Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

You’re welcome…you’ll be singing that song for the rest of the day. Or are you too young to know what I’m talking about?

Remember when we were afraid of Japan taking us over? Ahhh, those were the innocent days.

Language is a fascinating thing. Each culture has its own way of communicating with each other. And when that culture doesn’t already have a perfect word to describe something they often borrow from other languages. My favorite is ‘le walkman’ that the French have borrowed from English.

I’m teaching Reagan French. The flashcards I’m using have a picture on the front and the word on the back. The word is in English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Latin. They’re obviously multi-use cards. I’ve been distracted more than once while reviewing the cards with Reagan by reading the words in the other languages. And what I’ve begun to notice is that the Japanese language seems to have borrowed a lot of words from English. Here is what I’m talking about. Some of the words are outright parallels. Other words, however take on a slightly Japanese flavor:

  • banana = banana
  • cookies = kukki
  • pink = pinku
  • orange = orenji
  • celery = serori
  • blueberries = buruuberii
  • dress = doresu
  • broccoli = burokori
  • scarf = sukaafu
  • jungle = janguru
  • toilet = toire
  • lemonade = remoneddo
  • brush = burashi
  • bus = basu
  • snack = sunakku
  • toothbrush = haburashi (although this sounds more like hairbrush to me)
  • radio = rajio
  • popcorn = poppukoon
  • apple juice = ringo juusu
  • zuchinni = zukini
  • table = teeburu
  • coat = kooto
  • orange juice = orenjii juusu
  • motorcycle = baiku
  • soda = soda
  • tomato = tomato
  • crackers = kurakka
  • milkshake = mirukushe-ku
  • potato chips = poteto chippu
  • lion = raion

And my favorites: gureepufuruutsu and gasu renji. Can you tell me what they are in English? So, while Reagan is learning French I have taken to learning a bit of Japanese.

Domo Arigato,

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16 thoughts on “Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

  1. I just said a very nasty word because I am plenty old enough to get this. I actually saw this performed LIVE thank you very much. Ugh.

    Thanks for the lesson though! I’m guessing grapefruit and gas tank on your two queries.

  2. I would say grapefruit and not sure about the second… and they do that in Hungarian too…only for new words that are hitting the dictionary like IPOD, Cell phone, internet, email etc… all with a Hungarian flare… it is funny and easier for me!

    oh and thank you, I will now be singing that song all day…

  3. I’ve been singing that song for days to annoy my husband! We’re headed to Japan for the holidays so i’ll have to bookmark this vocab list to practice before we leave. 🙂

    Thanks for visiting me on BAtW day! 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for getting that song in my head! It is better than the “saved by zero” song from the Toyota commercial that gets stuck in my head every morning though.

    Thanks for the Japanese lesson…. I have no idea what the other two words are.

  5. What kind of cards are you using? Do you feel she’s getting it and enjoying it?

    Those words look like someone with a Japanese accent trying to speak English and I can’t help but try and pronounce them and laugh out loud!

  6. I tried to throw in some French with Elizabeth, but she just laughs at me.

    I’m guessing grapefruit on the first one. No clue on the second. At least you’re having fun with the flashcards!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Thanks a lot! Between grocery store muzak and this post and the Toyota “saved by zero” commercial, I’m now in 80’s h*ll!

    And I love linguistics! My son seems to have inherited it. He’s asked if he can learn Japanese. So we got him a “Japanese Coach” game for his Nintendo DS. He loves it!

    Maybe he can be a tour guide for the rest of us in Japan someday.

  8. I am the modern man…
    (Secret, Secret, I’ve got a secret…)

    I LOVE STYX!!!! I love that song, too. And yes, I’ll be singing it all day.

    I’m not guessing what those words are…because knowing me, I’d guess something lame like “lint roller” and just embarrass myself. And why add pressure to an already busy and full day?

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