Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Japanese people very much like to abbreviate words they borrow from other languages and sometimes even their own expressions and words. Because Japanese uses a syllabic script while other languages use alphabets, words borrowed from other languages tend to be even longer in Japanese and so the tendency to abbreviate them is understood.

Take the word for a Personal Computer for instance:

Japanese: パーソナルコンピューター
Reading: paasonaru konpyuutaa

This is shortened to only:

Japanese: パソコン
Reading: pasokon

Which can be understood, even in English it's shortened to PC.
But in Japanese you find that abbreviations are much more common than in English.

Let's see if you can guess the next one :

Japanese: ファミレス
Reading: famiresu

Any guesses?
That's a Family Restaurant for you, right there!

Japanese: ファミリーレストラン
Reading: famirii resutoran

This next one fooled me the first time I laid my eyes on it.
I had no idea what it's supposed to be... you try!

Japanese: パトカー
Reading: patocaa

Any guess?

Now don't you cheat and read the next line!

Ok, you give up? Here it is...

Japanese: パトロールカー
Reading: patorooru caa

Which is a patrol car.
But patocaa just seemed to me at first like some kind of a sledge hammer or something...

There are a lot of those abbreviations.
If you have one which is really hard to guess,
please write it up in a comment!

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