Translation Tip

Translation tip: If you are reading a sentence in English/ Japanese and are unsure of what it says, identify the subject and then try reading the sentence backwards and the grammar will be much more akin to your native tongue.

Posted in Japanese as a Second Language 🇯🇵 日本語, linguistics 🤟言語学

Emoji Etymology

I encountered a delicious etymological treat this week. Emojis! 😋I did not know that “emoji” is a Japanese word. I thought it was the internet’s way of taking the word “emotion” and shortening it or combining it with something, as the internet loves to do. It was a light bulb moment. 💡 Ah, ha! This is why there are so many Japanese kanji and Japanese cultural items in the emoji library!

Let’s break down the word in Japanese.

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Posted in Japanese as a Second Language 🇯🇵 日本語, linguistics 🤟言語学

Misheard Words

Have you ever learned a word incorrectly because you misheard it? You won’t know at the time, of course. Such a realization comes afterward when you bump up against others using the word, and your lexical paradigm doesn’t match your interlocutor’s. 

You see, our brains are meaning-making machines and will try to make meaning make sense even when it does not, and will fill in words it thinks it hears. The school game telephone (also known as Chinese whispers) exploits this property linguistically known as a mondegreen, which got its name through Sylvia Wright’s famous mishearing of the poetic line “layd him on the green” as “Lady Mondegreen.” 

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