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Language in Danger

As Kurt pointed out in his comment on one of my previous entries, things around the Japanese language are changing. Here, let me quote what you wrote, Kurt.

saw a tv program segment about these "kogal" girls who couldn't speak proper polite Japanese because they're so used to speaking their own keitai-influenced lingo.

"Kogal" (freewheeling high school girls) have been kinda cultural phenomenon in Japan. They have created their own "kogal talk", and "keitai" (cell phones) seem to have helped accelerate the weirdness. Yeah, so weird that their lingo is sometimes used as questions in TV quiz shows. Polite Japanese has no place in their vocabulary.

It's an interesting thing, that word processors (and now personal computers) are making it so that a lot of younger people have difficulty writing good-looking kanji

Sure, personal computers have had a great influence on our language. The influence is not limited to younger people. I often hear people whining about difficulty in writing kanji by hand because they are so used to keyboards. PC users have less occasion to write by hand. Besides, PCs are kind enough to automatically convert hiragana to kanji. That means you don't have to know exactly what the kanji is shaped. Thus, a lot of kanji are going out of your working knowledge. (Ironically, the automatic conversion enables you to use very difficult kanji that you are not so familiar with.) I'm, of course, not an exception. I sometimes find myself stalling trying to remember a certain kanji while writing on the blackboard. Things are changing, really.


I didn't know about kogal talk, but groups always tend to have their own slang - I hate some of the slang at school (even when was I was at school!).

The computer thing is very familiar to me, though. Of course, kanji are much harder than English words, but still my spelling is much worse now that I write so much by computer (since 16 actually). Spell-checkers are all too helpful, but when we rely on things we forget how to do things ourselves! On the plus side, computers could help me learn kanji with the Hiragana conversion as you mentioned. All pros and cons.

What I find interesting is that we (including you, of course) will use a lot more kanji with the kana-kanji conversion than we would do by handwriting. That could improve our kanji ability -- at least, reading. :)