Monday, September 14, 2009

Loanwords in Japanese

Recently, I was eating in Sakura the other day and noticed something interesting on the specials menu, 黒豚ソーセジポトフ (kurobuta sausage potofu). Turning the menu over for the English side, all I found was the added word, soup, in parenthesis, which led me to believe that potofu was, indeed, derived from the French pot-au-feu. With that, I went ahead and ordered it, since the first and only time I had pot-au-feu, it was a delicious duck broth with seared foie gras and truffle oil. (thank you, Captain Jack!) Well, this one was not nearly so good - a rather bland vegetable mix with some decent sausage that tasted a bit more like hot dog than kurobuta, although in retrospect, I think that may be due to the rather unusual sweetness in kurobuta.

EDIT: This post wouldn't be complete without pointing you towards the wiki page on loanwords in Japanese, Gairaigo and the hilarious non-example "left-over", which refers to a "hit that goes over the left-fielder's head" in baseball rather than, well, leftovers. :)

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