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Are you worried about the over importing of loan words into Japanese?

#1
I created this topic in order to hear about other people's opinions on the topic of English loan words  into Japanese, it is of my understanding that since the WWII more and more English words have entered the Japanese language in an evermore increasing rate, when I was watching Japanese dramas lately I've heard a lot of usages os loan words, some that astonished me and come to mind are "happy birthday", "thank you" instead of arigatou and even something that seems to be a verb, "stopu"(stop).

I know many people are of the opinion that loan words don't matter, but to speak frankly I am not of that opinion, I think that some loan words are ok but when it comes to the extent of tens of thousands of loan words and when even the most basic expressions are starting to get replaced I think it can get quite scary.

So what do forum members think about that, do you think that this phenomenon is something to be worried about? Do you think that Japanese will have lost a lot of its traditional language in a few decades? I wonder.
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#2
i personally hate RIARU ni, and I recently finally found out how to say timing in "japanese" when i read a light novel which is "maai"." but anyways you can't do anything about this. people will talk/write however they want. the issue that you raised doesn't bother me anymore... i wrote about the topic on my lang-8 years ago http://lang-8.com/6467/journals/1031295 they've been using a lot of loanwords for a while. even in 80s stuff i hear a lot of loanwords.


anywas if you want to read more about it google eigo ranyou in kanji

the only thing you can control is yourself like deliberately NOT using those words when you speak.
Edited: 2018-01-12, 4:21 pm
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#3
No, and I don't care, it's not my place to bother people about what they think is 'cool' (that's all the trend of English loan words is: kids trying to be cool).
There are plenty of people in Japan that value proper Japanese, just as there are people in other countries that value the use of proper language.

Of course, there will be continued changes, but that's fine, just like every other language, and just like Japanese has been doing for the past millennium and a half, at least (just from what we know from written Japanese and foreign accounts of the Japanese). Just look at the various grammar, pronunciation, and other changes that Japanese has undergone in the past thousand years. Heck, even the past few hundred years.

Is English 'corrupted' by Latin, Greek, and French? All of those languages saw big fad use in English speaking countries as the languages of the educated and the holy. 'Cool' language is just a spin on 'superior' language; the only difference between a kid using the latest hip phrases and an intellectual writing a paper with the most sophisticated language they can come up with is the class of person.

And while I'm spouting my opinions, I might as well add that I think such 'concerns' from English speakers comes off as weebish. None of us are responsible for anything the Japanese people do. Their language use isn't being actively corrupted by the white devils and their evil colonialist tendencies.
It's just Japanese (kids) taking what they think sounds cool and incorporating it into their language use. The use of 誕生日おめでとう! hasn't decreased just because some people use 'happy birthday' instead (just check some Line stickers for proof that even young people still use 'traditional' Japanese).

And, of course, the fads make their way into entertainment aimed at young people (manga, anime, LNs, etc), because the creators of that entertainment want to be hip with the kids. Seriously, go pick up any random adventure/fantasy novel intended for younger audiences (especially more modern selections) and look at the differences in language between it and your favorite 'adult' fantasy novel (I specify fantasy or adventure mostly because I have more experience, but also because these genres generally have the broadest use of language, both in description and dialogue). All of the same tropes apply as similar entertainment in Japan: rampant product placement (or allusion to those products), references to current fads, and 'hip' language, especially in dialogue (to the point that reading it as an adult can come off as 'hello, my fellow kids').

Perhaps I see it so plainly as being this way because I enjoy things written for both adult and child/YA audiences, both in English and Japanese.

Anyway, I don't want this to come off as too harsh, but it really sounds like moral grandstanding or misguided adoration to complain about speakers of another language incorporating a foreign language into their slang. Again, it smells like weeb.

Just ask yourself this question: Are you similarly afraid that your native language is being corrupted by Japanese words being used by weebs, the Latin used in church, those kids that throw Spanish phrases or words into everything, snobs that use French to show how sophisticated they are, or whatever similar example applies to your country?

