Shortened Version of Foreign Words


I just realised how Japanese like to shortened foreign words. Not only they change the pronunciation but then they shortened it in everyday use:

Animation = アニメション → アニメ
Smartphone = スマートホン → スマホ

I’m wondering if any of you guys know other words like this?


A few :slight_smile:


If I remember correctly a ソング from an アニメーション is an アニソン


Yes, welcome to the world of Japanese abbreviations! (also known as 略語)

Here are some common ones:

  • empty orchestra --> 空 (kara) orchestra --> からおけ (karaoke!)
  • personal computer --> pasokon --> パソコン (laptop)
  • mail address --> meru adoresu --> メルアド
  • building --> biru --> ビル
  • convenience store --> konbiniensu sutoa --> コンビニ


Oh they do this a lot! =D
To the point where they can be unrecognizable, and too often they have changed the meaning too =P
I love reading through katakana words with my friends and see who can guess the word :wink:


Was it inspired by this video?


Actually no. I do love that guy! <3 But hadn’t seen this video yet =D * am now *


アルバイト gets shortened to バイト


By the way: シュワちゃん as an abbreviation for Arnold Schwarzenegger is nothing short of amazing :grinning:

From the linked Wikipedia article:



One I learned recently listening to a guy talk about researching which car to buy: コスパ (Cost/Performance ratio; value for money). In native 日本語, that would be 値打ち(ねうち).


Here are the ones that have puzzled me a lot:

  • オートバイ : Motorcycle, contraction from “autobike”.
  • ワイシャツ : Dress shirt, from “white shirt”.
  • アルバイト : Part-time job, from German “Arbeit”, meaning work.
  • ピエロ : Clown, from the French character “Pierrot”.

I just realized they’re not all “shortened versions”, but hey.


アルバイト has a shortened version: バイト


Yesterday I was watching the news, and a suited man was very seriously giving a statement in which he was talking about “インフラ” and “コラボ”. After a moment I realized he was talking about “infrastructure” and “collaboration”. What a cute way to say it though, totally seemed out of place with the tone of the news report :laughing:


In French, “collabo” is a pejorative name given to people that “collaborated” with the Nazis during World War II, when France was occupied. That would feel weird hearing that in a speech or a conversation. :thinking:


Here’s a new one that’s been floating around my schools: カリマネ

“Curriculum management,” except cuter XD


Here’s a few more. I think the ones that are shortened in a different way than we do in English is interesting (like app):

app (like a phone app): アプリケーション -> アプリ
rehabilitation/PT (rehab): リハビリテーション -> リハビリ
Influenza/Flu インフルエンザー -> インフル
Study support (aka academic guidance type thing): スタディサポート -> スタサポ
Basketball: バスケットボール -> バスケ
Volleyball: バレーボール -> バレー
Navigation system/navigator: ナビゲーター -> ナビ

I’ll report back if I remember more


There’s a headline on NHK easy news today:



This was always my particular favourite. 00%20PM


I didn’t understand this sentence but apparently it translates as something like
“That’s the day’s co-ordination”.


I just learnt a new word:

ロンドパリ -> London Paris

It’s a slang for eyes like this:

It basically means one eye looks to London, the other eye looks to Paris!

I think it’s funny!