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Modern Teen Japanese Dictionary Explains Latest Slang, Adds Gender-Inclusive Language

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Why does "grass" mean "LOL" and what does "SOGI" stand for? A new dictionary edition explains.

The Sanseido New Modern Japanese Dictionary released its 6th edition on October 16. Calling itself "the only dictionary high school students need," this new edition contains dozens of Japanese slang words that are being included in a standard dictionary for the first time. The dictionary has added over 1,000 new headwords for a total of roughly 77,500 words.

Dictionary enthusiast and blogger Nagasawa has written a blog post highlighting some of the most noteworthy additions.

Numa

English meaning: Swamp.

Slang meaning: A hobby that you've become sucked into. (e.g. "I've got stuck in the camera lens swamp lately.")

Yabai

English meanings:

1) Inconvenient. Unpleasant.

2) Dangerous.

Slang meaning: Liking something without understanding why. The word is frequently compared to the slang usage of "sick" in English. (e.g. "That movie was sick!")

Maunto

English meaning: Mount.

Slang meaning: Standing over the top of someone. Making someone yield. Acting as if you're the superior one in terms of knowledge or personality.

Kusa

English meaning: Grass.

Slang meaning: LOL (laugh out loud). The Japanese word for laughter is "warau," which is often abbreviated to "www" or "w." Putting w's next to each other looks like grass onscreen, so the Japanese word for "grass" can now take on the meaning of LOL as well.

Pochiru

Slang meaning: To make an online purchase. "Pochi" derives from the Japanese onomatopoeia of pressing a button.

Nagasawa notes that "Pochiru" first appeared in the 2nd edition of Daijisen published in 2012, but claims that its inclusion in the Sanseido New Modern Japanese Dictionary is the first time the word has appeared in "a dictionary of this scope." Other new colloquialisms such as "ikiru" (to act cocky), "guguru" (to search something on Google), "sukusho" (screenshot), "charao" (frivolous man), "bazuru" (to go viral on the Internet), and "wanope" (to staff a retail outlet with one person) are included in the Sanseido New Modern Japanese Dictionary for the first time.

Another notable change in this edition is the usage of more inclusive language when defining words related to sex and romance. Previous editions of the dictionary specify that words such as "sex" and "love" involve interactions between a male and female partner. In the newest edition, the gender of the partners is not specified.

The dictionary further includes the definition of "SOGI" (Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity), an acronym that is often used alongside "LGBT" in Japan. The dictionary defines it thus: "Expressing a preference for a particular gender ('sexual orientation') and how one defines their own gender ('gender identity'). An ideology that acknowledges the diverse ways of living regarding sex and gender. (An acronym used to describe sexual minorities that do not fit under the 'LGBT' umbrella.)"

Nagasawa claims that despite being an extremely important concept, SOGI has not yet been included even in the digital versions of the Daijisen and Daijirin dictionaries.

Overall, Nagasawa thinks that you shouldn't take this dictionary lightly just because it's aimed at high school students, claiming that its 2,800 yen (US$25) price tag is a steal. The blog post is headlined: "Even if you're not a high school student, you should buy this dictionary."

Source: Nagasawa's blog, Sanseido New Modern Japanese Dictionary's official website via Hachima Kikō


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