EDIT:
@howtwosavealif3
間合(い) is used for intervals of all kind, especially in a martial arts context; just read any martial arts manga and you'll find 間合い in just about every fight.
Edited: 2018-01-12, 4:06 pm
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JapanesePod101
#4
Wiki on kango

Quote:approximately 60% of the words contained in a modern Japanese dictionary are kango, but they comprise only about 18% of words used in speech

This is not the first time Japanese has experienced a major influx of foreign words. Languages do that.
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#5
(2018-01-12, 4:05 pm)satogaeru Wrote: Wiki on kango

Quote:approximately 60% of the words contained in a modern Japanese dictionary are kango, but they comprise only about 18% of words used in speech

This is not the first time Japanese has experienced a major influx of foreign words.  Languages do that.

Which reminds me of the fact that I recently deleted thousands of cards from the Core Supplement deck because they were loan words that were completely useless, yet existed in some corpus of Japanese.
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#6
(2018-01-12, 4:02 pm)sholum Wrote: No, and I don't care, it's not my place to bother people about what they think is 'cool' (that's all the trend of English loan words is: kids trying to be cool).
There are plenty of people in Japan that value proper Japanese, just as there are people in other countries that value the use of proper language.

Of course, there will be continued changes, but that's fine, just like every other language, and just like Japanese has been doing for the past millennium and a half, at least (just from what we know from written Japanese and foreign accounts of the Japanese). Just look at the various grammar, pronunciation, and other changes that Japanese has undergone in the past thousand years. Heck, even the past few hundred years.

Is English 'corrupted' by Latin, Greek, and French? All of those languages saw big fad use in English speaking countries as the languages of the educated and the holy. 'Cool' language is just a spin on 'superior' language; the only difference between a kid using the latest hip phrases and an intellectual writing a paper with the most sophisticated language they can come up with is the class of person.

And while I'm spouting my opinions, I might as well add that I think such 'concerns' from English speakers comes off as weebish. None of us are responsible for anything the Japanese people do. Their language use isn't being actively corrupted by the white devils and their evil colonialist tendencies.
It's just Japanese (kids) taking what they think sounds cool and incorporating it into their language use. The use of 誕生日おめでとう! hasn't decreased just because some people use 'happy birthday' instead (just check some Line stickers for proof that even young people still use 'traditional' Japanese).

And, of course, the fads make their way into entertainment aimed at young people (manga, anime, LNs, etc), because the creators of that entertainment want to be hip with the kids. Seriously, go pick up any random adventure/fantasy novel intended for younger audiences (especially more modern selections) and look at the differences in language between it and your favorite 'adult' fantasy novel (I specify fantasy or adventure mostly because I have more experience, but also because these genres generally have the broadest use of language, both in description and dialogue). All of the same tropes apply as similar entertainment in Japan: rampant product placement (or allusion to those products), references to current fads, and 'hip' language, especially in dialogue (to the point that reading it as an adult can come off as 'hello, my fellow kids').

Perhaps I see it so plainly as being this way because I enjoy things written for both adult and child/YA audiences, both in English and Japanese.

Anyway, I don't want this to come off as too harsh, but it really sounds like moral grandstanding or misguided adoration to complain about speakers of another language incorporating a foreign language into their slang. Again, it smells like weeb.

Just ask yourself this question: Are you similarly afraid that your native language is being corrupted by Japanese words being used by weebs, the Latin used in church, those kids that throw Spanish phrases or words into everything, snobs that use French to show how sophisticated they are, or whatever similar example applies to your country?

EDIT:
@howtwosavealif3
間合(い) is used for intervals of all kind, especially in a martial arts context; just read any martial arts manga and you'll find 間合い in just about every fight.

it also means timing and that's how it was used in the novel

https://ejje.weblio.jp/content/間合い

maybe koroai is a better term?
Edited: 2018-01-12, 4:43 pm
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#7
(2018-01-12, 4:42 pm)howtwosavealif3 Wrote:
(2018-01-12, 4:02 pm)sholum Wrote: EDIT:
@howtwosavealif3
間合(い) is used for intervals of all kind, especially in a martial arts context; just read any martial arts manga and you'll find 間合い in just about every fight.

