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Japanese English

Ever want to speak English like a Japanese? It's easy. Here, I'll show you some tips.

Never care about the usage of nouns

Correct usage of the articles (a, an, the) , singular forms, and plural forms would make your English sound like a native speaker's. By all means avoid this. Always use nouns as they are, without adding anything. "I like dog" sounds perfect. "I enjoy dog." "I eat lunch with three dog every day." "Dog is friend!" You can sometimes use "the" before nouns, if you feel like doing so. "I'm from the Japan." "Stop the Ichiro!" Cool.

"To be" rules

Frequently use "to be." When you order a cup of coffee, simply say, "I am coffee." Don't care about other verbs: "I am drink coffee." You can even say "I am like dog." Never mind, the conversation partner will understand what you mean, maybe.

Tense, what?

You don't have to be sensible to verb tense. Context speaks. "He go to school every day." "He go to school yesterday." "He go to school tomorrow." You have only to be consistent. If you can say "Are you go to the Japan next year?", you are an advanced speaker. Are you understand?

Use "very" very much

"Very" is a nice word. If you use "very" in front of verbs, that would sound much better. "I very like book." Oh, to be an advanced speaker, you should say, "I am very like book."

Use "enjoy" freely

Don't you know that "enjoy" is a versatile word? If you say "Watching football is fun," you are an amateur. Instead, you have to say, "Football watch is enjoy." And, you know, don't forget to add "very" - "Football watch is very enjoy!" Wow!

Now, these are only in the introductory level. But knowing them would make your English sound much like Japanese. Let's English!



Oh my, I haven't laughed this hard outloud in quite a while. What great insight - with tips like that anyone can be speaking Japanese English in no time.

What I find interesting is that when thinking about how my former students spoke English, I recall pronounciation first, but it's basic grammar patterns and word usages like these that really make it sound like "Engrish." I think you must be a great teacher to notice such things.

A side note - just web surfing today I ran across Rob Pongi's comedy clips on http://tokyodv.com/, though I think your understanding of the matter is better. Still - "please very enjoy conversations with sea and sand."


Hilarious. This is truly one of the funniest things I've read in awhile.

On the serious side, though, I've always thought that language errors provide insight to the person's native language. Beginners tend to translate pretty literally--so if you can see the patterns in their errors (as you have), you can learn about the patterns inherent their language.

Maybe, Kiyo, you will publish a companion piece of errors frequently made by those of us trying to learn Japanese. The first one I can think of (from us English speakers used to S-V-O and pronouns) is the overuse of "watashi wa".

Jason, thanks for the link. The video thing seems to be too much for my "narrow band" connection. Please explain what it is about when you have time.

M, a Japanese version sounds fun. I'll think about it. ;) Yes, the overuse of "watashi wa" is highly probable.

Hey Kiyo,

I'm actually not too familiar with the video clips on that site, having just run across it myself. But the comedy clips of "Rob Pongi" is an American guy reading, in a very serious and enthusiastic tone, Japanese English on things like the ocean or personal ads. Funny stuff - though w/ this kind of comedy you're always walking a thin line between laughing with someone versus laughing at them.


Oh yeah, I got it, Jason. Thanks. ;)

ms (miss) is usualu used by women who are unmarried, widowed or want to keep their marital status private. Most teachers here, in Canada, use ms. other that mrs. (usualy the younger teachers).

'course if it were me in any of your shoes, i wouldnt care too much of what ppl called me... i guess thats just me. ^_^

I am learning Japanese right now and every scentence uses watashi... then i leaned of the others and got confused. I searched untill i came here (by the way, this site realy cleared stuff up), and now I think WHY CANT THERE BE A REGULAR FOR OF "I"??? U_U Everything is either "too formal, too polite, not enough, or too impolite... Maybe I could use "Watashioreboku"... haha

maybe just "Watashiore"... cuz then the politeness and the impoliteness would cancel each other out...! Then we wpul have a word that isnt polite or impolite!(haha thats funny...)

Why is it that I was replying to another post... and it ended up on this post...?
err.... good bye! ^_^' gemen nasai!!!!!!!
(runs off...)

I have something for this post though. Instead of saying "My Dog" you could say "I of dog" and instead of "The clown's nose" you could say "clown of nose" haha, this post was a funny one though...

LOL! Hi, Inochi. So you like the word "inochi"?

i think that the way they speak is funny and i like it alot i like to tlak and sound dumb some times i think that it is koool

goodbye all you

mistake on how i spelled talk

I'm glad you linked to this because, although I read and commented on it over three years ago, I'd completely forgotten it. I got to laugh all over again.

I'm learning passive verbs right now. As difficult as the pronunciation is of such words as "warawareru"...just looking at all those irregular English passives made me very thankful that I'm not learning English.

I still wonder what the counterpart for this post would be. What makes foreigner's Japanese sound foreign? Other than bad pronunciation? Forgetting to conjugate adjectives is high on my personal list. 「今日は寒い。昨日も寒い。」Wrong!

Hmmm...The first thing I can think of is of pronunciation. Come to think of it, I don't have many chances to listen to non-native speakers speaking Japanese. So why don't you come to Japan and talk to me in Japanese, M? Haha. Joking aside, give me time. I'll blog about it. It's an interesting subject.