Bad Japanese

It may seem unbelievable (`_`), but despite our interest in Japanese visual culture, we aren’t native Japanese speakers. So we undoubtedly fail hard on multiple occasions. Nevertheless, we try to learn things, and since I don’t have anywhere else to put this, I’ve decided to create a page here for 悪い日本語 – a catalog various colloquial usages that we’ve come across in translations.

Perhaps this will be of use to someone else.

————————————————————————————————–

見ちゃらめぇ – Don’t look!

Seems to be common usage in colloquial Japanese, but couldn’t find any explanation for this one in Guguru. So here you go:

見ては行けない→見ちゃだめ→見ちゃらめぇ

mite wa ikenai -> micha dame -> micharamee

(The extended え is of course just additional emphasis…you’ll see a lot more of them on a 2ch post….)

In book Japanese, there is of course the normal negative imperative

(vulgar/rude) 見るな – miru na

(informal) 見ないで – minai de

(polite) 見ないでください – minai de kudasai

The difference is of course emphasis and stylistic usage, the variant probably being the most direct and rude way to get people off yo bidness. Somebody please try this out in Japan on some local bosozoku or yakuza and report reactions.

[Thanks to FFFpeeps TL convexity for the basic explanation]

————————————————————————————————–

いったれ! – Do it!

Actually, information varies on this one, it’s a contracted usage, naturally, but not clear if this is mostly a Kansai dialectical or if it’s also common in Kanto (and elsewhere):

言ってやれ!→いったれ!

itte yare! -> ittare!

The translation would be something like “Say do it!”, i.e. “Say that you’ll do it!”. In practice, it’s an exhortation to get on with whatever it is. Depending on context, could be “go for it!” or maybe “just do it!”.

————————————————————————————————–

A short special by Kasu: Kumeta Japanese! 知ったな! – Now you know it!

I was really surprised when I actually googled this phrase and found (almost) nothing but blog entries, bb threads or fanarts dealing with KK or SZS. I already knew it’s a kind of typical Kumeta-phrase but now it seems to me he actually belongs to the people who first started to use this phrase.
Let’s look at this one from the grammatical point of view:

知る → 知った (過去形)+ な = 知ったな

shiru “to know” -> shitta “knew” (past tense) + particle na = shitta na

Now how to explain this one? na な is a particle that mainly serves three purposes: firstly, it’s used with the present tense dictionary form of a verb to form a strong negative command, such as するな (suru na) “Don’t do it!”. Secondly, it’s a particle similar to ne ね, i.e. a kind of saying “…right?”, “…isn’t it?” or smiliar. Thirdly, na can be used as an abbreviation of nasai なさい to form positive commands from a speaker who outranks the one he talks to. Example for this: このケーキを食べな (kono keeki o tabe na) “Eat this cake”.
In the case of Kumeta’s shitta na, I think the na is a combination of the first and second purpose I explained above. Kumeta usually has characters say this phrase when somebody else discovered something about the character they shouldn’t have. So shitta na seems to be something like “Now you know something you shouldn’t now, right?!”. I’d usually go with the “Now you know it” – translation since you have a context around.

————————————————————————————————–

しょぼい – Lame

So, not a contracted form, but I’ve decided to branch into general colloquial usage here, since this page is generally しょぼい anyway :/

しょぼい

shoboi

Dictionary meaning is “shabby, dull” or “gloomy“. In colloquial usage, can be “boring“, “mundane“, “stupid“, or “lame” – generally lacking in excitement or interest. Some examples:

From a website focused on a topic near and dear to my heart, the miracle that is cup ramen:

大黒食品工業株式会社 (100円)
なんと冷し中華のカップ麺!カップ焼そばと同じ様に湯切り、そのあと2度冷水を入れて水切りして、かやくとタレをかけて食べる。かやくは、錦糸卵、のり、紅ショウガが申し訳程度。タレはレモン風味の中華ダレ。フタがしょぼいので湯切りに手こずる。味は普通の冷し中華の味だけど、なんとも言えん食いもんだな、こりゃ。珍品ってことで、猫印は2つだね。(たみえんこ)

Because of the stupid lid, it’s a hassle to fill it with hot water.”

大阪支部まっきん(僕)の90マーク!しょぼい車なのになぜか取材受けました(疑問)嬉しいのでいいですが(笑)

“Osaka Makkin (me) 1990 model! Even though it’s a boring old car, for some reason I like finding out more about it (:-D)”

ながののへぼぺーじ
ながのくんのしょぼいページです(笑)
“Nagano’s Sort-Of Homepage. This is Nagano-kun’s lame webpage (:-D)”

[I have stolen this material from a mostly-dead website (www.nafai.org) of unknown provenance, since it looks like it was archived off a once-functioning server. In any case, if the material is original to someone who cares, drop us a line and I’ll credit it. However, it contained Nihongo in ancient Mac OS encoding which renders as gibberish in a browser, so I have moved this here for great justice and the public good. Also added translations.]

————————————————————————————————–

余裕ぶっこいてくれんねエよ – Don’t give me that attitude!

And here we have an example of some usage you’re probably only going to encounter in action manga or yakuza movies. This is a stereotypical phrase that the biker gang leader will unload on the protagonist before the big fight scene. It appears to be an entirely colloquial/slang usage that everyone in Japan seems to be familiar with, but that isn’t found in polite dictionaries. Here is my derivation of this:

余裕 = youyuu

“margin”, “allowance”, “composure”, “latitude”, “leeway”, “wiggle room”

ぶっ= bu~

emphatic prefix, from words like ぶっつり “buttsuri” = “breaking” or “snapping off”

放く → こい

rude command form of ‘koku’ a verb meaning “to do” or “to say” with a negative connotation

-てくれないよ → -てくれんねエよ

colloquial negation of -te kureru, “to do (for my benefit)”

Putting this together, “youyuu bukkoite kurenee!” could be read as “(relaxed attitude/feeling of composure) [really] don’t do [to me] [you inferior person]”.  You could translate that as “don’t act like everything’s cool“, “don’t act like you’ve got no worries“, etc. but with a very aggressive tone. So next time you’ve bumped into some guys in leather jackets and big pompadours in Roppongi at night and you hear this, you’ll know what you’re dealing with ;)

2 Comments to “Bad Japanese”

  1. or “You wouldn’t knew, right?” ;D

  2. Thanks for creating this fun and informative page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers

%d bloggers like this: