The Dictionary as a Mirror of Time Posted by eriko1 on Oct 16, 2021 in Culture, Slang, Vocabulary
One of the largest Japanese dictionaries (辞書 jisho) is published from Sanseido. It is the most popular one. It was first published in 1960, and it has been edited periodically to add or delete words. The dictionary was updated this year after 8 years.
Language is alive and it is changing all the time whether you like it or not. Dictionaries must reflect these changes. So publishers must look at their dictionaries periodically. Sankyu Tatsuo, a Japanese linguist and a comedian, writes “Language changes reflecting time. So correct Japanese does not exist. This notion is shared by linguists (言語学者 gengogakusha) for Japanese, and Japanese linguists.”
Each publisher (出版社shuppansha)chooses which words to include and eliminate based on their philosophy, and that has resulted in the uniqueness of each dictionary. Some publishers value prescriptivism (規範主義 kihan shugi), while others may value descriptivism (記述主義 kijyutsu shugi). That may be one of the reasons why the Sanseido dictionary is most popular among all dictionaries.
According to Asahi Shinbun, the Sanseido dictionary values descriptivism, and it did add 3500 words in the 8th edition to be published in 12/2021. So let’s look at some words that have been chosen for entry.
Added New Words
|New Japanese Words||Yomigana||Meaning|
|アラフィフ||arafifu||around 50 years old||about 50 years old|
|ラスボス||rasubosu||last boss||the strongest enemy in the last stage of computer games: a person who has the feel of the last boss|
|受け子||ukeko||a person who is in charge of receiving money from a victim in frauds|
|いいね||iine||LIKE||Like as in social media, such as Facebook or Twitter|
|陰キャ||inkya||a person who is gloomy in character|
|マリトッツォ||Maritozzo||an Italian sweet|
|ゾーンに入る||zo-n ni hairu||get into the zone|
|きゅんきゅんする||kyun kyun suru||my heart skips a beat|
|黙食 する||mokushoku suru||eat in silence to prevent COVID-19 from spreading|
Added New Meaning
|Japanese||Yomigana||Original meaning in English||New meaning|
|塩||shio||salt||as in 塩対応 (shio taio), meaning unfriendly cold response|
|巣ごもり||sugomori||nesting||as in 巣ごもり消費 (sugomori shohi)、meaning stay-at-home consumption|
|リモート||rimo-to||remote||as in リモート飲み会（rimo-to nomikai), a drinking party on Zoom|
|忖度する||sontaku suru||be considerate to the other party's feeling (positive)||Assume one's senior's judgement, and act based on the assumption blindly to be liked (negative)
On the other hand, 1700 words have been deleted.
|Japanese word||Yomigana||English meaning||Description|
|携帯メール||keitai me-ru||cell phone mail||also called carrier mail. Email specially provided by cell phone carriers.|
|コギャル||kogyaru||a popular word in the 1990s, referring to middle and high school girls with dyed hair and mini-skirts.|
|スッチー||succhie||nickname for "stewardess"||female flight attendant|
|パソコン通信||pasokon tsushin||Personal computer communication||a closed network, while the Internet is an open network.|
|ミニディスク||mini disc||MiniDisc (MD)||a magneto-optical disc-based data storage developed by Sony in 1991.|
As you might have figured out, most new words are related to computers and COVID-19, while deleted words related to old technologies and trendy words such as コギャル. Some trendy words were used so much that they became stale and uncool, resulting in becoming obsolete (廃れた sutareta). スッチー means a stewardess, which only refers to a female cabin attendant. The word stewardess was replaced by a flight attendant socially, and the word スッチーdisappeared.
Not many people may use actual dictionaries and many opt to use the internet to look up words. But if you have time, it is really fun to read an actual dictionary, aimlessly going word after word. Highly recommended!
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