Hi everyone. Welcome to our seventh video lesson. How many you have ever heard of the word “wasei eigo”? Or if translated to English would be “Japanese-made English”. These words have been adopted into modern Japanese lexicon and used on a daily basis. Words like “baby car” and “Fried potato” which are thought to be “English” in Japan are often met with blank stares by native English speakers.  So join me and my friend Kazumi in this video as we look at some Japanese-made English words that cause Japanese people trouble when they go abroad.


1:Alcohol (aruko-ru)アルコール

(Kazumi talking over the phone):Kazumiが電話で話しているシーン

“Hello Cha. I want to drink alcohol tonight. How about going to the nearest bar?”“Yeah? Okay. Sounds good. See you.”

The word alcohol is widely used in Japan to refer to liquors or beverages with alcoholic content like sake, beer, gin and others. However, alcohol is a more general word and using it in a conversation like in our example may seem to sound unnatural to native speakers. It would be better to be specific when talking about drinks. You could say “I want to drink beer tonight.” Or “I want to drink sake.” As much as possible avoid using “alcohol” in informal conversation.

アルコールと言う言葉は日本では焼酎、ビール、ジンといったものをお酒、または飲料と言い現していますが、アルコールはもっとも一般的な言葉で日常会話で使われています。例文のような使い方はネイティブスピーカーにとって不自然です。飲料について話す場合、もっと具体的に伝えるのが一番です。“I want to drink beer tonight”または“I want to drink sake”と言うといいでしょう。日常会話では“アルコール”と言うのは避けましょう。  

2:Fried potato (potetofurai)ポテトフライ

“What do you want to eat?” “Hmm, I’m craving for fried potato.” “You mean French fries?” “Uhuh!”

Although perfectly understandable, “fried potato” is not commonly used by English speakers. In American English, it’s called French fries. In British English, it’s chips. So it’s better to use French fries to sound more natural.


3:Consent (konsento)/ Laptop (noto pasokon)コンセント/パソコン

“Hi, is there any consento here? I need to charge my pasokon.”

These are strange words. When a Japanese asks you where the “consent” is, he or she is not asking you for permission but a “power outlet”. It’s best to say “Is there any outlet here?” or in the UK “Is there any plug socket here?”

これらの言葉は変わったように思われます。日本人が言うコンセントは英語で「許可」と言う意味になり、英語では“アウトレット”と言います。”Is there any outlet here?またはイギリスでは、”Is there any plug socket here?”と言うと良いでしょう。

Also, in Japanese English, “noto pasokon” is an abbreviation of notebook personal computer. Of all Japanese English words, this is perhaps the one that is most different to its English equivalent. But using this abroad would cause confusion so it’s better to use the word “laptop”.


“Hi, is there any outlet here? I need to charge my laptop.”  

4:Cooler (ku-ra-)

“It’s so hot in here. The “kura” isn’t working.” Some Japanese use the word “cooler” to refer to an air conditioner. In the US, if you use the word “cooler” people would think you are referring to a refrigerator in a store. Or in other countries it refers to a box for storing food and beverages that you could bring anywhere. Thus, it’s safe to say “The air conditioner isn’t working.”

日本人はエアコンのことを“クーラー”と表現します。アメリカでその言葉を使うと店内にある冷蔵庫のことを言っていると勘違いされます。また他国では食材や飲料を持ち運べる保存する容器のことを言います。”The air conditioner isn’t working”という言い方が無難な言い方です。  

5:McDonald (Makudonarudo)

“I’m in the mood for a burger. How about going to Makudonarudo?” Since the Japanese language is syllabic, Japanese have their own pronunciation for McDonalds. However, if you go abroad and ask people where’s the nearest McDonalds with this pronunciation, they might find it hard to understand you. Sounding natural is the key. So instead of saying Makudonarudo, you could pronounce it like an American: mik-DAH-nalz. With the stress in ”DAH”.

日本語は母音を含まない音節、つまり子音で構成されているので、日本語は独特な言葉を持っています。しかし海外で近くのマクドナルドの場所を聞く際に“マクドナルド”と言うと海外の人は理解できません。海外では自然な音で言うのがポイントになります。アメリカ人のように発音する場合、”DAH”を強調して発音します。   Mc = You could pronounce the first syllable as “mik” with a short i sound. Some others pronounce it like “Mac” like Old MacDonald has a farm E-I-E-I-O. “Mc”の部分は”mik”と短く発音します。 Do= Put the stress in DAH. Don’t make it an O sound. DAH! “Do””DAH”と強く発音し、”O”と発音しません。 Nal= Say nul. Use an uh sound. Null. “Nal””nul”と発音します。“Null”“uh”発音をイメージしてnul”と発音すると言いやすいです。 Ds= Then drop the D sound. We often drop the D sound when followed by an S or Z sound. “Ds””D”の音を発音しません。”S””Z”が付いている単語はしばしば”D”の音を発音しません。 So Mik-DAH-nalz. Don’t forget to put the stress in Do (DAH). つまりミクナルズ”と発音します。”DAH”の部分を強調するのを忘れずに。 “I’m in the mood for some fries. How about going to mik-DAH-nalz?”




HLCAについて詳しくみる >

HLCA BLOG編集部です! 医療英語やHLCAでの学校生活、セブ島の情報など、医療従事者や医療系学生、セブ島留学を考えている方に役立つ情報を発信しています。 「海外の患者様が来たらどう対応したらいいの?」「海外の病院ってどんなかんじ?」と思ったときにはぜひ、このブログを読んでみてください!