When you watch your favorite Japanese TV dramas, your ear may catch some familiar sounds—some English words. They might not be your mishearing. You would be surprised how many English words are used in the Japanese language as “borrowed words”! Actually, Japanese people do not only borrow English words, but also they make up new words by blending English words and Japanese words together! You want to learn some of them? Then, let’s start it by watching an episode from the drama “Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo”!

Asked to deliver a speech as a new member of the tennis club, the girl said:

Soreto, Naoki-san no haato wo getsuru koto desu. Yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.

Let’s focus on the part, "なおきさんのハートをゲットすることです (Naoki-san no haato wo getsuru koto desu)." As you can see, ゲット (get) in ゲットする (getsuru) is written in Katakana, the angled style Japanese characters. As you may know, when a word is written in Katakana, the word usually is a borrowed word from some foreign language. Which foreign language? This is easy, too! It must be an English word: get! So now you know that she is saying that her goal as a new member is to “get” Naoki’s heart!

The more you become familiar with everyday Japanese conversations, especially among young people, the more you’ll be learning coined words. The word ゲットする (getsuru) is divided into two parts:

+ する
(English word: GET)
(SURU: irregular verb: to do)

Let’s take a look at some other examples:

パニクる (panikuru) =パニック(panic)+する (suru)

コピる (kopiru) =コピー(kopii: make a copy) +する (suru)

In these words and others the (su) in the verb する (suru) is dropped to make the word easier to pronounce.

There also are adjectives to describe how people or things are. Here are some examples:

グロい (guroi)=グロテスク (grotesque) + (i is added to make it an adjective)

エロい (eroi)=エロチック (erotic)+ (i is added to make an adjective)

How creative Japanese people can be! Coined words are not limited to verbs or adjectives. You can find nouns as well. Try these out:

イケメン (ikemen) =いける (ikeru: be good)+ メン (men) = men who are attractive

マヨラー (mayoraa)=マヨネーズ(mayonezu: mayonnaise)+er (to add the meaning “person who does…”)= a person who likes and eats mayonnaise a lot

For many years, Japanese people have adopted foreign words into Japanese by writing them in Katakana. Making up words by borrowing parts of English words is a relatively new trend. This trend may show that English has become a more familiar language for Japanese people than ever before. The creativity of the younger generation of Japan has no limit as they are constantly producing new words by learning English. Now, why don’t you, a Japanese learner, try to make a new coined word with Japanese and your language?

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