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Katakana Krazy

10 November 2009

The Japanese love English words.  And I don’t mean the sort that wind up on engrish.com.  I mean complicated words that have been adopted–mangled only by the pronunciation limits of the Japanese alphabet along the way–into the language.  I thought I’d heard some pretty good ones while I was studying in college.  セクハラ(sekuhara) , which means ‘Sexual Harassment’ is a personal favorite, as are ワーキングヲマン (Working Woman) and ホチキス (Hochikisu) for stapler.  Yeah, the stapler manufacturing company [although as the fine folks at WWJDIC remind us, it’s a bit more complicated than that] . You pretty much learn about this on the first day of Japanese 101, and it’s rather difficult for me at this point to muster up a serious laugh at linguistic assimilation.  It’s one of those things that most people get plenty of good laughs about when they start learning Japanese, but loses its entertainment value pretty soon after your mind starts being slowly pulverized into a quivering pile of gray jello by kanji and keigo.

But then last night, I discovered the word ディンクス.  That’s transliterated as ‘deenkusu’. It puzzled me for a little bit, but then I realized that in this case, an entire acronym had been imported: DINKs.  Double Income, No Kids.

Turns out that sometimes, katakana never loses its humor.  Who knew?

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