should be adopted as the national language to move Japan into the modern world. Today "Japlish" flourishes throughout Japanese culture: in the media, there are the television program Ekusaito Naita 'Excite Nighter' and the weekly magazine Friday. Some of the Top Twenty hit songs in Tokyo have English names (McCrum, and others 1986, 43). This article shows that recent transfers from Japanese into English are reflecting such prior English influence on Japanese and are thereby creating large questions about the very concept of borrowing. Innovative Japanese Borrowings in English91 Lexical and other elements are likely to be transferred between two languages in contact, and such borrowing is apt to expand as the people who speak those languages gain more influence in the world. The history of Japanese-English lexical interrelationships exemplifies this principle, with a rise in the number of loanwords as the two peoples engaged in more interaction politically, militarily, commercially, and culturally. The number of Japanese loans in English has increased steadily since 1940 (Cannon 1981, 1994c). Fennell's Stanford Dictionary (1892) indicated that Japanese had given English only 27 items by 1892 and was in 22d place in the list of foreign sources, with Latin in first place and Spanish in fourth place. By 1987, however, Japanese and Spanish were tied for second place among recent suppliers, but trailing far behind French (Cannon 1987). The tabulated 276 English neologisms of Japanese provenience outnumber the 227 items of Spanish origin, to make Japanese the second most productive modern supplier and slowly gaining on French (Cannon 1994b). Donald Smith (1974) proposed three types of language contact between Japanese and English. First, Japanese English (produced by Japanese speakers) consists of English that is heavily influenced by the phonology, grammar, and lexicon of Japanese. Instructions that come with Japanese products are well-known examples of Japanese English. A parallel variety of English Japanese is not notable mainly because so few English speakers learn the language of Japan. Second, English words are borrowed into Japanese with various degrees of phonological and morphological adaptation. Twentiethcentury examples are English demonstration borrowed as demonsutor ëshon and then clipped to demo (which English borrowed back about 1964 as a reinforcement for the English demo, neologized by 1936; Matsuda 1986, 52), and mass communication borrowed as masukomyunik ëshon. A comparable recent example from Japanese to English is kinjite, literally 'forbidden trick', used as the title of a 1989 Charles Bronson movie. Older Japanese loanwords in English of the same type are shogun (1615) and sake (1617). Third, Japanese borrows some English elements but uses them to produce Japanese words that are innovative in various ways. An example of this "Ingrish," as Smith called it, is the probably nonce word salariat, recorded by Dwight Bolinger as used in 1931 (American Speech 18 [February 1943], 62) and modeled on English words like proletariat and secretariat with the suffix -at. Smith guessed rightly that this third type was unlikely to have much effect on Japanese items imported into English as neologisms. That is, an item like sal- 92Garland Cannon aryman, which English has borrowed from the Japanese sarart-man (compounded from the borrowed English salary + man), is unlikely to replace English white-collar worker (Algeo and Algeo 253-58). As English became steadily more stylish in Japan, and persons who used English were considered more modern and cultivated, many examples of Japlish (the more general term for mixed Japanese and English) began to appear and are increasing in number. Modern examples like rajio 'radio', terebi 'television', and erebetä 'elevator' illustrate Japlish (Matsuda 1985-86 has other examples). There is sometimes a discrepancy between styles of use; the bookish Japlish hotto doggu 'hot dog' is usually pronounced as hot dog, a less adapted form. And in Japlish the grammatical components are ignored, e.g., fry-pan 'frying pan' and ham-egg 'ham and eggs'. Such examples show that Japanese phonotactics are being wrenched, because syllabic structure requires a terminal vowel (or a syllabic /n/). Zero was already a well-established borrowing in Japan when its representation as 0 was adopted as the designation for the feared fighter plane, originally called Zero-san. All American military personnel in the Pacific soon knew of the Zero, and today the Japanese are more likely to use zero than the native word when, for example, giving their telephone number. Considering that numbers are powerful tokens in a culture, this represents a significant movement toward the Anglicization of Japanese culture. One of the English word-formation processes that Japanese has particularly embraced is the creation of initialisms. Recent Japanese transfers into English (recorded in new-word dictionaries like Barnhart (1990), The Barnhart Dictionary Companion (1982-), and MerriamWebster 's 1993 Addenda Section) include two abbreviations. Nikkei (formed from Nihon Keizai Shimbun, or Japanese Economic Journal, Japan's leading financial newspaper) in fact is in the international commercial vocabulary. The spread of JSP (< Japanese Socialist Party) is almost as wide, and one can hear that abbreviation on NHK by shortwave either in Japanese or English newscasts. JSP shows how far Japanese has