Japanese People’s Most-Hated English Words

This is from a 2-channel discussion I chanced upon. The thread’s title was “English words you hate.”

1. Encyclopedia
I don’t have a reason, but it just sucks.

2. I agree

4. Virus
It’s not an English word, though.

5. Experience
I can’t pronounce it.

7. Yield
It sucks.

9. adjourn awkward

10 I don’t like “christmas”

12. gender
“Sex” is good enough!

13. Korea, Korean

14. vocabularly. I always write “vocabullary”  or “vocaburary” by mistake. It bugs me because its not an adverb, but it ends in “ly”.

16. Bomber.
It should be “bommer”

17. ostrich

19. unnecessarily
No matter how many times I study it, I always spell it wrong.

20. leave
It tends to come up a lot in listening tests.

21 . It’s not a word, but “Why not?” meaning “Let’s do it.”

22. jewel

30. sino

31. statistics

33. NOVA

39. appreciate

34. due
It’s hard to grasp the meaning instinctively.

42. as
But if you get used to it, it’s useful

43. world, girl, earn

46. embarrass

47. entrepreneur
It doesn’t sound at all like antorepurena-

50. respect

54. I don’t like “due.” Somehow I don’t want to use it.

55. giant, tiger, dragon

56 . All English words suck.
I hate English!!!!!

59. wood
I was shocked when someone didn’t understand when I tried to say such an easy word

64. Death to “as”

72. laboratory
I don’t like where the stress is placed when it’s pronounced

73 vacuum
The two U’s in a row is creepy.

78. Involve is by far the word we should get rid of

81. parallel

82. nip

87 : juvenile
It sucks. When I saw it in a vocabulary book, I thought “You’ll never remember that!” but unfortunately, I did.

89 chignon

90. I hate words that are hard to pronounce.
In the past, when I practiced saying “fifth floor” I started to get a neurosis about it. Now “not at all” is no trouble for me, but at first it was quite difficult.

92 Penis

94 :名無しさん@英語勉強中[]:2008/11/13(木) 02:07:11

95. floccinaucinihilipilification

96. environment

98. This isn’t a word, but I don’t like violent expressions like “jump down someone’s throat.

99. simultaneously

100. committee
Couldn’t they shave a letter off somewhere?

101. I don’t like “reckon”
Come on, just use “think” or “guess.”

107. extravaganza

109. Korean

114. conference、confference、confferrence、conferrence
Could someone let me know which one is correct immediately?

115. coffee

118. get


57 Responses to “Japanese People’s Most-Hated English Words”

  1. jaydeejapan Says:

    I teach English, and I agree with “reckon.” I don’t like that word at all. It sounds too southern American. I’ve never used that word in my life, and now I teach it. Every time I teach it, I imagine it with a southern accent in a sentence like “Ah reckon tha dawg is ded after ah ran it over with tha truck.”

    • qjphotos Says:

      Actually, I think “reckon” is very common in Australian English, as I often hear people from there using it. It’s a good example of how languages evolve because it must have once been a common word in British English, and then some places stopped using it while others continued.

      • Andrew Says:

        I’d say it still is commonly used here in the UK.
        I wonder if the person who had trouble making themselves understood when saying “wood” didn’t pronounce the ‘w’ enough. I’ve known Japanese people do that with other words. ‘ooman’ (woman) is one example that springs to mind.
        Something to do with を not being pronounced with a ‘w’ sound I wonder?

      • qjphotos Says:

        I think you’re right about the “w” problem. And there’s also the fact that it becomes a three-syllable word when Japanese people try to say it.

    • itsgay-ollnotjail Says:

      I’m Australian, and I hate the word “reckon” as well. It just makes you sound stupid. I always use “think”, as it sounds far more sophisticated and professional, especially when you’re talking to someone. People who use “reckon” sound like they never went to school.

      • Dan Says:

        Id say “think” sounds a little less educated, in the UK “reckon” is common and i would think using it is fine, as i do.

        Each country, county and town has different takes on English. But , im English and English English is the only good one;)

      • Anonymous Says:

        and oh how important it IS to sound sophisticated. eh? I reckon. Not…..

        that’s what you think, I reckon. very strange insecure – lingo dullard i suspecto

  2. Emily Says:

    no one even uses reckon… Who uses that? Is there even any point to teaching it?

    • Solo Says:

      People all over the UK and Australia do.

    • Tag Says:

      Ahh, yeah sorry but apparently it`s a very Australian word. I`m Aussie and I get picked out as being one as soon as I say it. And I say it A LOT. In Australia, `guess` or `think` have just slightly different meanings. It`s very slight though – like the difference between rain and sleet. But it`s VERY widely used.
      As far as hating teaching it… maybe get over it? (said in good humour). I have to teach Sweater which is NEVER said in Australia, so there ya go. Definately a case of how languages evolve.

