Head Hancho

I learned something new today. I learned a new word, 班長, which is pronounced “hanchoo” and means “squad leader”. After thinking about this word for a little while I wondered if it had anything to do with “head hancho” so I looked it up and sure enough the American use of the word comes via military members stationed in Japan after World War II who adopted the word and added it to military jargon which then made its way into the wider English language when military members returned home from Japan.


Yeah, but note that in English it’s spelt “honcho”. :slightly_smiling_face:


Fair enough… but karaoke.

Yes. When Japanese words make it into the English language long vowels are often dropped.

For example 将軍 shōgun has a long vowel but in English is usually written as shogun. You will never see the Shōgun Japanese Restaurant just the Shogun Japanese Restaurant.

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I was more pointing out that it’s honcho, not hancho.


In english we also spell 日本 as Japan.

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Well yeah, but that’s mostly Marco Polo’s fault, who spoke neither English nor Japanese.


That’s actually pretty interesting


True but the point is that the English spelling of the word does not have a direct correlation to the words origin. The same, of course can be said of foreign words in Japanese. I can not count how many Japanese I have met that think パン is an english word.


But why do you have to wonder if it’s right there in the “Meaning Explanation”?


Implying people read the meaning explanation. :joy:


At what level do you stop reading the meaning explanations?

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0 voters

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Can’t stop what you never started.


:ballot_box_with_check: 42. That’s the point at which you know the answer to the question.


Example of even more severely butchered pronunciation.

It doesn’t matter… foreigners will mangle pronunciation even if it is seemingly simple. Karaoke!!!

I’m a foreigner, but the kind that pronounces Japanese syllables properly (most of the time). :slight_smile:


Well, depending on your mother language and the pronunciation rules in that language. In Spanish for example this (karaoke) is pronounced pretty close to the original.

Any language (or words from another language) sound bad, when the rules of pronunciation from another language are applied.
On top of that most people don’t know better or don’t want to try harder or some other thing like that. Just the way it is.

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Where’s the option for 60? :face_with_monocle:


I would expect as much… Spanish already has identical “pure” vowel sounds to Japanese, so is probably fairly easy for each culture to get each other’s pronunciation correct.

My comment was mainly with respect to American English, where “Head Hancho” has definite roots to “Honcho”. English has such insanely variable vowel pronunciations, it isn’t a tough put for the “o” to turn into an “a” when people don’t really speak the mother tongue of the word in question. Other butchered words like karate and sake have altered vowel sounds when spoken by Americans and possibly other English speakers.

Plus in another thread I mentioned how a foreigner told someone their baby was scary - again, an unfortunate vowel butchering.