it also means timing and that's how it was used in the novel

https://ejje.weblio.jp/content/間合い

maybe koroai is a better term?
I was just pointing out that it's not a particularly unused word (and has a wider range of meaning), not that your example of it was incorrect/unusual.
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#8
Yes I'm worried, because that means I have to learn twice as much vocabulary X(
But more seriously, it depends on how it is used.
I don't mind stuff like サンキュー、ナイスキャッチ or シンプル
On the other hand, I have a problem with ルックス, it always throws me off for about 0.579s during a conversation.
Maybe if english was my lv1 it would be less of a problem
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#9
(2018-01-12, 1:48 pm)Iuri_ Wrote: when even the most basic expressions are starting to get replaced I think it can get quite scary.
We're talking about a language whose *numbers* are mostly loan words! Japanese will be fine, and so will its speakers. It's the languages which aren't accumulating loan words that you should worry about, because that indicates that they are dying or dead.
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#10
Quote:Is English 'corrupted' by Latin, Greek, and French? All of those languages saw big fad use in English speaking countries as the languages of the educated and the holy. 'Cool' language is just a spin on 'superior' language; the only difference between a kid using the latest hip phrases and an intellectual writing a paper with the most sophisticated language they can come up with is the class of person.

And while I'm spouting my opinions, I might as well add that I think such 'concerns' from English speakers comes off as weebish. None of us are responsible for anything the Japanese people do. Their language use isn't being actively corrupted by the white devils and their evil colonialist tendencies.
It's just Japanese (kids) taking what they think sounds cool and incorporating it into their language use. The use of 誕生日おめでとう! hasn't decreased just because some people use 'happy birthday' instead (just check some Line stickers for proof that even young people still use 'traditional' Japanese).

Well I've been interested in traditional Japanese culture since I was very little when Japanese culture wasn't nearly as widespread as it is today, when there was not otaku culture and when words such as "weeb" did not even exist. People at the time were more connected to Japan because of its traditional culture than because of its pop culture which was just starting to become widespread. So the reason why I care if Japanese loses a good part of its traditional language is because I care about the historical assets that Japan possesses, in this case its language.

I know that I don't have the right to decide how the Japanese people speak and what they find cool, but I have the right to feel sad or upset about the consequences of their choices, even if I can't do anything about it.

It is true that even if English has had a lot of influence from latinate languages I still appreciate it for what it is(I do), still I would feel upset in the same way if suddenly English speakers started to import words and lost the rest of the Anglo-Saxon words and expressions that are still there in English. I thing it's a matter of wanting to preserve things, which is a feeling that every human being possess, some about one subject some about other.



Quote:Anyway, I don't want this to come off as too harsh, but it really sounds like moral grandstanding or misguided adoration to complain about speakers of another language incorporating a foreign language into their slang. Again, it smells like weeb.
Not quite, as I said it is a matter of wanting to preserve things, and I feel this way about every language with which I have emotional ties, including English and my own native language.


Quote:Just ask yourself this question: Are you similarly afraid that your native language is being corrupted by Japanese words being used by weebs, the Latin used in church, those kids that throw Spanish phrases or words into everything, snobs that use French to show how sophisticated they are, or whatever similar example applies to your country?
In those cases not because they are so minor and used by so few social groups that their effect on the language is insignificant, I do feel upset by the usage of English words and phrases by bilingual speakers though, even I was(and I still am) guilty of that but when I started to study foreign languages I started to appreciate languages more and as a result my own language.

However that doesn't seem to be the same case as in Japan, here in my country apart from the occasional loan word for new concepts, only bilingual people mix English into the native language, in Japan it seems that somehow English just enters the language and becomes widespread.


Quote:I don't mind stuff like サンキュー、ナイスキャッチ or シンプル

On the other hand, I have a problem with ルックス, it always throws me off for about 0.579s during a conversation.

I wouldn't mind either if those words were there just to add a synonym to the language that would add a different shade of meaning to be used in some contexts(few, preferably), however if they started to completely replace the native forms it would be sad to my eyes because that meant that a piece of history was lost. (imagine if we lost arigatou).

Quote:We're talking about a language whose *numbers* are mostly loan words! Japanese will be fine, and so will its speakers. It's the languages which aren't accumulating loan words that you should worry about, because that indicates that they are dying or dead.


I hope so, but again, in my eyes it's not just a matter of survival of the language, but survival of historical assets, of course that there is nothing we can do about that, not even if we were native speakers, I'm here just to share my concerns, that's all.
Edited: 2018-01-12, 7:56 pm
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#11
(2018-01-12, 4:02 pm)sholum Wrote: And while I'm spouting my opinions, I might as well add that I think such 'concerns' from English speakers comes off as weebish. None of us are responsible for anything the Japanese people do. Their language use isn't being actively corrupted by the white devils and their evil colonialist tendencies.
It's just Japanese (kids) taking what they think sounds cool and incorporating it into their language use. The use of 誕生日おめでとう! hasn't decreased just because some people use 'happy birthday' instead (just check some Line stickers for proof that even young people still use 'traditional' Japanese).

