Are there complaints about too many English words in Japanese?

電話 is actually Japanese even if it uses on’yomi. Also, 電車 and 電子 are Japanese電話


If they’re loan words, when do we get them back?


I also first thought of Dogen when I read the title of this thread, but thought of this video instead.




There are definitely a lot of people who dislike it because they feel like it takes away from the german language. And there is a very big group of elderly people that doesn’t understand a single word so they get overwhelmed by words like fair trade, manager/management, cheesy, sugar free or on sale that are quite common in Germany now. I actually had to translate these words to my grandmother last week to explain what all the fancy terms mean she sees in the supermarket or somewhere else. A lot of these people also dislike it simply because they don’t understand the signs etc. in their own country anymore. That is something that I find quite sad. Going out with her makes me realize just how much she doesn’t understand in her daily life anymore.


I can definitely understand the point of elderly people not liking english. Yes language always changed but it never changed so fast. Also we adopt english words that have no connection (easily graspable connection) to german words Before that french and latin words were mostly used by the rich and educated.
Just imagine you have problems in your daily life because you don’t understand the words used in your own country anymore.
I had to explain to my grandmother what the words management, fair trade and sugar free mean just last week because she don’t know any english. She was confused and insecure that a product she always bought was suddenly advertised as “sugar free” since she didn’t know what that means.

I don’t know about that; I’d say there are quite a lot of complaints about “svengelska” within my age group (early 90’s kids, so not that old).

I’m not one to huff and puff about “kids these days with their slang” (my own idiolect mixes and matches quite freely between inner-city Stockholmese, suburban Stockholmese and a bit of Gutnish, with a Norrlandic hfffp thrown in for good measure), and I’m all for variety (both within one’s own vocabulary and between different people), but I do think it is a pity when perfectly good words are displaced by English, which is already such an influential language.


Just wanna throw in my two cents. I am Swedish (and I work in IT so I hear this stuff a lot) and I’m really against the idea of replacing existing words in Swedish with English words. It’s not uncommon to hear younger people (I am not very old btw) replacing entire sentences with English. It makes me a little sad.

Maybe Japanese isn’t as threatened, but when a language is spoken by just a few million people, I think it’s nice to actually nurture it a little. Adding to a language is fine, sometimes you need to do it, but replacing things just to sound international, I think it’s a bit saddening. I suspect that for Sweden one big part of it is the strange desire to be basically become America that has been going on for the last 30 or so years. And how American popular culture is widely dominating over Swedish.

It’d be nice to hear the Japanese perspective on it. I know they’ve had periods during the last hundred of desperate westernization, but presently they also seem to cherish their own cultural output much more than say Sweden.


French as a language was (reasonably) common and popular among the rich and educated in Germany, but French loanwords entered the German standard vocabulary from the 17th century onwards in a similar fashion to how English loanwords enter it these days, e.g. Möbel, Adresse, Tante, Klavier, Fabrik, Balkon, Skandal, Armee, Vase, etc.

I honestly doubt it happened as fast as it is happening now in every part of our lifes.

Well the process is obviously accelerated by widespread literacy and access to the internet, television, and other media, which didn’t exist back in the day. The process, however, remains the same.

Language communities don’t borrow words for the sole sake of borrowing them, which is to say that loanwords usually fulfill a communicative need and as they become part of the lexicon, they’re understood by the majority of speakers. If they didn’t fulfill a need or weren’t widely understood, they wouldn’t stick around (unless they’re a technical term used only in a specific professional field).

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Funnily enough, with the exception of cancel (from latin), the rest of those words are part of the Germanic lexicon of English. So I guess you guys are just trying to take them back? :wink:

I work in IT and once got a call from the local university asking about how we say “computer” in Samoan. They were trying to decide between “komepiuta” and “komipiuta”.

I told them we call it a “pīsī” (pronounced like PC). :wink:


Yeah, the stuffy old men at l’Academie Française are fervent about it. Plus that hilarious law that forces French radio stations to play a minimum of 40% French music because they know that without it French music would be completely forgotten

I assume you disagree with the idea of that law, why is that? I don’t really like French music in Quebec where there is a similar law but I think the reasoning is pretty sound.

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Oh sorry if that came out a bit too smug, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with French music but I’m just pointing out the Americanization (or at least Anglicization) of French pop culture. I guess as a born and bred American I’ve got an ingrained objection to the government telling stations what they can and can’t play, but that’s not my country or my culture so I can’t say I have a real problem with it. It’s just something that’s going on (wow sorry I sounded like a real stuck up jerk there, I’m a bit long winded and idk how else to phrase it)

thankfully there is a law like that. one of the best and non-invasive way to learn (and remember) vocabulary is via songs. This is the reason children are nursery rhymes. and in fact i learnt many japanese words from anime songs.


Took the words right out of my mouth… uh, five hours ago.

In every language, in every generation, there’s always people going “ugh, kids these days”.

“Those kids and their slangy abbreviations, like “don’t” or “shouldn’t”.”

“All this new-fangled technology, like “paper”… back in my day, we wrote on slate, and liked it.”

There’s too much Chinese in Japanese!


It used to be bothered by all the English words.
Now I realize that Japanese is a cool language that takes loan words and makes it their own. ( Of course not only Japanese does this).

I’m still bothered by the word “make” for make up. It makes me angry for some reason.


I dunno, to me メーク sounds different enough from the English that I just think of it as its own thing.

I think a lot of two-word loan phrases ended up getting shortened like this in Japanese, either cutting off the second word or shortening both of them. Like アイス for “ice cream.”


I don’t understand why would someone complain about loan words? I mean most languages have loan words :sweat:
Personally it gets easier for me to study Japanese, I don’t have to memorize these new words because they sound similar to English.
Spanish is my native language and when I started learning English there were tons of English words that sound like Spanish words like Automatico (Automatic) or words like Organización (Organization) you just change the Ción for Tion, or words like Shampoo that are pronounced differently in Spanish ( some people pronounce Champú, because there is no SH sound)