This last part deals with out and out grammar abuse, commonly committed by those who have had zero instruction in Japanese, and rely mainly on what they think they learned watching anime or j-drama.
Japanese Grammar Mistakes Committed by Weaboos
Saying “[your name]-san”.
Some local anime fans introduce themselves on forums and in real life by saying “I am____-san.” (私は ____さんです。), which is wrong. It is one of the first rules your Nihongo instructor will teach you.
One never refers to oneself as “-san” because it is like referring to yourself in the third person in English. Think of it this way: remember how American wrestler The Rock would always say “The Rock this” and “The Rock that” but never say “I am” or “I will”? Same banana.
Saying “Kurismasu omedetou.”
Just because “Happy birthday” is “Otanjoubi omedetou.” (お誕生日 おめでとう。) it does not automatically mean that “Happy Christmas” is “Kurisumasu omedetou.” (クリスマス おめでとう。). The Japanese say “Merry Christmas” (メリークリスマス。) much like the rest of the world, with the only difference being in the way it is pronounced — it is closer to “Merii Kurisumasu” than actual “Merry Christmas.”.
Adding “s” to a singular Japanese word to make it a plural.
Some anime fans pluralize singular nouns in Japanese by adding an “s” at the end of the word just like they do in English. As a result, I’ve encountered such monstrosities as “I love collecting mangas!” and “I enjoy watching animes”. If you must, try revising your sentences by saying “I love collecting manga volumes.” or “I enjoy watching anime shows.” instead. Japanese and English are two completely different languages, so one should not apply the grammar rules of one language to the other as if they were interchangeable.
Using “-dewa nai / -ja nai” in negating verbs.
The use of “-dewa nai” (ではない) or “-ja nai” (じゃない) in negating verbs is incorrect, as the two are applicable to nouns only. The most horrifying misuse of the negative form I’ve encountered was from the “Learn Japanese” thread of a local message board, where one member actually said “Watashi wa Nihongo ja nai.” (私は日本語じゃない。) or, “I am not the Japanese language.” — which he obviously wasn’t.
Up to now I am still unsure whether he wanted to say “I am not Japanese” — “Watashi wa Nihonjin ja nai.” (私は日本人じゃない。) or “I do not speak Japanese.” — “Watashi wa Nihongo wo dekinai.” (私は日本語をできない。). Either way — he was still wrong.
Using “-chau” to negate words, because it is short for “chigau”.
This “rule” was made up by a forum member who obviously thought that watching anime made him an expert in the Japanese language. He claimed that appending “-chau” (っちゃう) to any verb negates it as well as turns it into an interrogatory verb — which is complete bull. “-chau” is simply the colloquial for “shite shimau” (してしまう) — which is appended at the end of verbs to illustrate negative stress after the action has been done.
That’s it for our Terrible Twenty — our list of Commonly Misused Japanese Words and Phrases by Philippine Anime Fans. If there’s any lesson at all that I want blog readers and anime fans to take away from this series of posts, it’s that no matter how much (subtitled) anime you watch and how much (scanlated) manga you read, if you want to really learn the language there is no substitute for a good Nihongo instructor.
This series of posts has been suggested by the very inspirational Nina of Just Wandering. Thanks for being a great travel buddy and supportive friend :D:D:D
Thank you also to Chelli of Hitorigoto for providing additional cases or incidents of Nihongo abuse. Thanks for the laughs and I hope we get to go back to Tokyo together soon!