+10 on this. It's not our place to dictate how the Japanese use their own language.

luri_ Wrote:So the reason why I care if Japanese loses a good part of its traditional language is because I care about the historical assets that Japan possesses, in this case its language.

But...but...it isn't. There are still anime that quote the 万葉集. There are grammatical structures in daily use (e.g. the -ぬ form) that are holdovers from classical Japanese that there are no campaigns to replace. Wikipedia JP articles often devolve into (for us 外人, at least) an indistinguishable pile of nonsense as article authors strut out kanji compounds that rank #129,994 on the Most Frequently Used Words list.

The language is still rich and deep and diverse. 外来語 only deepen its diversity. And trust me - if any culture is expert at preserving (at least the appearance of) tradition, it's Japan's.

If this attitude were taken to its extreme, we'd all be learning 古文 and not modern spoken Japanese. Languages evolve and change - it's a fact of life. And I suspect languages will evolve and change *even faster* now that we all, through virtue of the Web, have the ability to immerse ourselves in each other's languages. (Seriously - would 90% of us have made it this far in our Japanese studies without the Internet?)

Apologies if I sound like an a-hole here, luri_. I see your point, and I sympathize. I just don't think there's any real danger here.
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#12
Irui_ Wrote:Well I've been interested in traditional Japanese culture since I was very little when Japanese culture wasn't nearly as widespread as it is today, when there was not otaku culture and when words such as "weeb" did not even exist. People at the time were more connected to Japan because of its traditional culture than because of its pop culture which was just starting to become widespread. So the reason why I care if Japanese loses a good part of its traditional language is because I care about the historical assets that Japan possesses, in this case its language.

I will point you to HEMA to demonstrate that widespread pop-culture doesn't remove the actual culture nerds (Disclaimer: I've had mild involvement in a HEMA group that studies from Fiore dei Liberi's manuscript; I'm a bit biased). Ignore the fact that pretty much all modern depictions of Medieval combat (actually, any combat) are terrible and dressed up to be showy, and focus on the fact that there are plenty of people across the Western world that sit out in the park (or, you know, have an actual gym) staring at manuscripts produced hundreds of years ago in an attempt to learn actual combat and dueling techniques for actual weapons of the time (and then beat each other with blunted swords to practice).

And I will mention that it's only been recently that the true history of shinobi has started to be rooted out from the legends and mysticism. After pop-culture turned them into magicians and supermen that fought a constant class battle against the samurai.

And as mentioned by gaiaslastlaugh (and probably others too), language nerds will always keep traditional language, even that long out of use, relevant through its use in literature, academia, and even pop-culture. That exposure to the masses collects new language nerds to follow up and learn more. Even modern pop-culture has elements that are completely 'traditional' (i.e. sans English loan words). There are plenty of books, yes even LNs (though about a decade off, 狼と香辛料 doesn't really use European loan words, despite being in a European fantasy setting; only proper nouns get the katakana treatment). And since I like this band an unreasonable amount, I'll point out that the entire gimmick of 陰陽座 involves using significant bits of traditional Japanese language and culture (though I'm not nerd enough to check for historical/legend accuracy), and they never use loan words in their lyrics. (And considering this band has been around since the late 90s, I'd say they're plenty popular enough to be considered a good example)

Anyway, I don't think you need to worry about the Japanese language being turned into some English creole. We're talking about millions of people in a society with language education that's provided to all children; while there will be continued change in the language, as there always has been, that just isn't the environment in which a language gets completely changed in a couple of generations.