gone in utilizing English. Its etymon is Nihon-shakaitö, which the Japanese translated as Japanese Socialist Party, from which in turn the abbreviation was derived. Japanese workers particularly like the American practice of initializing the names of their organizations, evidently feeling more modern if they are a part of NHK (Nihon-hösö-kyökai 'Japan Broadcasting Corporation', like the American NBC), Nikkei, Jetro ('Japan External Trade Organ' from Nihon-bôekishinko-kaï), JSTU ('Japan Senior Innovative Japanese Borrowings in English93 High School Teachers Union' from Nihon-kötögakkö-kyöshokuinkumiai ), NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), etc. The Kenkyusha dictionary and Kodansha encyclopedia contain numerous such examples . Japanese has even borrowed some English combining forms since World War II. Super- is taken in as süpä and is productive in derivations like süpä-tankä, which brings oil to the homeland. New becomes a combining form in many neologisms, e.g., nyu-taun 'new town' (Shibatani 219-20). Before leaving Smith's three types, we might note that many Japanese neologisms fall into a gray area between his second and third categories. However, 15 recent Japanese borrowings into English— breakfall, camcorder, eroduction, glocal, glocalization, glocalize, Japlish , mechatronics, metasequoia, mitomycin, mook, Pac-Man, parametron , protoanemonin, and Walkman—are examples of Japanese formations that are difficult or impossible to distinguish from native English forms. They use wholly English elements and, because some word-formation rules are the same in Japanese and English, they are indistinguishable from English neologisms except for an occasional semantic innovation that native English speakers might consider quaint. In essence, in adopting these words, English has borrowed an English word to fill a semantic gap in the existing English lexicon, as illustrated by all 15 words and salaryman 'a middle-level business executive ', which overlaps white-collar worker but contains other semantic qualities. This borrowing of forms consisting of native elements combined in a foreign language suggests the need for a qualification or even redefinition of the concept of borrowing between languages in contact. Of course, the transliteration of the borrowed item from Japanese script into English blurs the fact that its Japanese pronunciation might strike a native English speaker as distinctly foreign: but these 15 words are taken from writing, and so the pronunciation difference is irrelevant. It must be stressed that the 15 items are not technical terms that exist only in special contexts, though some surely have such technical usage. All occur widely in general contexts, are a part of the English lexicon, and provide meanings not previously available in English. The trademarks Walkman and Pac-Man are wholly English in appearance even though native Japanese speakers created the words for Japanese usage. They may sound a bit curious to native English speakers, but they were not created as appealing names to persuade 94Garland Cannon Americans to buy the products so named. They are English terms made in Japan, and the number is increasing. Walkman nicely illustrates the mutual influences of languages and cultures in contact. The original Sony stereo set was improved by adding a radio and reexported to Japan, whereupon Walkman sets incorporated this invaluable new feature. Now many competitors hear their product called a Walkman. Pac-Man reflects the English propensity for catchy, shortened spellings, as in the altered spelling of pack, but with only accidental resemblance to the old English packman 'peddler'. Interestingly, PacMan is relatively unknown in Tokyo, in contrast to the popularity of the video game in the United States and its American-spawned compounds like Pac-Man defense and Pac-Man strategy. The Pac portion is probably Japlish, from the adaptation paku-paku 'pack away'. (Japanese also gave English two other recent trademarks, Nintendo and Betamax, the latter utilizing beta-beta 'all over' rather than the borrowed Greek beta.) The two "English" trademarks are the result of compounding, which in Japanese, until fairly recently, was restricted to Chinese elements rather than to elements of purely Japanese origin. For example, gengogaku gairon 'oudine of linguistics' is entirely formed from words of Chinese origin, in contrast to what would be a very clumsy effort utilizing only native Japanese elements such as kotoba-no-manabi no oyoso-no-osie (a paraphrase furnished by Tadao Shimomiya). The use of compounded elements from another language is itself somewhat of an innovation in recent Japanese neologizing. All 15 of these items were created by Japanese bilinguals. For example, the three glocal words reflect the modern English trend of nearly simultaneous coinage of derivative words of several word classes with a single base word. Centuries ago, a blend like glocal (Jp < E global + local) would have later produced the derivative glocalize, which in turn would produce glocalization. Now they come into existence practically at the same time. The trio parallels the near-simultaneous neologizing of English immunosuppressor, immunosuppressive (the noun and the adjective), immunosuppression, and immunosuppressant . Seven blends exhibit another English pattern. Thus English borrowed eroduction (a rather rare neologism coined in Japanese < erotic + production), Japlish (< Japanese [a word ultimately of Chinese origin, rather than the native Japanese Nihon or Nippon] + English ), and mechatronics (< mechanics + electronics). Mook (< maga- Innovative Japanese Borrowings in English95 zine + book), a useful blend, denotes a book produced in magazine format and style. The other three Japanese blends, camcorder (< camera + recorder), mitomycin (< mitosis + -mycin), and panametron (< parametric + -on), had the same origin as the remaining two items of the 15 ambiguous words, in that they were coined by Japanese bilingual scientists in Japan and first published in a Japanese journal. So in a sense these five words were coined for the scientific world, regardless of the language of the individual scientist, thereby suggesting the pluralistic quality of some items in the languages of modern cultures. All evidence suggests that Japanese will be creating increasing numbers of such words in the future, complementing the enormous amount of neologizing in recent decades. Metasequoia and protoanemonin were created by derivation, through use of the initial bound-forms meta- and proto-, respectively. They exactly duplicate the word-formation process responsible for hundreds of recent English neologisms (Cannon 1987, 166-75). Thus the 15 items duplicate four different processes common in recent English neologizing: compounding (for breakfall and the two trademarks), simultaneous creation (of one root in multiple wordclasses ), blending, and derivation. Indeed, compounding and derivation account for 53.7 percent of 13,683 recent English neologisms (Cannon 1987, 236). All 15 have had no effect on the word-formation processes now used to create neologisms in English. In fact, they are so regular that they can be easily rule-generated and might even deceptively imply that modern neologizing in English is much simpler than it actually is. It is too early to know whether this may portend similar lexical creation in other high-tech cultures. (High tech is also a Japanese neologism.) A few other recent Japanese loanwords almost fall into this same group. First, shokku 'shock' in Japan does not usually portray an ordinary or physical shock, but rather, in a somewhat jocular way, a significant economic or political shock in Japanese affairs. Thus the Japanese financial shock when Nixon floated the dollar and visited the People's Republic of China (without even hinting to Japan about these impending actions) was dubbed Nikuson-shokku. Second, beddo names a bed that can be raised or lowered electronically . This meaning could not be conveyed by an English expression like Japanese-style bed because of confusion with the old loanword futon. Actually, futon has been reborrowed into English to convey the recent meaning of 'low-slung Japanese bed or mattress', as opposed to the traditional, long-known 'Japanese bed-quilt to unroll 96Garland Cannon and sleep on'. However, when Japanese borrowed bedroom and bed jacket, the resulting Japlish beddorümu and beddo-jaketto were not taken back into English because they are identical in meaning with their English etyma. Third, Japglais (adapted < Japaglais 'Japanese coinings built from English elements by Japanese speakers') could be interpreted by a naive English speaker as the use of a foreign element to form a new English word. The word Japglais was modeled on Franglais as a nearsynonym of Japlish. English has long hybridized borrowings, as in the French transfer après to provide a combining form for recent neologisms like après-sun and après-surgery. The long-naturalized German -burger and -fest have produced many English items—rabbitburger, boozefest, and so on. Fourth, another hybrid blend is Tofutti, which might be analyzed as an English blending of the long-naturalized tofu with the also-borrowed tutti-frutti. Fifth, the German loanword sudoite involved a borrowing of the name of the Japanese mineralogist Toshio Sudo (b. 191 1), to which was added -it and therefore required the English adaptation of the suffix to -ite. Three additional, recent borrowings are also onomastic but are indistinguishable in form and structure from English neologisms currently joining the language and so perhaps should raise the total of ambiguous items to eighteen. Who is to know that Tago-Sato-Kosaka 'a comet discovered by these three amateur Japanese astronomers' does not name three Japanese-Americans? English added elements to two other names, to produce Takayasu's disease (which utilizes the name of its Japanese discoverer) and Chediak-Higashi syndrome (which names the French and Japanese physicians who discovered this genetic disorder). Like many languages, Japanese has long had a powerful capacity to form new words by compounding (even if applied mainly to Chinese roots), as well as by derivation and blending. It did not borrow the processes from English, but the Japanese are fascinated by English and closely watch what is going on in English neologizing. Does the phenomenon represented by the 15 loanwords occur especially in languages with lexicons heavily built of borrowed elements , such as Albanian, Armenian, Japanese, and English?1 Is this a 1 Décsy 1973, 184 proposes three degrees of openness to the reception of foreign influences: "introvertierte Sprachen," which are negative to the reception of ______________Innovative Japanese Borrowings in English____________97 natural, ultimate development for a language like Japanese, which