Do you have to speak words borrowed from English as if you're using katakana?

Yep, my local 宝くじ shop is named 川崎チャンスセンター。

You’ve got off lightly. My Dad calls it Kai-yoh-toh.


I have a huge problem in Japan when speaking Katakana words because I often use a more English pronunciation and I am not understood.

My most common problem is at Coco Ichi when I ask for “plus cheese topping” (プラス チーズ トッピンッグ). I dare you to say that Katakana-ly consistently. So I try to treat the Katakana words as Japanese only.

Be careful about guessing loanwords. Look up パンツ and you’ll understand why.


To be fair, “pants” can cause confusion between English speakers, too, depending on where they’re from.


Interesting, I didn’t even know that it meant something different in English depending on the location.

Jokes on you! English is not my first language!

Actually, Japanese vowels and consonants sound pretty similar to brazilian portuguese’s :slight_smile: So I had no problem with pronunciation.

But isn’t this how we get fun stories to tell our friends in the future?

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It’s all fun and games until you’re an American thinking your talking about trousers to someone quite young and you use パンツ…

I think I see Japanese people using English pronunciation in some dramas and those people are always considered to be annoying pieces of poop. Like jerks who just don’t care about other peoples opinions or don’t even understand that everyone hates it. I don’t think foreigners are judged same way tho, unless they do it clearly on purpose.

I think it’s more or less the same thing with English people that do the same with foreign languages and unnecessarily complicated English; just makes you look a little bit pretentious and no one likes people like that lol

It’d be embarrassing at the time, but probably not much more than that.

Unrelated, all this mention of パンツ is making me want to rewatch パンチライン - the title itself a fine example of where Katakana pronunciation of English words can lead to hilarity (in that case intentional).

Japan treats anglicisms (borrowed english words) the same way as Spain does, pronounce them in the context of their language rather than how it is done in English, of course for Spanish the pronounciation is much easier.

That was painful to watch. Haha.

I imagine I would get an even stranger look with my slight northeastern accent. “Caw-fee” sounds weird to most of the US, never mind Japan.

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Not sure about others experience who are living in Japan…but sometimes, English/English pronunciation is what is expected by the Japanese listener. They see my 白人 face and they anticipate English. Then I try to whip out my new handy-dandy 日本語 and I can see the look of confusion as they try to determine what those English words were…

Not Katakana…but this is my recent experience looking for eggs in the スーパー

Me: たまご は どこ ですか
Clerk: トマト?
Me: たまご
Clerk: トマト?
Me: Egg
Clerk: …ah…たまご


I think I could never forget “tamago” for egg because of tamagotchi…


Had a typo there…pain in the butt switching back and forth on the keyboard.

Just out of curiosity… where in Japan are you located and when you say “たまご” which syllable do you accent?

It probably wasn’t this (and I’m not pretending to be a phonetics expert by any means) but it can be interesting to think about if pitch-accent is sometimes part of the cause of misunderstandings like this one.

I say tamago flat, according to my teacher as well… BTW I was in Yamanashi for many years, bit now back in Canada.

The English word for trousers is borrowed and used for ladies underwear, and the French word for a certain kind of ladies underwear is borrowed and used for trousers.

… But ズボン is so far from Jupon that I only know that because of Wikipedia.