I often see the words now, was, will and done at the end of Japanese sentences on Twitter nowadays. I have never saw anything like this when Twitter first became popular, but in a past year or so, a lot of my friends started using these 4 English words (although written in Japanese) used grammatically incorrectly.Likewise, a lot of Japanese people use “Japanglish” in their daily lives, thinking that they are using English words or phrases. In fact, many of these words derive from English, but are transformed so that it is easier for the Japanese people to pronounce, or memorize. For example, the phrase “order made” or オーダーメイド is Japanglish. In English, we would say “made-to-order” or “custom-made.” Other examples include “skin-ship” (スキンシップ) or “Consento” (コンセント). In English, we would say “personal contact” and “outlet” consecutively.

If you think about it, there are a lot of words that sound English, but are actually used only in Japan, and it seems as if this trend of using English is spreading even more recently due to globalization. More and more of these Japanglish are becoming popular, and new ones are continuously formed. For instance, the word “glocalization.” This is a new Japanglish word, often used to describe globalization and the current world system. As can be seen from the word, it is a mixture of “globalization” and “localization,” used in many ways to describe the relationship between global and local issues.

Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are “glocal” in the sense that it connects both globally and locally, and has a huge influence in our social behaviours. What the individuals “tweet” or “post” could have a major impact on our society, such as the demonstrations in Egypt, which the individuals posted on Facebook to gather supporters and to explain what is going on in Egypt.

And if you think about it further, the words now, was, will and done on Twitter by the Japanese people are also examples of glocalization. Young Japanese people take the English words (global) and use it in their Japanese sentences to “tweet” (local).

Works cited:

Unknown. “Wasei Eigo Towa.” Kimyouna Wasei Eigo no Sekaie Yousoko, n.d. Web.  23 Dec. 2011. <http://www.eieigo.com/index.php?FrontPage&gt;

by Nami Tatewaki


4 thoughts on “Japanglish

  1. Just to make it sure. As long as my memory is correct, the concept of glocalization is that since the world has become more global and universalized, as the counterpart, the world has been becoming more diverse in the meantime? Or it also indicates transforming services and products which has become global into more suitable forms to local regions. So, as for the example of SNS service, the flow of emerging various forms such as mixi, which used to have the top share in Japan (now it has been on the process to be replaced with Twitter and Facebook) and SNS only for a certain company can be considered as the tide of localization, maybe?

    I though that this post was very interesting, considering the tide of linguistic change in Japan in which, as a result of importing various foreign words and replacing original words with them, the meanings have been becoming more vague. I personally hope that more Japanese people show their respects to their own language.

  2. I also see those words everyday and use them sometimes.
    Japanese people often make new words “Zougo”(not only Japanglish) in daily life.
    In the first place, Japanese race is good at improving and creating newly the things which are imported from the foreign countries by using Japanese identity.
    So it may be to be normal for a Japanese people.

    This blog is very interesting and I want to read this book and study more.

  3. I remember learning about なう (nau, now) when I was studying Japanese back in my home country and thought it was an interesting and amusing use of the word. Back home they would have discussions about borrowed words from other languages, and it even got to the point where they made up alternate spellings for words such as “bacon” and “service”, and added them to the language as acceptable spellings for the word.
    As a student of the Japanese language, it’s not always that easy to figure out the meaning of the Japanglish words without getting them explained. But in a way I feel like instead of simply borrowing a word it’s being made into something else. Which in turn makes it more special than if it had simply been borrowed. On the other hand, it might create intercultural misunderstandings along the way. The older generations might also have difficulties understanding the meanings of the words. Therefore I think this might have both postive and negative sides.

  4. In my opinion, the spread of English words does not only affect the Japanese, but also every other youth around the world that is globally connected to English through economics, pop culture or other things.
    I remember that while I was still in high school, it was considered cool to use as many English words in text messages or internet profiles. In order to prevent the further blight of the official language, the French government past a law in which foreign language used in public space must be translated into French.
    This shows that the glocalization soemtimes is bounded by those who want to protect what is dear to them.
    If young people are not able to speak their mother tongue properly anymore, this is a huge problem. On the other side, just limiting the freedom to express yourself the way you want is the wrong way to solve it.

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