      • Kakashi Says:

        Wait, what is a sweater… Oh, it’s like a jacket. Okay, I didn’t know it was spelled like that :)

  3. Andrew Says:

    When I started reading the list I was wondering if “squirrel” would make an appearance. When I tried to teach that word to someone I was chatting with in Japan they didn’t even attempt to pronounce it. I guess it would become a 5 syllable word in Japanese with an unusual ‘wi’ sound within it. Is that sound used by Japanese when they talk about Microsoft Windows though?
    Whatever happened to ゐ、ゑ (wi & we) I wonder?

    • Melly Says:

      My Japanese 1 teacher had the same problem. She couldn’t say the word, “squirrel” for the life of her! It ended up sounding like, “Squirr.” Too funny!

      I hear “reckon” a lot when I go back to the Western part of the States, like New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. With the southern drawl there, that word is a lot more common.

      This was definitely interesting to read! I wonder what words English speakers have the most trouble with in Japanese… For a while, mine was, 笑われる. It’s a tongue twister!!

  4. English words that Japanese people hate « ritsukurimono Says:

    […] March 3, 2010 by ritsukurimono Via Quirky Japan Blog. […]

  5. St John Says:

    ‘Reckon’ is still very common here in England. But people don’t have to use it, just understand what it means.

  6. NTG Says:

    Wait, “vocabulary” ends with “ly”? Really? Uhh…

  7. Bella Says:

    LOL This was so funny! Good find!

  8. Lisa Says:

    You mean “vocabulary”?

    I hate a lot of those words too.
    I’m an English speaker, by the way.

  9. Decode Says:

    Funny post! :D Interesting was to read this all. :)

  10. miss shining Says:

    why do japanese people hate “korea” and “korean” word??????!

  11. teknicolorchina Says:

    Haha, this made my day. Nice knowing what they are actually thinking, for once. I don’t have the same problem with pronunciation, but I somehow find myself surfing a lot of Japanese sites and youTube channels. The characters are just as impenetrable!

  12. Kakashi Says:

    In Japanese I have trouble with.. that one… Uhhh
    Hajimeh.. uhm.. hold on..
    It means Nice to meet you, right? I have trouble remembering it, haha!
    But seriously, you hate English? Even though I speak English, I always has trouble with a lot of stuff. Specifically, Humiliated, you know. I also find Romanian irritating, for some reason…

  13. brian Says:

    You left out some of the good ones!
    #37 calliculram ← カリキュラムと書いてるつもり
    (“I’m trying to write curriculum”).
    heheh. Good effort!

    I’m savings this list for teaching my Japanese friends/students!

  14. Jean Says:

    I’m not surprised by some words because of blended consonants. Chinese language speakers have similar problems with certain consonants –anything that uses “r” in the word.

  15. Francis Nocete Says:

    I don’t even know what reckon means. Never heard of anyone using that. I’ve read it once but I never have the motive to search for it’s meaning. I’ll check it later. By the way I’m Asian.

  16. Warren USA Says:

    Try Warren for a first name.It would be very hard for Japanese to say it because neither W or R are natural sounds in Japanese. It should be Worin I have lived in Europe and the Germans have no concept of WHA double U =W.English is hard enough for native speakers to learn.English spelling was not put down in a dictionary until middle English.When you combine a language that had Germanic origins and added Norman French,Latin,Greek,and has absorbed Spanish, and words from about every other modern language,I can see why non speakers have problems with English.They need to completely remake the rules for spelling in English.Other Germanic and Latin languages use phonetics.English uses too may words that sound the same and mean something completely different. 2 to too,blue blew.English could get rid of C use K get rid of x and Y use J like most Europeans do.Get rid of silent E and gh combinations. Spanish is predictable as far as spelling and pronunciation’s. If you think English is hard to learn.It is nothing compared to learning Chinese,Japanese,Russian Greek and Sanskrit or Korean and Arabic.Languages that do not use the Latin alphabet.

  17. mary Says:

    I guess it’s easy for most people to close off their minds from something if they have difficulty grasping it immediately, and therefore deem it inferior to their own, familiar ways.

  18. lauren Says:

    my japanese teacher always says blackets (brackets), though thats just the l and r pronounciation problem, but after studying japanese whenever i try doing another accent now (eg.french) the l’s always come out as r sounding….strangee o.o

  19. Anonymous Says:

    “as” showed up twice. that kinda suprises me. what is it about that word that’s hard or annoying for japanese speakers?

    i do agree with alot of those words though, particularly when it comes to spelling! what IS the purpose of so many double letters? i didn’t see my least favorite word though: rural. i usually end up saying it like “rrul”.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    “100. committee
    Couldn’t they shave a letter off somewhere?”

    oh my god, that made me laugh so hard XDD. That’s exactly what i think when i see the word queue, though apparently that’s not an english word.

    and what is so creepy about the double u? XD

    • Lindsey Caygill Says:

      Queue is used in UK English all the time. We say that instead of “wait in line”.
      It’s originally the French word for tail. English has been influenced by French since
      the Norman conquest of 1066 and UK English is still influenced by the fact that Dover is
      only a 75 minute ferry ride from Calais.

