日本語 | 中文 (簡体) | 中文 (繁體) | Korean  
  
 Register now!!    Login  
att.JAPAN WEB


att. Culture - Calendar - 携帯 vs ケータイ 1
att. Culture - 携帯 vs ケータイ 1
att.JAPAN Issue 18, September 2005

携帯 vs ケータイ 1


A look on Japanese characteristic seen through Japanese Orthography.

Ketai「マジアツイっス。ソッコーフロはいりてー。」
"manitshot. wannatakeshowerimidiatly!" Typical mobile mail from my 17-year old youngster! This kind of alien lingo is what I've been inundated with since I gave up communicating with him and my 19-year-old daughter by good-old telephone. They claim to be considerate of their old woman, who's behind their times by maybe a hundred years. But their "subculture" cliche continues to boggle the mind with its "katakana" gig that tramples all over the eye.
I must apologize to the readers of the English version of this article, but I beg them permission for raising the above example, as the whole issue I want to address here relies on it. The more decent version of it would be: 「まじ暑いっす。速攻風呂入りてえ。」("It's very hot. I want to take a shower immediately!") If he had sent me this, I would have called him right then and there: "Honey, what's wrong?"
That's how much katakana has power over the young generation of today's Japan. According to one literature, it seems that the usage of katakana "is a kind of psychological strategy that makes the young believe it can avoid the 'stiff, archaic image' that kanji, or Chinese characters, tends to give."
What's interesting is that katakana, which for several hundred years has been an established part of the language, has taken on a fresh meaning for the young generation of the 21st century as a vital tool for providing a visual image in written communication.
Originally created as phonograms for the language that could not be recorded by kanji, katakana and hiragana have since contributed to visually distinguishing imported Chinese words from primeval Japanese. What's more, they have even come to play a role in expressing various sentiments hidden in words.
Take "poroporo," the mimetic word for "drop by drop," for example. If you shed tears "ぽろぽろ," you are probably crying silently and with deep emotion. If the tears are falling "ポロポロ," "ぽろぽろ," you may not be as heavy-hearted. "ポロポロ" dropping food during a meal may just indicate sloppiness, but ぽろぽろmight signify a different problem. How a word is regarded also rests on individual perception, but by and large, every Japanese shares the same image. This unique form of visual transmission of ideas gave birth to haiku and waka poems.
There are easier examples, like "銀座" and "ギンザ." They both mean Ginza, Tokyo's posh downtown, but the image each written form brings to the mind is completely different. The former would indicate "a distinguished shopping district of the nation's capital" and the latter, "a trendy place not so Japanese-y."
Personally, I think we Japanese are a pretty smart people, capable of instantly allocating three different ways of writing a single word, depending on the situation, and that we possess extremely sharp visual and auditory sensations. I'd like to elaborate on this in the next issue.

The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution
facebook
Ads by Google

Company Info  |  Privacy policy  |  Contact Us
Copyright © 2000-2012 FINEX Co., Ltd.  |  Design by 7dana.com