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Engrish refers to grammatically incorrect variations of English, often found in East Asian countries. While the term may refer to spoken English, it is more often used to describe written English, for which problems are easier to identify and publicize. Engrish has been found on everything from poorly translated signs, menus, and instruction manuals to bizarrely worded advertisements and strange t-shirt slogans. Usage of the term ranges from the humorous to the slightly pejorative. Country-specific terms, such as Japlish or Janglish for Japan, "Singlish" for Singapore, Konglish for Korea, and Chinglish for China also exist, although they can be considered more derogatory with the possible exception of Chinglish, which enjoys widespread use in China (by English-speaking Chinese people, as well as resident foreigners).

The term originates from the fact that Japanese (as well as several other East Asian languages) does not have separate sounds for R and L. In Japanese the R sound is pronounced as an alveolar lateral flap (ɺ), articulated with the tongue flapped against the hard palate behind the front teeth, so that it sounds like a Spanish soft R. Because Japanese does not have a separate equivalent for the English L, native Japanese speakers not fluent in English often mispronounce English words containing the letter L. While the term mocks the accent, it is used mainly without malice in reference to humorous misuses, puns, and double entendres within written English, not difficulties in pronunciation. For example, "election" might be pronounced "erection".

Note that even though the "L" and "R" error is often attributed to Chinese, in reality, there are distinct "L" and "R" sounds in standard spoken Chinese (Mandarin). Various dialects of the Chinese languages, however do not have such clear separation with a general pattern being the further south in the country one travels, the more likely one is to see the "L" and "N" sounds confused (central China) or even the "L", "N" and "R" sounds freely alternated (south of the Yangtze River/Changjiang).

Engrish is usually accidental, but sometimes its use is deliberate. Foreign branding, for example, serves the same purpose it does in the West: exotic embellishment. For the same reasons that a Chinese character or a Japanese Kanji tattoo seems "exotic" to many in the West, Asians may appreciate English words or gibberish for its aesthetic appeal alone; straight lines, frequent symmetry, and the unembellished curves of Latinate letters may all appeal to Asian senses of aesthetics and balance.

Some idiosyncratic usages of English among a community that is largely bilingual (Spanglish, Yinglish, Franglais, Konglish, Chinglish) have names with more neutral connotations, and are applied largely to people whose skills in English are more on par with those of the society in general.

Engrish can also refer to the Japanese pronunciation of English loanwords or a Japanese dialect with a number of English loanwords. Because Japanese has only five vowels, and few consonant clusters, English loanwords are often pronounced in a manner that sounds unusual and even humorous to English speakers. For example, in spoken Japanese, guitarist Eric Clapton becomes Erikku Kuraputon, Australia becomes Ōsutoraria, and "McDonald's" becomes Makudonarudo, which is often further abbreviated to Makudo or Makku. Japanese uses over 600 imported English words in common speech, sometimes in abbreviated form. Examples are hankachi for "handkerchief", fōku for "fork", tēburu for "table", puroresu for "pro wrestling", and so on. The more outlandish and humorous the pronunciation change is, the more likely it is to be considered Engrish. Even fairly logical English loanwords in Japanese will often sound foreign and unintelligible to an English speaker, such as the use of chīzu for "cheese" when taking a photograph. These pronunciation changes are linguistically systematic and are completely unrelated to the speaker's intelligence.

Engrish was once a frequent occurrence in consumer electronics product manuals, with phrases such as "to make speed up find up out document", or "Gas is maybe poison is" (for "Gases may be poisonous"), but it is less frequent today. Another source of poor translation is unchecked machine translation, such as that from the Babelfish service or Google Language Tools. Engrish is often created by translating a phrase using the Babelfish service or Google Language Tools to translate something into Japanese, then copying and pasting the Japanese text and translating it back into English.

Engrish features prominently in Japanese pop culture, as some young Japanese people consider the English language to be highly fashionable. Japanese has assimilated a great deal of vocabulary from the English language, and many popular Japanese songs and television themes feature disjointed phrases in English amongst the mostly Japanese lyrics. Japanese marketing firms helped to create this popularity, and have subsequently created an enormous array of advertisements, products, and clothing marked with English phrases that seem highly amusing or inexplicably bizarre to those proficient in English. These new English terms are generally short-lived, as they are used more fashionably than meaningfully. Many times English is just used in advertising or on products as an attempt to look modern and is not actually an attempt to communicate.