has always warmly welcomed loanwords into its lexicon? Except for the fact that Japanese sometimes seems to go out of its way to choose English elements instead of existing native words when creating neologisms , one might argue that the large English proportion in the present-day Japanese lexicon would almost automatically cause the creation of a dozen or so words like these periodically. Somewhat similarly, English today is creating huge numbers of originally technical names from Latin and Greek roots borrowed as long ago as the Renaissance (e.g., the trademark Argyrol). Yet it is not creating words built solely from Japanese elements, and about half of the 15 Japanese loanwords were rather popular in origin. Modern German has also created many, often initially technical , items from long-naturalized classical elements. However, these usually fit German grammatical patterns and utilize German affixational forms rather than classical patterns and affixes, as would be required if they were comparable examples. Many Germans are quite fluent in English (or even bilingual), but the only recent comparable English borrowing from German is Gorbasm. Moreover, this was a hybrid blend formed from the Russian name Gorbachev and English orgasm, not an item from purely English elements, and may be an anomaly in German word formation. Thus German Orgasmus retains its -ismus suffix, which English usually adapts to -ism when borrowing items like modernism, though that English item was first borrowed as Modernismus. When English has taken numerous, originally technical German names, it usually has added e to fit the English spelling pattern, as in acetone (< Aceton < acet- + -on), acetopyrine (< Acetopyrin ), and acmite (< Akmit). By contrast, no such change was necessary for the 15 Japanese transfers. Today, English is increasingly borrowing German items (Pfeffer and Cannon 1994), which sometimes retain the German affixes and even the High German plural-forms. That is not to imply that the former German xenophobic antipathy to French and English words has reappeared, for recent German word-formation is as innovative as any other and utilizes many French and English elements. Modern German has a huge stock of English Fremdwörter in its lexicon. Arabic foreignisms, for example, Icelandic, Finnish, Hungarian, and Modern Greek; "neutrale Sprachen," for example, Polish, Danish, and Swedish; and "Mischsprachen " as highly positive toward foreign influence, for example, English, Lapp, Maltese, and Albanian. 98Garland Cannon has borrowed comparatively few English elements and apparently has created no items composed entirely of these elements, much less lend such items back to English (Cannon 1994a). Nor do French, Spanish, or Italian items recently borrowed into English exhibit wholly English elements. English took Fidelista intact from Spanish, but adapted Fidelismo to Fidelism while simultaneously borrowing the original Spanish Fidelismo. For the present, Japanese seems to be the only language that significantly uses elements consciously from another language as building blocks to form items sufficiently attractive and useful for the items to be borrowed back later. The transfer of English or German technical names into modern Greek or a Romance language like Italian or Spanish is a different matter. The classical roots that German and English use massively in neologisms have been so wholly naturalized over the centuries that they are essentially native now. Moreover, the many International Scientific Vocabulary items exhibit no quaintness in structure or meaning . Thus English Amitriptyline was constructed so as to express the ingredients of this antidepressant medication and gives a different impression to English speakers from that given by Walkman. The 15 words pose theoretical questions, raising thoughts about universal word-formation processes. Do they suggest an international development in some languages in contact, by which, when two or more languages have historically developed some identical word-formation processes, one language can then borrow the other language's useful neologisms originally composed of elements from its own lexical stock? This process seems to work in only one direction. Why is English not creating words constructed from solely Japanese elements, though it is granted that the Japanese elements in the English lexicon number only about 1,394, apart from later derivatives (Cannon, in press)? The recent English creation of pseudo-loanwords like the wouldbe Spanish Costa del Crime, modeled on Costa del Sol, or the wouldbe German wisenheimer, modeled on Guggenheimer, involves a somewhat different process. But similarly, why is French, which has a large English content in its vocabulary, not creating and then supplying such words to English? Rather, the French government is advancing a language law that would spell an end to English advertisements and even change some commercial names, in an effort to stop the encroachment of Franglais. On the other hand, do the 15 Japanese loanwords represent a Innovative Japanese Borrowings in English ________ 99 modern anomaly, reflecting the creativity of a technologically advanced people who aggressively create catchy names for activities, processes, and products for themselves and ultimately for others worldwide? Even if they are an anomaly, they require at least a qualification of the meaning of loanword, which is presumed to be a