I was in MacDonalds recently drinking a シェイク when I noticed an advert for part-time work.
It simply said マック de バイト and it got me thinking, not about working there, but katakana English.
When you study Japanese you end up relearning English. What do I mean?
Well consider the thousands of loan words, many from English,
which have crossed over in to Japanese : トイレ インターネット ツイタ- the list goes on and on.
If I say these words, as they are pronounced in English, to a Japanese person they normally
look at me like I am speaking Turkish.
To be understand you have to speak kanakana English.
The striking difference between English and Japanese is that in English loan words are
rarely changed from the language they are adopted either for spelling or pronounciation.
For example, here are a few Japanese words used in the English lexicon:
sushi, tsunami, sumo, geisha, kimono and hari kiri.
Generally these words are pronounced in English as they are in Japanese.
In theory they are anyway, of course accents often get in the way of pronounciation.
One of my brothers pronounces hari kiri, harry karry,
But in Japanese the adopted word is changed so instead of toilet we get "toire".
This is chiefly because of the absence of the 'l' sound in Japanese.
So even though toilet and toire are a place to pee, the pronounciation is as different as
the shape of Japanese toilets is to Western-style toilets.
To return to MacDonalds. After seeing the job advert I started thinking what if Japanese
ditched katakana and replaced it the English alphabet?
The alphabet is widely udes in Japan; with only 26 letters it's quick and easy
to learn and if loan words from English were kept in their original script it might
eventually lead to new sounds being introduced to the Japanese language.
Shoud English replace katakana? What do you think?
the vocabulary of a language