Category Archives: Word Origins

Why is grass (草) used in Japanese to mean something is funny?

The interaction between languages over time can be interesting to follow. Words get imported from one language into another, and meaning often changes, from subtle to drastic ways. New words can even be formed using a composite of words from two languages. For various historical reasons, in the last few decades the Japanese language has… Read More »

Interesting Japanese loanword “マウンティング” (mauntingu, a.k.a. “mounting”)

Anyone who studies Japanese for even a short time knows there is a huge number of loanwords, and there seems to be more being coined every day. While they come from a bunch of world languages, yappari many are from English. This is both a blessing and a curse. If the word sounds like its… Read More »

Japanese term: What is “Ateji”? (当て字・あてじ)

Kanji (漢字), characters adopted from Chinese, are easily one of the most challenging aspects of the Japanese language. I think it’s fiar to say the love or hate relationship a learner has with kanji can determine whether they continue learning the language or give up. Personally, while I acknowledge kanji take a lot of time… Read More »