Saturday, March 20, 2010

Yes, recently explosive diarrhea seems to be all the vogue

As a minor educational post to break up all the horrible corporate insanity.
There are a few words that can be really difficult for Japanese people to deal with in English, even if they basically are completely fluent. Let me give you two examples I have been running into quite often, and as a special treat I will also tell you the reasons for the mix-ups (pretty sweet, huh?).

1. Japanese Person in English: "Now the traffic light is BLUE, we can walk"

2. Japanese Person in English: "It seems like some virus causing horrible vomiting and explosive diarrhea is really POPULAR among the kids in schools now"

The reason for the common mistake for number one above is because the Japanese word for "Blue" and "Green" are usually interchangable; ok, there is a separate word that can be used for "Green" as well, but commonly "Blue/Green" (青い) is used.

The reason for the example number two, which can cause some more amusing misunderstandings is that the Japanese word for "epidemic" is the same as for "being popular" so if the person thinks in Japanese and applies the same broad definition when talking in English there can be some quite hilarious misunderstandings.

See, you learnt something here (sometime needs to be the first)!


ThePenguin said...

Hmm, to actually learn something I had to go and look that one up, I guess you mean 流行?

Explosive diarrhea was certainly all the rage in my digestive tract a while back, in fact I spent a very memorable night recently repatriating recent meals from both ends, sometimes simultaneously. Still, at least I know I was keeping up with latest trends.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Penguin - C'mon!!! The example in the post was at least two months old! Now genital warts are all the rage, get out of your hole and go with the trends!

ThePenguin said...

Hmm, it appears no-one ever forwarded me the email on that trend.

But surely you meant to say, "get out of your hole and into someone else's"?

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