Education & Work in Japanese English / 教育や仕事の和製英語

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Japanese has something called wasei eigo (和製英語, literally “Japanese-made English”), which means words that seem to be English (eigo), but are not. These words came from English originally, but the meaning has been changed to a distinctly Japanese meaning.

Today’s wasei eigo theme is phrases related to school and work.

Over Doctor / obaa dokutaa / オバードクター

In English, this sounds like a doctor who is much to involved in health care. But in Japanese, this refers to someone who is over-educated, particularly someone who is unemployed and holds a PhD.

「最近、この国でオーバードクター問題が社会問題になりました。」

“Recently, the over doctor problem has become a social issue in this country.” or “Recently, the amount of underemployed, over-educated people has become a social issue in this country.”

Parasite Single / parasaito shinguru / パラサイトシングル

A parasite single sounds pretty bad, but it means something different than it first appears. A parasite single is an adult who is capable of living on their own and fully supporting themselves, but who instead chooses to live at home with their parents rent-free. They may take a part-time job or they may simply live on as they did when they were a school kid. In the US, this is called the boomerang generation.

「就活失敗したから、やっぱりパラサイトシングルの生活になりますよ。」

“I failed at job hunting, so I guess I will have to join the parasite single lifestyle.” or “I failed at job hunting, so I guess I’ll have to go live at home and be a parasite to my parents.”

Kyoiku Mama / kyouiku mama / 教育ママ

Kyoiku means education in Japanese, thus kyoiku mama means “education mama.” This is equivalent to “tiger parents” or “helicopter parents” in the US. The image that this term conjures up is that of a mother who does everything necessary to ensure their child is successful in their studies, from before they take their first school entrance exam to their entrance into a top university. In traditional Japanese society, fathers work endless hours and mothers stay at home; therefore, mothers are involved in all aspects of education and child rearing. Kyoiku mama takes it to the extreme, even unnecessarily pushing their children to success.

「あの私立校には特に教育ママが多いという評判です。」

“That private school has a reputation for having a lot of kyoiku mama.” or “That private school has a reputation for having a lot of obsessive mothers.”

Soft Skill / sofuto sukiru / ソフトスキル

Soft skills is something I’ve heard in English as well, and this term means “people skills.” This is opposed to hard skills, which are technical skills.

「キャリアが進んでいくにつれ、ソフトスキルがより重要になります。」

“As your career advances, soft skills become more important.” or “As your career advances, people skills become more important.”

 

Try out these phrases to add a little flair to your Japanese!

Do you know any other wasei eigo phrases that relate to school or work? Let me know in the comments!

 

英語が話せる人が和製英語を初めて聞いたら、ちょっと分かりにくいところがありますね。英語の言葉だけど、和製英語の意味は普通の英語とちょっと違いますね。

今日は教育や仕事の関係の表現について書こうと思います。

オバードクター

英語で言うと、オバードクターは医者さん(ドクター)が心配し過ぎて、少ししつこいの感じです。和製英語の意味だと、オバードクターじゃなくて、英語でunderemployed and over-educatedと言います。それ以外、もっと短い表現はないと思います。

「最近、この国でオーバードクター問題が社会問題になりました。」

“Recently, the amount of underemployed, over-educated people has become a social issue in this country.”

パラサイトシングル

アメリカ人はパラサイトシングルって聞いたら、実家に住んでる人のイメージではありません。むしろ、結婚してない人は少ししつこいのイメージが出て来ます。最近、アメリカでパラサイトシングルの人も増えてきたのでそういう表現は英語でも作りました。英吾で、boomerang generationと言われるらしいです。その表現は一人だけではなくて、ジェネレーションについての表現ですよ。一人の事だったら、parasite(パラサイト)でも言えます。

「就活失敗したから、やっぱりパラサイトシングルの生活になりますよ。」

“I failed at job hunting, so I guess I will have to join the parasite single lifestyle.” か “I failed at job hunting, so I guess I’ll have to go live at home and be a parasite to my parents.”

教育ママ

アメリカ人は教育がわかりませんが、education mamaって言われたら、大体意味が分かります。英吾でtiger parentsかhelicopter parentsと言います。母や父、どっちでも使える表現です。

「あの私立校には特に教育ママが多いという評判です。」

“That private school has a reputation for having a lot of helicopter parents.”

ソフトスキル

英吾でもソフトスキルっていう言葉聞いたことがありますが、people skillsの言い方は普通です。

「キャリアが進んでいくにつれ、ソフトスキルがより重要になります。」

“As your career advances, soft skills become more important.” か “As your career advances, people skills become more important.”

 

他の教育や仕事の関係の和製英語は何でしょうか?コメントでどうぞ書いてください!

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8 thoughts on “Education & Work in Japanese English / 教育や仕事の和製英語

  1. Traveller at heart

    Boomerang generation, love it! I have not heard of it before. What’s the term for the older generation?

    My English friend in her 40s has been living off her 81 year old father for over 10 years. She has not worked ever since. Her partner does not earn enough to support both of them. She has a condition but my other friend from a Jamaican background has always worked despite her health , having to rely on a cocktail of tablets and a frequent visitor to her doctor and hospital but the latter has a positive outlook and supportive of me in every ways. Her comments were ‘you do what you need to do.’ The latter owns her own house but the former does not.

    When my English friend learnt of my first posting to the Middle East, she barked at me ‘Is London not good enough for you?’.

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    • I think the Boomerang generation can be anyone in the younger generation, because that’s when it started to become a problem with graduates not getting jobs to support themselves. The younger generation is usually called the Millenials, and then the older generation are the Baby Boomers!

      I think that outlook on life, combined with financial circumstances, determines whether you are a boomerang (having trouble finding a job) or a parasite (living off other people)! Your example of your friends certainly seems to show two different types of people. I think it’s just that it’s recently become widespread with children living with their parents due to the economy, and hence the boomerang! Thanks for reading ^^

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  2. As far as I know one of the main characteristics of パラサイトシングル is that they live off their parents and rather spend their money on nice things other than on the rent. After I have read the definition of “boomerang generation” I think that it rather means that the younger generation has to move back home because they cannot financially support themselves. So I would almost say that パラサイトシングル are different from boomerang generation?

    Another term for 教育ママ I’ve often heard and read is モンスターペアレント. One of my collegues at university even wrote her thesis about them if I remember correctly.

    I’ve never heard オバードクター so far, so thanks a lot for teaching me something new!

    Other than that I currently can only think of job titles such as サラリーマン or オフィスレディー.

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    • Yep, モンスターペアレント is a rising problem, which makes teaching much more difficult! They are just as bad as helicopter parents, and they make it so that teachers lose control in their own classrooms. Thanks for bringing up that term!

      You’re right, I think that パラサイトシングル relies more on part-time jobs to buy things they like. I don’t think boomerang generation is really a good analogy, but I couldn’t come up with a comparison in English terms! Maybe just slacker? Or as ddupre315 said, moochers?

      サラリーマン (businessman) and OL (office lady, or office assistant) aren’t used as such in the US, but the meanings are pretty easily recognizable. I’m glad you learned a new term ^^ 読んでくれてありがとうございます!

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  3. Love it. In Thailand there was a bit of “Thinglish” going on, which is always fun, play on words and blending of the 2 languages and such. I’m sure every culture has a bit of this. What insight. Great post!

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    • I think the coolest part about learning multiple languages is finding familiar words that have been incorporated, and this allows you to really delve into the language and make it your own. Thanks for reading ^^

      Liked by 1 person

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