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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Japanese Language: Abbreviations Not Used


Tokyo correspondent Leo Lewis wrote in a recent Times of London piece that the abbreviations noted below are becoming widely used by Japanese people under 25.

He moreover went on to quote an expert that this is evidence that Japanese are becoming more direct and perhaps a tad less aware of the feelings of others--and, worst of all, sowing confusion among their their elders.

"The surging use of acronyms, sociologists and language experts say, has created a significant shift in young people's attitudes to elders, and in junior workers' attitudes to bosses. Even among acronym addicts of a similar age, the emerging lexicon allows them to trade abuse freely in a way that traditional Japanese makes rather tricky," writes Lewis.

Having never heard of or heard any of them, we were suspicious. For the record, though, here they are:

AB (甘いものが別腹、amai mono wa betsubara) -- Someone who eats a bit too much, especially sweets
GM (牛丼のほうがまし、gyudon no hou ga mashi) - better than fast food
FK (ファウンデが濃い、Fande koi) -- too much makeup!
ND (人間としてどうよ、Ningen to shite douyo) -- what the hell kind of person is this?!
NTT (荷物担当者、nimotsu tanto sha) -- pack horse for a woman's bags
OBM (臆病者、okyubyo mono) -- a guy too scared to ask a girl out
DD (誰でも大好き、dare demo dai suki) -- the kind of person who falls for anyone
NS (能力より正確、noryoku yori seikaku) -- someone promoted way beyond their competence

Unlike the ubiquitous KY (空気読めない、kuuki yomenai = clueless), the above remain a mystery. A casual survey of college students and young people in Osaka and Kyoto (face to face), and Tokyo (via email and cell phone) produced only confusion and laughter.

One young Japanese woman in Tokyo said on the phone that she thought, perhaps, that she may have heard FK on tv or from a friend. In Kansai, however, there was merely giggling and "Nope, never heard of any of them."

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