Let’s Chat – the Japanese Way ^^

Posted on February 27, 2017 | genkijacs

Have you ever caught yourself boasting that you are fluent in a language and then suddenly feeling ashamed when your friends ask you to help them translate what their foreign exchange partner had texted them online? – You are not the only one.

Among all the possible grammar, expressions and vocabulary, internet slang is often the most difficult to understand for non-native speakers as it develops and changes incredibly fast. To some it may seem as though there are new words and expressions every day. Japanese is no exception to that.

Like in many European languages, abbreviations are often used on chatrooms, blogs etc. These abbreviations may be short for English words as well as Japanese ones. Here are a few examples:

→ コピペ – "kopipe" → copy and paste
→ GJ → Good Job
→ うp – uppu → upload
→ おk → OK
→ wwww – equivalent to LOL

Inventing new words on the internet is also just as popular among Japanese people as it is nearly everywhere else. Just have a look at the following examples:

→ ググる – "guguru" → to research something on Google
→ ゆうつべ – "yuutsube" → Youtube
→ カワユス – "kawayusu" → (derived from kawaii) to be cute

However, there is one aspect about Japanese internet slang that will never appear in European languages: Using different kanji to abbreviate the writing progress. This part might be the most troublesome for foreigners since we have a tendency of trying to make out the meaning first before thinking of the bigger picture. Yet, in order to understand these slang words, knowing the reading comes in handy. Would you recognize the following expressions?

→ 今北 (now north???) – "ima kita" → 今来た。 (I just got here.)
→ 裏山C (backside mountain C???) – "urayamashii" → 羨ましい (to envy)

Of course, there is a lot more to learn about internet slang words in Japanese as e.g. the kaomoji that you might have read about in one of our previous entries.

If you really want to master your Japanese friends’ online messages, tweets etc. the best way to learn all of it is to ask either them or another native speaker. (Though even Japanese people might not understand all of the expressions used online.)