Posted by: ritsukurimono | March 3, 2010

English words that Japanese people hate

Via Quirky Japan Blog.

So 2chan is like the Japanese forebear of 4chan, but larger and both less creepy and more creepy by turns. But I think this thread is really funny and cute: it’s about the English words that Japanese English learners hate. There’s stuff you nod along to, like:


“vocabularly”. I always write it “vocabullary” or “vocaburary” by mistake. Even though it ends in “ly” it’s not an adverb!

Expected, right? A lot of the complaints are about the conflation of the l and r sound in Japanese. “vocabulary” is a long word and I think that’s a great point about it not being an adverb (笑) But then there’s also stuff that you wouldn’t automatically think is hard, like:

そこから、素早くRにしなきゃだめですから。 」

“very” is hard to pronounce. Because “ve” is already hard, but then having to say “r” right away is just terrible. (LOLOL)

This one made me laugh until I cried last night, even though it’s little:

酒かと思ってた 」
sake — I thought it was wine!

You know, like a sake bomb. :’D I thought the following poster had a good point:

「respect  尊敬する、敬う

respective  それぞれの、各自の

respecting  〜について、〜に関して

なんでこんなにそっくりさんなのに意味がこんなに違うのさ!! 」

respect      to esteem, to honor
respective      each, every
respecting     about ____, with regards to _____
Why are the meanings so different when the words are so similar?

And then there’s just the crazy LOL ones, like:

Czechoslovakia. It’s long and I can’t remember it. Then again, you don’t use it nowadays because it split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia (both much shorter in Japanese). Saved by their separation and independence!


vacuum — the two “u”s in a row creep me out.

What about you? Are there words you have a rational or irrational hatred for?


  1. AHAHA i think i love the last one best, apart from the “very” one. i always thought there was something weird about the word vacuum (other than the fact that i always misspell it), but i think 気分が悪い is the perfect description of that apprehension. yet another example of japanese being an incredibly vague, weird, and yet completely succinct language. love it!

  2. I agree, “vacuum” is rather creepy. I always want to add an extra c.

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