In contrast to Engrish, the term Nihonglish is occasionally heard, as well as the variant Eihongo, a combination of Eigo, the Japanese word for the English language, and Nihongo, the Japanese word for the Japanese language. It refers to the conceptual opposite of Engrish: badly pronounced and ungrammatical Japanese produced by a native English speaker. A typical example is the American English pronunciation of konnichiwa; rendered with an English stress pattern and phonetics as instead of the Japanese pronunciation . The term Nihonglish is often found among communities of Japanese language students where Japanese can be used sporadically in English conversation much as English is used among English students in Japan. The use of Nihonglish is usually intentional, and is done with a humorous or sarcastic intent. A heavy English accent is used, indicating supposed unfamiliarity with the rules of Japanese pronunciation. It is also known for being practiced occasionally by some non-Japanese fans of Japanese animation; in such cases it is also sometimes referred to as otakuism or Otaku-Speak.


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Concerning the Engrish Phenomenon:

Q. What is Engrish?

A. Engrish can be simply defined as the humorous English mistakes that appear in Japanese advertising and product design.

Q. Is Engrish found only in Japan?

A. No, Engrish can be found all over the world, but the vast majority of the really funny and creative Engrish is from Japan. The webmaster has seen many examples of Engrish from around the world, but most are not fit for Engrish.com (ie – they are not funny enough). People are invited to send in Engrish from other countries (including the US) - if some really good examples come in, Engrish.com will be happy to post them.

Q. Why do the Japanese try to use so much English if they can’t do it right?

A. Most of the Engrish found on Engrish.com is not an attempt to communicate - English is used as a design element in Japanese products and advertising to give them a modern look and feel (or just to "look cool"). There is often no attempt to try to get it right, nor do the vast majority of the Japanese population (= consumers) ever attempt to read the English design element in question (the girl wearing the <A href="http://www.engrish.com/adultsonly.php">“Spread Beaver” shirt for example, had no idea what it said until a foreigner pointed it out to her). There is therefore less emphasis on spell checking and grammatical accuracy (note: the same can be said for the addition of Japanese or Chinese characters to hats, shirts and tattoos found in the US or Europe).

Quite often it is easier to come up with English names than Japanese for a particular product. New products are brought to the marketplace in Japan more than anywhere else in the world and Japanese words and slogans quickly get used up. Japanese graphic designers will often tell you that English is widespread because the Japanese writing script (or scripts) limits their creativity - there are only so many ways to display their language, and only so many different types of fonts to use.

That said, in most instances Japanese companies do get it right and quite often consult a native English speaker for corrections.

Q. Why can’t they get it right? Don't Japanese study the English language?

A. The Japanese educational system is one of the best in the world - one of the primary reasons Japan was able build the world's second largest economy. It is not a perfect system, however - although most Japanese study English for anywhere from 6 to 10 years as a second language, they get little practical use since there are not enough native English speakers to practice with. The fact that the grammatical structure of the two languages is quite different does not help. The Japanese language also does not contain many sounds that you find in English (see below for specific examples).

Q. Why don't the Japanese check their English before putting them out into the world?

A. As stated above, many companies DO check their English before placing them on products, within advertising, etc.(these companies get it right). There are just many companies/individuals that either do not care to do so (again, in such cases English is used as facet of design more than a way to communicate), or do not have the resources to check their English - although there are many more native English speakers living in Japan now, they still comprise a very small portion of the overall population.

Q. Is Engrish real? Those photos are doctored in Photoshop, aren’t they?

A. The Engrish contained in the pages of Engrish.com are real and true examples of flawed English. Engrish.com has not touched any of the photos in any way (to enhance their humor or otherwise), except to lower their resolution and to add "www.engrish.com". The webmaster personally took many of the photos found on the site and can assure you that they are genuine.

If there has been any such editing, it was done by those that forwarded Engrish.com their samples. Engrish.com scrutinizes all photos as much as possible before posting them, but we cannot rule out the possibility (however slight) that they are not genuine. If anyone can prove that a photo that Engrish.com has received from others is not real then it will be immediately removed from the site (or put into a special “fake Engrish” section).

Q. What are common Engrish mistakes?

A. Regarding the Japanese use of English, common mistakes are most often attributed to the vast differences in their phonetic and grammatical structures as well as how the languages are used.

The most common mistakes due to phonetic differences are as follows:

1. The inability to differentiate between "R" and "L" (the Japanese "R" being closer to the Spanish "R" with a trill sound); samples found within Engrish.com include "Eric Crapton"and the word "Engrish" itself. Other famous examples include the misuse of the word "erection" (instead of "election").

2. The pronunciation "shi" (or "shee") vs. "see". Common mistakes found are variations on "s***" vs. "sit" - there have been a number of reported sightings of "baby-shitter" in place of "baby-sitter", and you can find one instance of "shituation" in place of "situation" within Engrish.com.

3. Lack of “th” or “v” sounds in Japanese - "th" is often replaced with an "s" sound, while "b" is most often substituted for "v".