And the Japanese are kind of in between being bilingual and only using Japanese; the English education requirement, while terrible at producing fluent English speakers, gives Japanese children even more exposure to English than the American education system gives exposure to Spanish. Remember my example of 'kids that use Spanish expressions all the time'? I wasn't making that up; our (relatively minor) second language curricula requirements expose children to Spanish enough for them to work it into their language use; it's fun to them, not 'proper English'. I think it's reasonable for Japanese children to play with English in a similar (and even more pervasive) way, considering the amount of exposure they have to it.
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#13
I'm not worried because I never read and watch stuff designed for teenagers. Don't consume low quality content and you'll be fine.
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#14
(2018-01-12, 4:47 pm)sholum Wrote:
(2018-01-12, 4:42 pm)howtwosavealif3 Wrote:
(2018-01-12, 4:02 pm)sholum Wrote: EDIT:
@howtwosavealif3
間合(い) is used for intervals of all kind, especially in a martial arts context; just read any martial arts manga and you'll find 間合い in just about every fight.

it also means timing and that's how it was used in the novel

https://ejje.weblio.jp/content/間合い

maybe koroai is a better term?
I was just pointing out that it's not a particularly unused word (and has a wider range of meaning), not that your example of it was incorrect/unusual.

I see TAIMINGU way more frequently than koroai or maai. That's why it feels so unused to me and I don't read martial arts stuff
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#15
Several responses along the lines of "this always happens", "nothing to see here", but I agree with OP that it's a reasonably extraordinary situation. No problem with languages changing, of course (especially Japanese), but the question is whether they have a shot at developing in an orderly way that will not create a huge burden for billions of future Japanese persons. If the language is going to change this drastically, they might as well just throw the writing system overboard and switch to romaji. People will say "Oh no, then you wouldn't be able to distinguish all the Chinese words!" But without romaji, all the Western words get screwed up and turned into these unrecognizable utterances. They should just switch to romaji, make English a second official language, and take advantage of the UK's Brexit anxiety and join the Commonwealth. They obviously hate China and refuse to go back into that orbit, so full Western is their best option now.
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#16
I think that Japanese has already lost a significant portion of its traditional language a long time ago. Common words such as 太陽、学校、愛、even 日本 were loaned from China a long time ago or created from Chinese roots. Numbers go by their 音読み most of the time and even the words for days of the week and months of the year originate from China. Most English loanwords happen to coexist with "traditional" Japanese words, but a few have surpassed their native Japanese counterparts such as キス. I think these borrowings are for the best and give Japanese speakers more variety in their speech.
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#17
"Worried" is probably not the right term -- it's not my language after all. But annoyed, disappointed? Yes.
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#18
Sometimes I play a game in my mind when listening to Japanese, where I wait to hear how long until the next English word is used. It's usually not very long. I don't feel I'm in a position to feel strongly about it one way or the other, it's up to native speakers to shape their language. I will say that I feel loan words typically don't have the same euphonic quality that I associate with regular Japanese.
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#19
I have some good news for whoever's complaining about English loan words...they're not really English...they used to be mostly French...and, before that, they used to be mostly Latin. And that's not exactly an original invention either, it's a combination of older, mostly dead languages.

That's why English is such a rich and versatile language. Its speakers are not afraid to borrow.

So I wouldn't worry about it. That's how languages work. They are formed from other, older languages, and they constantly change by absorbing loan words. By adopting and using loan words, these "unpatriotic kids" are making Japanese that much richer.

The curmudgeons aren't really "protecting the language", they're just afraid of changes they don't understand.
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#20
I am not sure if I agree with the opinion that importing a great number of loanwords is beneficial to native speakers, languages usually have roots and most basic vocabulary that makes reference to basic things in the world, other more complex words are usually made from those roots. It is my belief that native speakers have an intuitive understanding of those roots and basic vocabulary so when the whole of the language preserve those the language makes more sense to native speakers, all of these is just what I have apprehended through my language observations but I am no scholar.

I heard that native speakers of English sometimes have trouble having an intuitive understanding of latinate loan words, and that they mostly learn what they mean through context, this also happens in my native language, I bet a lot of speakers use English loan words without the knowledge of what the words actually truly mean, they only know what they mean through context.

I believe there is more to words and meaning than just understanding a word through context and that native roots, suffixes and prefixes have an important role that shouldn't be disregarded.

(2018-01-13, 2:55 pm)Anima Wrote: I think that Japanese has already lost a significant portion of its traditional language a long time ago. Common words such as 太陽、学校、愛、even 日本 were loaned from China a long time ago or created from Chinese roots. Numbers go by their 音読み most of the time and even the words for days of the week and months of the year originate from China. Most English loanwords happen to coexist with "traditional" Japanese words, but a few have surpassed their native Japanese counterparts such as キス. I think these borrowings are for the best and give Japanese speakers more variety in their speech.

