[Haskell-cafe] Re: anybody can tell me the
westondan at imageworks.com
Wed Jan 30 14:06:27 EST 2008
The opposite can also happen.
"Tobacco" (mid-16th century Spanish) is rendered as "tabako" in
Japanese, in fact a very Japanese-sounding word (perhaps from, ta +
hako). This may explain why, unlike almost all foreign words in Japanese
that are written in katakana (a sort of simpler-looking consonant+vowel
symbol), it is most often written in hiragana like native words and
grammatical constructions. More likely is the fact that it is a several
centuries old loanword (brought maybe from Macao?) when katakana was
more exclusively used by men (it looks visually more masculine, and used
for grammar by men until WWII) whereas hiragana was used by women, so
the use of hiragana was not indicative of origin. In fact, it can even
be written with kanji (especially on signs), which as was mentioned in
the second reference is no guarantee of Chinese or Japanese origin.
Anyway, according to a very informal survey of friends while I was in
Japan in the early 80's, most had no idea that "tabako" was a foreign
There is an important adage in linguistics:
always believe what a native speaker says *in* his language,
never believe what a native speaker says *about* his language.
Chung-chieh Shan wrote:
> jerzy.karczmarczuk at info.unicaen.fr wrote in article <courier.479F5ED0.00000D92 at averell> in gmane.comp.lang.haskell.cafe:
>> Arigato gozaimasu.
>> Jerzy Karczmarczuk.
>> PS. If you think that "arigato" is a genuine Japanese word, well, check
>> how the appropriately translated word is spelled in Portuguese...
> I'm not sure what you mean by "genuine", but I suspect that whether
> "arigato" is genuine does not depend on Portuguese.
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