By Billy Hammond (Copyright AELS)

In my early days here, there was a teacher who had studied Japanese for a year at ICU in Tokyo. He was intent on mastering the language and studied very hard, often trying to practice it with the English Conversation students at the school we were teaching at.

 

He noticed that I often shortened words and thought that was great. He especially picked up on how I would answer questions about travel by omitting the Japanese word for train or bus, as in “the Midosuji” instead of saying “the Midosuji Subway”; or sometimes replacing it with the word “line” as in “Dedo Line”, instead of saying the “Dedo Bus Line.”

 

One day, he came to me and said, “What’s wrong with my Japanese? I tried the same trick that you use and dropped the word for train and my junior college student burst out laughing!”

 

I asked him to elaborate and it seemed that his female student had asked him how he came to the language school. His apartment was near the Hankai Streetcar Line, which was also popularly called the “Chin-chin (due to the sound of the streetcar) Train.

 

It was then that I cracked up laughing. When he’d eliminated the word “Train”, he’d left the word, which in colloquial Japanese when used by itself, meant “male member.”

 

He’d basically told the student that he used his member to get to school!

 

外国人にとっては単語省略はまずい!

教えていた英会話学校にICU1年間日本語を学んだ先生がいた。彼は熱心に日本語を勉強していた。チャンスがあれば、英会話の生徒と練習するほど頑張っていた。

 

彼はいつも私の日本語に注目した。特に私の移動に対する質問の答え方に気に入った。例えば、梅田校まで「どのように来られていますか?」に対して私は「御堂筋で通勤しています」。同じく、相手が交通網に慣れている場合、私は『バス』とか『電車』を省略することに注目した。すなわち、『出戸バス線』を言う代わりに私は『出戸線』のように答えた。

 

ある日、彼はイライラした表情で「一体、僕の日本語のどこがおかしいですか?貴方がいつも使っている省略技を使うと女子短大生が笑い出した!」

 

詳しく説明するように頼むと、どうやら彼が生徒に『どのように通勤されているか?』と聞かれたようだ。彼が当時住んでいたアパートは阪堺電車の近くにあったのでそれに乗っていた。私や学校の事務員達はその電車を『チンチン電車』と呼ばれていた。

 

それを聞いて私が笑い転げた。彼が肝心な『電車』を省略した。「私はチンチンで通勤しています。」と答えたようだ!!

By Billy Hammond (Copyright AELS)

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English books published by AELS

(AELS出版英語書籍リスト)

 

I. Majoh Gakuin and Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools Trilogy

1. Majoh Gakuin & Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools

2. Lost Witch (The second book)

3. Fate & Magic (The final book in the trilogy)

II. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire Trilogy

1. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire

2. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Returns

3. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Challenges (The final book in the trilogy)

III. Fantasy fiction set in Japan

1. 21st Century Ninja

2. Regressed

3. Japanese Woman

IV. Fantasy fiction set outside of Japan

1. Dimension Jumpers

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