  21. Still no visitors from Japan « Hey Tim Says:

    […] English words that Japanese people hate. I can’t say that I have an English word I dislike. […]

  22. Matt Says:

    Hey, what can I say… Haters gonna hate… :p

  23. athia Says:

    I agree with a lot of these, and I’m British.

    Especially “unnecessarily” and “parallel”.. Silent consonants should just not exist.

  24. Kat Says:

    I feel bad for people who go through all the trouble to learn English as a second language, and then visit the South.

  25. Peggy Says:

    When I was a child (as in Stone Age) my father used to teach me arithmetic at times by giving me a bill from a shop or restaurant and he would say ‘Reckon that up’…meaning add up the figures on the bill and find the total.

    I never ever used the word ‘reckon’ as meaning ‘to think’. Never heard anyone else using it either. It is not English really. It is colloquial (!!!) American from the south. English people would try to imitate the sound of American accents and say things such as ‘I guess and calculate…) So funny.

    I love words and how they change in spelling and meaning. Interesting all around thr world.

    • Anonymous Says:

      The English-speaking world is bigger than America you know. Other countries use it.

    • john mosbrook Says:

      ‘I reckon…’ is actually British English in use today. Many people think the phrase is an American Western idiom. My guess is this was a Britishism that lasted for a few decades after the colonies won their independence. Then it disappeared. ‘I reckon’ can be heard in many British movies both old an new. I rather like this phrase and use it quite naturally when the situation calls for it (when giving directions to strangers, for example).

      • peggybrad Says:

        I agree with the message from John This really is an English word and became changed in time after being used in US. English and American are two different languages in a way. I have lived in US for over seventy years and still people will ask me ‘where do you come from’ when they hear me speak. The strange thing is, when I listen to an English TV programme I can’t quite understand the way those people speak also……

  26. Luisa Says:

    chignon is french.

  27. Rozilnie Says:

    Hey I kind of just found this blog, and although I’m English myself I agree that I really hate some English words like interlectual (I can’t say or spell it) but I think some of the words you put up aren’t real or at least I’ve never herd of them. Floccinaucinihilipilification for one appears in spell check but I cannot find it in any dictionary.

    • Rozilnie Says:

      Actually now that I think about it I don’t hear many people say reckon but I use it all the time. I Gess the language sort of changes depending on where you where bright up and how.

  28. Cody Says:

    The word reckon is very southern in America, I was born in rural Tennessee and now live in Texas, and it is used widely (even by me haha).

  29. Paige Says:

    Once you get used to English, it’s not that bad. :P I’m learning Japanese and I’m finishing my 4th semester, being my second year learning. The more kanji and tango/vocab we learn, the harder it gets. First semester was the best since we learned hiragana and katakana, but we had like a week or two to memorize them all before being quizzed.
    The English word I had trouble saying the most was “millenium”.

  30. Danielle Says:

    no we country people ( not me or my family of course but i do live in texas but don’t talk like that unless i’m joking around) say reckon’ in a sentence like so “Well i reckon’ he went this way” translation “Well i bet he went this way”

  31. Danielle Says:

    Wow is English that hard to learn i’m thinking about learning Japanese as the culture looks interesting is Japaneses hard to learn that way you guys write is complicated looking!

  32. allison Says:

    why is as hard????
    and we dont use reckon alot in texas unless you are a hick red neck :/

  33. ALT Wiki Japan Says:

    What an excellent post – thank you very much for translating this!
    It’s amazing all the phrases we have that, when you think about the words in those phrases, would be so hard to understand if you don’t already know what that phrase means. And English conversation is peppered with these! So hard to learn without constant exposure.

  34. Anonymous Says:

    Reckon is not colloquial American. It is an old English word and the Aussies and Americans still use it today because both countries were populated (invaded) by British people.

    I still don’t get the fuss about “as”. It’s pretty simple, isn’t it??

  35. 黒子 Says:

    : I know a little English, so I can help with “conference. I think is conference with no rr and ff. I hope I helped.

  36. Peggy Says:

    I don’t think Australia was ‘invaded’ by Britain. It was part of British Empire when they decided to send convicts from England to live in Australia.

    Later on more people wanted to go there to start a new life and it was an adventure for men especially when gold and opals were found. the opals in Australia are very beautiful

  37. Paulo Says:

    I guess I should understand the japanese having this type of problem in pronunciation because we all know that their language is very much different from English… They don’t have the L sounds, so I’m pretty much sure that they will have the greatest difficulties in the pronunciation of other words….

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