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bakkushon

A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

bakkushon

Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Sep 24, 2005 6:09 am

This term, transcribed «バックション», was (is still ?) used in Japan to describe a woman who is decidedly more attractive when viewed from the rear than en face. The interesting thing about this loan word is that, not unlike many technical terms in English which are an admixture of Latin and Greek, is that it derives from two distinct European languages - «bakku» from English «back», and «shon» from German «schön». I have never been able to find it listed in a dictionary, but can testify to the fact that it flourished during my stay in Japan in the second half of the 60s of the last century. Perhaps our Flam could help out here - is the term to be found in dictionaries of Japanese slang ? Are any such dictionaries available on the internet ?...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Flaminius » Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:25 am

Henri's plight is facilely saved by submitting a query to Google with more Japanese spelling; «バックシャン» or «バックシェーン». The correct etymology, as far as I can verify, has been given by Henri.

I have heard this word two or three times in conversiation with おやじ, middle aged gentlemen. Before the War, German and, to a lesser degree, French had enough currency in Japan to provide loan words. For example, シェーンなメッチェン or sheen-na mecchen (from schön Maedchen) was a distictly collegeate slang for beautiful girls. Gerupin (pennyless) was a chimera word between German Geld (gold, money) and sukampin (素寒貧), an indigenous word for pennyless.

I am sometimes appalled with the differences between Japan that Henri saw and lived in and that I currently find myself in. This thread made me realise that few, if any, linguistic innovations have been tried that involve loan from non-English foreign languages in my generation. Perhaps foreign language majors are, as ever, innovating their speech with the language they study but the new words seldom survive when let out of campus.

Nowadays, schön or シェーン is hardly an item of common vocabulary. With it, bakkusheen is dying out, I though. A quick Google search, however, returned many hits for «バックシャン» in sectors of subculture. 古い言葉が死ななくて、本当に良かった。

アンリさん、お探しになっているのは、スラング表現までスコープに収める外来語辞典ですね。管見の限りでは、インターネット上にそんなものはありません。きっと国会図書館や神田神保町が、貴兄のご来訪を心待ちにしているというメッセージではないでしょうか。学究かならずしも電脳空間にてのみ生くるに非ず。東京へのご来訪を心待ちにしています。
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Sep 24, 2005 1:34 pm

This is not related to Henri's question, but I somehow got reminded of the Japanese ability to reduce and combine foreign and native words into something more "palatable" to the Japanese tongue. Examples are パソコン (pasokon) for personal computer, アルバイ (arubai) for アルバイト (arubaito), from German Arbeit - work, 私大 (shidai) for 私立大学 (shiritsudaigaku), private university.

The other day I saw these words: ドアノブ (doanobu) on the doorhandle and thought, oh, okay, that's from doorknob, but that's not a knob, it's a handle, and told my Japanese teacher that, to which she replied, "That's what we call it in Japanese" :) .

Brazilian dude

Reminds me of パワーウインドー (pawa- uinda-, power window), which is what the Japanese call an electric window in a car, and I'm also told that when the Japanese say フロント (furonto - front), they don't mean the front of a building, they mean the front desk.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Sep 24, 2005 3:45 pm

竜太郎君、有難う御座いました!当たり前、«バックシャン»ですね。年寄に成って記憶力は段段悪く成って来たんですね。如何も済みませんでした。。。。

Thanks, Flam, for giving my memory, which had distorted the pronunciation of this term a nudge - it is, of course, «バックシャン», and I was glad to see, after checking with Google, that the term (and presumably the phenomenon) has not died out, even among those younger than members of the 親父/親爺/老爺 (おやじ) class, who Flam, with his characteristic delicacy, is kind enough to refer to as «middle-aged» gentlemen. It's also good to see that deference to the aged is not entirely extinct in Japan....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Flaminius » Sat Sep 24, 2005 8:59 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:アルバイ (arubai) for アルバイト (arubaito), from German Arbeit - work


The word アルバイト, meaning a part-time job or a part-timer, is abbeviated to バイト.

The other day I saw these words: ドアノブ (doanobu) on the doorhandle and thought, oh, okay, that's from doorknob, but that's not a knob, it's a handle, and told my Japanese teacher that, to which she replied, "That's what we call it in Japanese" :) .


Reminds me of パワーウインドー (pawa- uinda-, power window)


See here and here. They seem to be genuine English words.
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Postby Flaminius » Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:17 pm

私立大学 (shiritsu-daigaku) and the abbreviated 私大 (shidai) cause phonetic confusion with a homonym pair; 市立大学 and 市大 (shiritsu-daigaku or shidai), meaning city university.

When oral distinction is necessary, a private university is referred to watakushi-ritsu, and a city university ichi-ritsu; each after the kun reading of the first character. MS Japanese IME supports both readings as proper input for 私立 and 市立.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Sep 25, 2005 10:26 am

Flam, I certainly know what a doorknob is, what I said is that my Japanese teacher said that was a doorknob, but in English that would definitely be a doorhandle, the one she was pointing to.

I wasn't aware of power window, though. Thanks. :)

Brazilian dude
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Sep 25, 2005 10:32 am

Doesn't Japanese have something like ドアハンドル that can be used instead of ドアノブ when the former is called for?

Brazilian dude

P.S. I think so, because I wrote it and my computer was eager to convert it to katakana, which seems to be a good incation of something that has been used before.
Last edited by Brazilian dude on Sun Sep 25, 2005 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Sep 25, 2005 10:38 am

Flaminius wrote: ...
The word アルバイト, meaning a part-time job or a part-timer, is abbeviated to バイト...


Interesting, and, I suspect, a new development during the last 30-odd years ; in any event, I can't remember having heard this term for this type of work during my stay in Japan. One problem with this simplification is that it would tend to render the word open to confusion with words derived from the English «bite», but of course, context would usually suffice to distinguish them....

Henri
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Postby Flaminius » Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:42 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:I wrote [ドアハンドル] and my computer was eager to convert it to katakana, which seems to be a good incation of something that has been used before.


Methinks the IME was eager because it recognised your input as a combination of door and handle. Handle in Japanese means a round thing that you can turn. Thus the most typical handle is steering wheel of an automobile or a motorbike. I never heard doorhandle in daily context.
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Postby Flaminius » Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:47 pm

バイト can be short for arubaito or a loan meaning byte. The distinction is made by pitch accent which the former does not have on any mora and the latter on the first.

Loan words into Japanese tend to lose accent when they become familiar. Words representing technological innovation quickly lose accent because they spread and die out quickly. Looked at other way round, speakers who utter those techy loans without accent present themselves either as show-offs or as those who are really in the business.

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Postby tcward » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:52 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:...which seems to be a good incation of something that has been used before.


BD... your editorial eye is slipping!

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Postby M. Henri Day » Mon Sep 26, 2005 3:02 pm

Not at all, Tim, our BD is merely applying to English what he learned about disappearing syllables in Japanese. A «di» here or a «di» there - what's the difference !...

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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Sep 26, 2005 3:13 pm

Hahahaha, I just wish Henri were right about that one. Thanks for rescuing me, though.

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