phonetic transfer and so, almost by definition, must be "different" and thus involve at least modest adaptation if naturalization is to be effected. These words have undergone no naturalization, are intuitively perceived as English neologisms, and thus were promptly accepted into English. Indeed, contacts between languages in the future may be more and more intense , as existing languages seem to be developing in a converging direction . English made in Japan fits this paradigm perfectly. Japanese items like the trademarks Walkman and Pac-Man, as well as Nintendo and Betamax, may now be a part of a world lingua franca. Whatever the explanation and ultimate effect, such words and particularly the 15 ambiguous items provide fascinating records of mutual linguistic influences that add a new dimension to the very concept of borrowing. They further show that the data studied in contact linguistics is conceptually and methodologically intertwined with the data traditionally studied in contrastive linguistics (Ivir and Kalogjera 1991). Seen in this light, the 15 items are more interesting than recent loanwords in English that became household words almost overnight, such as Japanese karate and ninja, Russian perestroïka, and Arabic intifada. Such items show clear evidence of increasing the rate of adoption in the future and offer a dramatic picture of how powerfully English has affected Japanese in creating new words that are so useful that English takes them for its own use. Acknowledgments This paper was originally presented in 1993 at the annual meeting of the International Linguistic Association in New York, where valuable suggestions were made. In the collecting and analyzing of the corpus, I am indebted to Frank Tompa and the University of Waterloo Centre for the New Oxford Dictionary, who used their online access to the complete OED2; Robert Burchfield, Edmund Weiner, and Sara Tulloch, of the New Oxford English Dictionary Department, for assistance and searching the database of the OED2 (1989) as well as the CD-ROM of the OED; Sol Steinmetz and Jesse Sheidlower, of Random House; Frederick C. Mish, of Merriam-Webster Inc.; David Jost, 100Garland Cannon of The American Heritage Dictionary; Victoria Neufeldt, formerly of Webster's New World Dictionary; David Barnhart, of The Barnhart Dictionary Companion; the late Robert Austerlitz, of Columbia University ; Yutaka Matsuda, of Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya; Tadao Shimomiya, of Gakushuin University; and to numerous students including native Japanese speakers who served as informants. References Algeo, John, and Adele Algeo. 1993. "Among the New Words." American Speech (fall), 253-58. Barnhart Dictionary Companion. 1982-. Ed., Clarence L. Barnhart and David K. Barnhart. Cold Spring NY: Lexik House. Barnhart, Robert K., Sol Steinmetz, and Clarence L. Barnhart. 1990. Third Barnhart Dictionary of New English. New York: H. W. Wilson. Cannon, Garland. 1981. "Japanese Borrowings in English." American Speech 56:190-206. ---------. 1987. Historical Change and English Word-Formation: Recent Vocabulary . Berne: Peter Lang. ---------. 1994a. The Arabic Contributions to the English Language: An Historical Dictionary. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. ---------. 1994b. "Modem Spanish-Based Lexical Items in English." Dictionaries 15:117-31. ---------. 1994c. "Recent Japanese Borrowings into English." American Speech 69:373-97. ---------. The Japanese Contributions to the English Language: An Historical Dictionary. In press. Décsy, Gyula. 1973. Die linguistische Struktur Europas. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz . Fennell, C. A. M. 1892. The Stanford Dictionary of Anglicised Words and Phrases. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Ivir, Vladimir, and Damir Kalogjera, ed. 1991. Languages in Contact and Contrast: Essays in Contact Linguistics (= Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 54). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary. 1974. 4th ed. Ed. Koh Matsuda , Tokyo: Kenkyusha. Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan. 1983. 9 vols. Tokyo: Kodansha. Matsuda, Yutaka. 1985-86. "Cross-over Languages: Japanese and English." Kwansei Gakuin University Annual Studies 34:41-93; 35:47-80. McCrum, Robert, William Cram, and Robert MacNeil. 1986. The Story of English. New York: Viking. Merriam-Webster Inc. Addenda Section 1993: A Supplement to Webster's Third New International Dictionary. Ed. Frederick C. Mish. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster Inc. Oxford English Dictionary. 1989. 2d ed., 20 vols. Oxford: Oxford UP. Innovative Japanese Borrowings in English101 Pfeffer, J. Alan, and Garland Cannon. 1994. German Loanwords in English: An Historical Dictionary. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Rodríguez, Félix, and Garland Cannon. 1994. "Remarks on the Origin and Evolution of Abbreviations and Acronyms." In Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, Ed. Francisco Fernández, Miguel Fuster, and Juan José Calvo, vol. 113: 261-72. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Shibatani, Masayoshi. 1990. The Languages of Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Smith, Donald L. 1974. "Ribbing Ingrish: Innovative Borrowing in Japanese." American Speech 49:185-96. ...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 90-101
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.