365 Days of Japanese Day #37

Flag Pins Brazil Rising Sun

This entry is going to be a short diversion before we continue talking about Japanese/Brazilians 

Yesterday I gave a way of saying “English person”

イングランド人 (イングランドじん)
English person

There are a few ways of saying “British person”. Here are two:

イギリス人 (イギリスじん)
British person

英国人 (えいこくじん)
British person

In my experience many Japanese people – including some of my younger students – understood that Britain is England, Wales, Scotland (and Northern Ireland), while others did not really. I guess it was about 50/50. Regardless of that awareness, the term “igirisujin” led to endless (but largely unimportant) confusion because, despite the term being supposed to mean British person, it was clear that most Japanese people couldn’t help thinking of that as an English person and the Scottish and Welsh (and Northern Irish) as something totally different.

Welsh person

Scottish person

I suppose being English this was not really a problem to me and I didn’t need to go overboard with the differences between “ingurandojin”, “igirisujin”, and “eikokujin”.

However, if I were Scottish or Welsh then the variety of terms could have been immensely useful for clarification if I found the conversation going around in circles.

I can also imagine that I would consider it a bit too sassy to correct a Japanese person on this matter…

Tomorrow I will return to Brazilians in Japan!

(I have somewhat tiptoed around the whole “Northern Ireland is part of Britain” thing, and I’m not quite sure how you would say that correctly in Japanese anyway so…that’s convenient.)

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