Gairaigo in Pokemon
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Thread: Gairaigo in Pokemon

  1. #1

    Default Gairaigo in Pokemon

    IMO It’s kinda fun to search the Pokemon series just to find out what English words are used in the Japanese language versions of the series. Called “gairaigo,” these English loanwords that are used in Japanese are radically transformed to fit their usage in Japanese writing and pronunciation. It’s interesting to see such mundane English words to an Anglophone take a dramatically new form of life in another language.

    It’s a phenomenon once only Francophones could admire about English and today Anglophones themselves can admire this aspect of Japanese.

    In the Pokemon games and anime, which is aimed at ages 3 and above, I wonder how many, up to what percentage, and what kinds of gairaigo are frequently and not so frequently used in the text of the games and in the spoken words of the anime.
    Trivial as it may sound, I’d like anyone who knows any of these gairaigo used in Pokemon to simply post them here.
    I hope this will grow on to become a comprehensive list or I daresay, a “dictionary” of sorts which fans could used to enjoy the Japanese series of Pokemon directly in its original form.

    I’ll go first with my favourites:

    シティ ~ Shiti ~ City
    エリア~ Eria ~ Area
    タウン ~ Taun ~ Town

  2. #2
    Avatar mostly by Asci Kthleen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gairaigo in Pokemon

    I don't have any favorites, but:

    バトル = batoru = battle
    ゲット = getto = get (catch)
    トレーナー = toreenaa = trainer
    マスター = masutaa = master
    ボール = booru = ball (like monster ball/Pokéball)
    タイプ = taipu = type
    リーグ = riigu = league
    ジム = jimu = gym

  3. #3
    Registered User Leocul's Avatar
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    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Gairaigo in Pokemon

    What do you mean by different types and frequency of borrowed words (外来語) in Japanese? I'm used to playing Pokemon in English, but I do speak Japanese as well. What I can say though, is that borrowed words are absolutely essential to the Pokemon series; "Pocket Monsters" itself, the title of the series, is made from borrowed words.

    However, this is not a phenomena exclusive to Pokemon, and although Japanese has a lot of borrowed words, you kind of have to treat them as part of the Japanese language, because they are so essential to it. If you're in Japan and try to use the native English pronunciation of some borrowed words, many times Japanese people won't understand, and vice versa too. A good example of this is ウイルス (uirusu), which is borrowed from the English word "virus". Furthermore, sometimes borrowed words aren't taken from English, like アルバイト (arubaito - part-time job) from German, アンケート (anketo - survey) from French, or パン (pan - bread) from Portuguese. Sometimes "borrowed words" are even constructed in Japan, such as サラリーマン (salary man), which we can understand but don't use in English, although like I mentioned, I play Pokemon in English so I don't really know any examples of this in Pokemon.

    Many borrowed words are also shortened, for example "diamond" gets shortened from ダイヤモンド (daiyamondo) to ダイヤ (daiya). And finally, many of them are combined with Japanese words, such as 食パン (shokupan - white bread). As far as Pokemon goes, a couple examples of this might be ジバコイル (Magnezone), which is a combination of 磁場 (jiba - Japanese word for magnetic field) and コイル (koiru - borrowed word for coil). An example of both shortening and combination with a Japanese word is すれ違い調査隊, the Passerby Group from Passerby Analytics. A translation from the Japanese would be "Off-topic Survey Squad", of which the すれ違い (surechigai) is a combination of "sure", a shortened form of the English word "thread/topic", and the Japanese word "chigai" meaning "different". Another issue regarding borrowed words in Pokemon could be when the Japanese names for things don't match the English, such as スーパーボール (Super Ball) which is what we know as "Great Ball" in English.

    So I guess if you really wanted to categorize borrowed words in Pokemon you could maybe use those different types, but I think that generally for people looking to enjoy the original Japanese Pokemon series, treating 外来語 as full-fledged Japanese words is a good idea. Sorry for the long post by the way.

    TL;DR- Pokemon is filled with gairaigo, even the title and many Pokemon names are gairaigo.


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