Last class we were given the task to write about different varieties of English. We chose Japanese English, also called “Japlish”, “Japanglish” or “Engrish”. This is defined as a “form of bad translation from Japanese by someone who is decent at translating vocabulary but has a poor grasp of English grammar”. It is called Engrish because the Japanese do not know the differences between the letter “l” and “r”. This means a Japanese person will say “flied lice” instead of “fried rice” and “risten” instead of “listen.” Due to these pronunciation difficulties, misunderstandings and mistakes can easily occur.
Japan was never a British Colony, but they are still using English words in their daily life. It is said that 10% of the words in the Japanese language dictionary are foreign, but the problem is that a lot of them have lost their original meaning, and make absolutely no sense.
When looking for information about this variety of English, we also came across a lot of websites which have posted amusing pictures of Japanese signs in English.
It is the newer Japanese generation who will use English words, so a Japanese grandmother and her granddaughter might not always understand each other. Films in English, music and TV-shows affect the youth in Japan, just like it does here.
We also found sites looking for people who can teach English in Japan. I think it seems like they might need this, in order to learn how to speak and use the language properly. Poor translations from online language translation tools are being used too much, without consulting a native English speaker.