I`m aware of that, wouldn`t it be worse though if they lost the rest that they still got?

Let me just clarify something: I believe that yes, it is possible that loan words may enrich a language, what I find that endangers the language is when "the basic" things start to be replaced, because that may be a sign that the language may irrevocably change forever. That has happened to Japanese in the past as you said and yet the language is still distinctly Japanese, but for everything there is a limit.

Again though, the reason for this topic is not to try to do anything about it but more like to share concerns, and to wonder whether the recent phenomenon is a risk to "traditional Japanese" or not. I liked reading the comments so far, thanks.
Edited: 2018-01-13, 8:26 pm
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#21
I don't mind the English loanwords that sound and are used like their equivalents.

I do worry a lot about it tho, since it can lead to write a few misunderstandings. I get loanwords wrong quite often, and have had some hilarious wtf moments. E.g. One of my eikaiwa students asking me about the ノーイエス. But it is not that big of a deal.

It is also annoying when you hear the Japanised words so often you unconsciously use it in English. People think I'm a weeb, but I've just never used done words in spoken English so the Japanese pronunciación stuck.
Edited: 2018-01-14, 1:02 am
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#22
(2018-01-13, 8:11 pm)Iuri_ Wrote: what I find that endangers the language is when "the basic" things start to be replaced
...but are basic things really being replaced? By and large there's just a bunch of new nouns or occasionally adjectives or adverbs; new verbs are very rare. Basic stuff would be changes in verb inflection paradigms, major changes in what syllables were permitted ('ti' 'vi' &c are very much restricted to a few loanwords), replacement of core very-frequently-used verbs, and so on.

(I think the closest we get to that is the Meiji-era western-influenced arrival of third-person pronouns (kare/kanojo) and changes in the use of the -rareru passives. Even that is additions and adjustments, not replacement of existing things, and relatively minor in scope compared to the organic language changes over the centuries.)
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#23
I have no problem with English loan words in Japanese. Languages are organic, they grow as society sees the need to adapt them. The increase in loanwords in Japanese should be a sign that the Japanese feel there is a need to increase the amount of English that's used colloquially.

The problem that might arise though, as others have mentioned, is from incorrect word usage, which you get with some words such as スマート (these get termed wasei-eigo). It results in a form of pidgin English which I think many Japanese believe is accurate English that native speakers would understand, but don't. This will probably get corrected over time as English use continues to increase globally, but it will really harm a lot of people eventually if wasei-eigo words increase.
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#24
What's wrong with スマート?
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#25
(2018-01-14, 7:49 pm)vix86 Wrote: I have no problem with English loan words in Japanese. Languages are organic, they grow as society sees the need to adapt them. The increase in loanwords in Japanese should be a sign that the Japanese feel there is a need to increase the amount of English that's used colloquially.

The problem that might arise though, as others have mentioned, is from incorrect word usage, which you get with some words such as スマート (these get termed wasei-eigo). It results in a form of pidgin English which I think many Japanese believe is accurate English that native speakers would understand, but don't. This will probably get corrected over time as English use continues to increase globally, but it will really harm a lot of people eventually if wasei-eigo words increase.

I think the fact is that Japanese aren't using English colloquially when they use loan words. That isn't what loan-words are.

What they are doing is just what you are complaining about - borrowing words and adapting them to their own use. This is what loan words are and is  a sign of a healthy language in my view.

English does this. A lot of French words and phrases, for example, were borrowed into English and often used, or formed, "incorrectly" - for example "double entendre" an Anglançais expression that doesn't exist in French. Or the strange coinage "nuanced". Or "cafe" which primarily means coffee in French but in English only a coffee house. Or from Japan itself "futon" - I am not 100% sure what futon is in English but I have the idea it is some wooden affair and not a futon at all.

I think some people are afraid that English is taking over Japanese and other people think it ought to be.

Fortunately it isn't the case.

In almost any developed country you go to these days you will see a lot of English. I am not sure if all countries chew up foreign words and digest them as well as Japanese and English do. But the healthier they are as languages the more they will tend to do so - in my rather unqualified opinion.
Edited: 2018-01-14, 9:37 pm
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