Engrish (イングリッシュ Ingurishu) is a derogatory slang term for unusual forms of English language usage by native speakers of some East Asian languages. The term itself relates to Japanese speakers' tendency to inadvertently substitute the English phonemes "R" and "L" for one another, because the Japanese language has one alveolar consonant in place for both. The related term "wasei-eigo" refers to pseudo-anglicisms that have entered into everyday Japanese.
Roots of the phenomenonEdit
In Japanese Engrish, there are two contributing factors:
- First is the great difference between Japanese and English. Japanese word order, the frequent omission of subjects in Japanese, the absence of articles, a near-complete absence of consecutive consonants (owing to the syllabary nature of the Japanese language), as well as difficulties in distinguishing l and r all contribute to substantial problems using Standard English effectively. Indeed, Japanese have tended to score comparatively poorly on international tests of English. Unwittingly poor translations from online language translation tools are used without consulting a native English speaker.
- The second factor has been the use of English for "decorative" or "design" rather than functional purposes; i.e., for Japanese consumption, not for English speakers per se, and as a way of appearing "smart, sophisticated and modern", in much the same way as Japanese and similar writing script is used in western fashion. Indeed, it is claimed that in such decorative English "there is often no attempt to try to get it right, nor do the vast majority of the Japanese population ever attempt to read the English design element in question. There is therefore less emphasis on spell checking and grammatical accuracy."
Engrish in Triggerheart ExelicaEdit
- Most of the Triggerheart Exelica games aren't excent of Engrish typos, the most common is the "Horizonal" in the screen adjust in the Options Menu, this one also appears in Triggerheart Exelica Enhanced.
- Alchemist's Exelica Enhanced website featured not one, but three instances of Engrish: Infomation, Downroad and DOWNLORD, if you have the "Alexis" font, you'll notice the A was confused with an R.
- Speaking of Enhanced, there's a typo during the game credits, you can see it in "ENHANCED Deveropment Staff".
- Triggerheart names are victims of Engrish in some fan arts and websites, "Triggerheaet", "Exerica", "Excelica", "Curuerutia" and "Feyntia", are some of these examples.
Engrish in Popular CultureEdit
Engrish features prominently in Japanese pop culture. Many popular Japanese songs and television-show themes feature disjointed phrases in English amongst the otherwise Japanese lyrics. Japanese marketing firms helped create this popularity, resulting in an enormous array of advertisements, products, and clothing marked with English phrases that seem amusing or bizarre to those proficient in English. These new Engrish terms are generally short-lived, as they are used more for fashion than meaning.
Instances of Engrish due to poor translation were frequently found in many early video games produced in Japan. One well-known and popular example of Engrish in pop culture is the video game translation phenomenon "All your base are belong to us" from the Sega Genesis version of Toaplan's Zero Wing, which also became an Internet meme.
The Neo-Geo game Blazing Star is notorious for its Engrish, with phrases such as "Get it more!" and "You smashed his all equipment", but the most notable instance is the phrase "You Fail It! Your skill is not enough, see you next time, Bye-bye!" which appears when the player fails to destroy a boss within the time limit. This phrase became the internet meme "FAIL", "You Fail" or "You Fail It".
The chinese bootleg DVD release of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith is the most notorious example of engrish. The unknown producer of this DVD included English subtitles, which were in fact translated back into English from the Chinese translation, rather than using the original English script, resulting in an inept translation leading to unintentional humor. The movie title was translated as "Star War The Third Gathers: The Backstroke of the West". One of the error in translation that recurs several times in the film is that the phrase "it seems" (好象) was rendered as "good elephant". Jedi Council becomes Presbyterian Church. The mis-translation also caused the word "fuck" (a mis-translation of "work") to appear four times in the subtitles, and rendered Darth Vader's cry of "NOOOOOOOOOO!!" (不要) as "Do not want". This last translation error would later be popularized as an internet meme.
A similar case happened with the bootleg DVD release of Rocky Balboa with instances such as translating Rocky's name as "Is Strange Shell Wave", "Elephant a Teddy Boy", calling Mike Tyson as "The Sire of", and even changing Michael Buffer's "LLLLLET'S GET READY TO RUMBLEEEEEE!!!" phrase as "We open now".