Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Is That a Word?

I was walking at the time the elementary school let out and was in the middle of lots of children with little backpacks.  One boy jumped out in front of me and said “Eigo-jin, hello.”  I had to laugh and I said hello back, which set off a chorus of hellos from other children.

Eigo-jin?  I don’t know that Eigo-jin is a word, but I have to admit my Japanese vocabulary is limited.  Eigo means English (language).  Jin at the end denotes nationality, as in Amerikajin for American and Nihonjin for Japanese.  Are all English speaking people, from whatever country, called Eigo-jin? I don’t know.

2 comments:

  1. I have never heard such a word and think it was the boy's way of saying: Hello Foreigner. Gaijin (foreigner, person form outside Japan) can sound rude. To make it politer an adult would add 'san' to address a foreigner, Gaijin-san, but a child might not. Either way, the boy's vocabulary created a whole blog post, so it was good that you met him!
    Happy vocabulary hunting!

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  2. I only studied Japanese for 2 years, but I was an Eigo-jin - but that's because I am English. I'm sure it's because they didn't know what nationality you were so plumped for English.

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