Japanese Loanwords in Yapese

Japan ruled the island of Yap from 1914 to 1945, introducing many new material goods and cultural practices, which have left a rich legacy of loanwords in the Yapese language. The following list is extracted from a dictionary that uses the new Yapese orthography, which I have undone in order to make it easier for people familiar with Japanese to recognize the source words, some of which are quite archaic (or even obsolete) in contemporary Japan.

  • baru ‘crowbar’
  • bata ‘batter (in baseball)’
  • baydok ‘syphilis’
  • beni ‘lipstick’
  • benikawa/binikawa ‘type of potato’
  • bokdang ‘bomb’
  • chikongki ‘record-player’
  • chiyoseng ‘Korea; Korean’
  • chiyusa ‘shot, injection, hypodermic needle’
  • chiyusa nag ‘to give a shot to someone’ (nag derives verbs, like Jp. suru)
  • chumong ‘order, in the sense of a requisition’
  • chungayri ‘to dive head first’
  • daykusang/daykisang ‘carpenter, builder’
  • dempo ‘telegram; to send a telegram’
  • denchi ‘battery’
  • dengki ‘electricity; flashlight; xray’
  • dengkibasra ‘utility pole, power pole’
  • dok ‘poison’
  • doma ‘checkers, chess; a game’
  • futong ‘mattress’
  • gengkang ‘covered, protruding entranceway to a building’
  • hang ‘seal, stamp’
  • hangngo ‘small Japanese pot’
  • hasra ‘utility pole, power pole’
  • hyakngo ‘type of potato’
  • isobing/usubing ‘type of half-gallon bottle’
  • jori ‘rubber sandals, slippers, zoris’
  • jubong ‘pants’
  • kabang ‘handbag, purse’
  • kachido ‘movie, cinema’
  • kama ‘sickle, scythe’
  • kamoch ‘car, automobile’
  • kangkiri ‘can opener’
  • kayak ‘gunpowder’
  • kayru ‘toad, frog’
  • kech ‘stingy’
  • kich ‘crazy’
  • kitanay ‘dirty’
  • komey ‘rice; type of yam’
  • koyeng ‘rest house on a hilltop’
  • kui ‘marker pole in sea’
  • kyuri ‘type of vine, cucumber’
  • mame ‘beans’
  • mangwa ‘cartoon’ [a spelling pronunciation?]
  • marutobi ‘hopscotch’
  • merikengko ‘[American wheat] flour’
  • mong ‘Japanese ornamental gate or archway’
  • nappa ‘cabbage’
  • nas ‘eggplant’
  • nawa ‘jumprope; to play jumprope’
  • negi ‘onion, green onion’
  • nejimawas ‘screwdriver’
  • nis ‘varnish’
  • niso ‘gallon bottle’
  • nori ‘glue, paste’
  • okas ‘candy, cookies’
  • okinawa ‘Okinawa; type of [sweet] potato’
  • osongach/isongach ‘Christmas’
  • otobay /atobay ‘motorscooter, motorcycle’
  • pachingko ‘slingshot’
  • panchu ‘underwear, pants’
  • ping ‘pin, hairpin, safety pin’
  • pistor ‘pistol, gun’
  • remong ‘lemon, lime, citrus’
  • rengnga ‘concrete block’
  • sakura ‘type of flowering tree; pink plumeria’
  • sarumata ‘underpants’
  • sarukang ‘swivel used to connect leader to fishline and to fishhook’
  • sasing ‘photograph, picture’
  • sasmi ‘raw fish, sashimi’
  • sayda ‘soda, soft drink’
  • semmengki ‘small washbasin’
  • seng ‘wire, line’
  • sensey ‘teacher; to teach’
  • sensey nag ‘to teach’ (nag derives verbs, like Jp. suru)
  • sentak ‘laundry; to do laundry’
  • sentaksekken ‘laundry soap’
  • sigobing ‘bottle about the size of a fifth gallon, the size of a shoyu bottle’
  • sikato ‘skirt’
  • sikidas ‘drawer’
  • sikojo/hikojo ‘airport’
  • sikoki/hikoki ‘airplane’
  • simeng/jimeng ‘to lay out the ground for a house foundation’
  • simi ‘charcoal’
  • sitangi ‘women’s underclothes’
  • supido ‘fast, speedy’
  • tama ‘marbles, the game of marbles; light bulb’
  • tamanegi ‘round, dry onion’
  • tamango ‘egg’
  • tanchyobi ‘birthday party, birthday celebration’
  • taray ‘large washtub’
  • tech ‘steel ball’
  • tempra uta ‘song in different languages mixed together’
  • teng ‘score, mark’
  • tesange ‘purse made of pandanus leaves’
  • togang ‘ash pumpkin’
  • totang ‘boat made out of folded sheet of roofing [tin]’
  • udong ‘noodles’
  • yakyu ‘baseball’
  • yasay ‘green vegetables’
  • yasmi ‘vacation, holiday, rest’
  • yeng ‘dollar’ (cf. piseta ‘quarter dollar’ via Span., mag ‘half dollar’ via Ger.)

SOURCE: Yapese–English Dictionary, by John Thayer Jensen with the assistance of John Baptist Iou, Raphael Defeg, Leo David Pugram (U. Hawai‘i Press, 1977)

To the list above I can add a few more from my own fieldwork in Yap: chichibando ‘brassiere’, hanafudahanafuda card game’, kanggof ‘nurse’, and kawanguchu ‘leather shoes’.

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Filed under Japan, language, Micronesia

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