4. The Japanese inability to pronounce various vowel sounds found in the English language. The Japanese language contains only 5 basic vowel sounds: "a" as in "ah", "i" as in "eee", "u" pronounced like "ooo", "e" pronounced like "eh", and "o" pronounced like "oh". Such confusion in vowel sounds can lead to examples like "fack you!" in place of "f*ck you", etc.

Grammatical mistakes vary but there are a few common errors that English teachers in Japan see on a daily basis:

1. Using a noun as a verb with "Let's" as in: "Let's beer" or "Let's Kiosk"

2. Redundant wording such as: "Let's play with me!"

3. Dispense with connecting words. Example: "I feel Coke"

You must be thoroughly bored by now.... no more examples

Q: Are these products on your site targeting Japanese people or westerners living in Japan?

A: Most of the products you see on Engrish.com are targeting Japanese people in Japan.

Q. Where does the word “Engrish” come from? Are there other words to describe Japanese Engrish?

A. The webmaster of Engrish.com came up with the term “Engrish” to describe flawed English found in Japan and other countries. The most popular alternative word used to describe the phenomenon of Japanese English is “Japlish”. Other terms sent in to Engrish.com include: Janglish, Engelese (or Engalese), Englese, Japanglish, Jinglish and Nihonglish.

Q. Sure, you make fun of the Japanese, but do you speak their language (or any language)?

A. The webmaster of Engrish.com lived in Japan for ten years - three of which were spent as a student learning the language, and the other seven working for companies in various positions (none involved English teaching) which required that he speak, read and write Japanese 80-100% of the time. The webmaster can therefore say with confidence that he is fluent in Japanese, but is by no means a 'native' speaker.


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Welcome to the Tokyo Tales Hall of Japlish

Strangled syntax and tortured text

One of the best things about living in Tokyo (yes, it really does rank right up there with 24-hour convenience stores and the excellent public transport network) is the prevalence of Japlish (some prefer the term Engrish) adorning items of clothing, vending machines, advertising, electronic goods manuals and J-pop lyrics - it's everywhere.

Japlish is English with a twist. Normally mistranslated from the Japanese, it ranges from grammatically-correct-but-horribly-cloying-and-overly-sentimental to comically misspelled to downright impenetrable and back again.

"Why can't the authors just get a native speaker to check it before they publish?" cry some, arguing that Japlish breeds Japlish and that the Japanese will never learn to speak English properly while surrounded by so much grammatical guano.

Screw that - let 'em loose, I say. I love my Obscure Desire of Bourgeoisie, and I won't let anyone take it away from me. Long live Japlish in all its forms.


    Make Your Own Japlish! Mix and Match.

  1. How much space to you have to fill?
    • postage stamp size
    • t-shirt label
    • t-shirt
    • side of box
    • side of truck

[*]What kind of feeling should be evoked?

  • Nature Trail
  • Strolling the Fashionable Streets of Paris
  • Explosion of Perkiness
  • Coniptions of Cuteness
  • Borrowed English Gentility
  • Mindless and Fun-Loving

[*]Is this a name, label, slogan, or filler?

  • Name for vehicles
  • Label for machines
  • Slogan for products
  • Filling in empty space
  • Mission statement

[*]Pick key adjectives, nouns and other bits

  • Stylish, Refined
  • Nature, Breeze, White, Black
  • Let's, Be, Go
  • My, Ours,
  • Charmy, Homo, Un-, Deep, Hard

[*]Should any punctuation be sprinkled in?

  • Lets', ladies', men's
  • road-red, com-ing
  • red'ing
  • . (as in "D.Day")*
  • missing (as in "Gods Lift")*

[*]Mix until ready. Then, PRINT on the nearest surface. Stand back and admire.

Редактирано от ISTORIK
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Erik Clapton - Erikku Kuraputon

Australia - Oosutoraria

McDonnalds - Makudonarudo, Makudo, Makku

fork - fooku

table - teeburu

pro wrestling - puroresu

cheese - chiizu

english - engrish

passeporte - passupootsu

ice cofee - aisu koohii

ice creem - aisu kurimu

fruit juice - furuutsu juusu

mineral water - mineraru wootaa

taxi - takushii

lemon - remon

radio - rajio

milk - mirku

lemon - remon

omelette - omeretsu

sport - supootsu

olives - oribu

bus - basu

television - terebi

esperanto - esuperanto

e-mail adress - iimeeru adoresu

blond - burondo

euro - yuuro

select! - serect!

traveler's check - toraberaazu chekku

flash - furasshu

keebord - kiiboodo

coffee - koohii

Dvorjak - Duvorujaku

Greece - Girishia

England - Igirisu

Europe - Yooroppa

Holland - Oranda

China - Chuugoku

Shao Lin - Shorinji

Luxemburg - Ryukusanbuuru

Spartacus - Suparutakusu

Редактирано от ISTORIK
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