Friday, November 28, 2008

guGUttara?

"To google" is now a verb in English (at least, the American (correct) form of the language, not sure about other parts of the diaspora). "He googled it," "I'm googling it now...," "Why don't you google it?" and more.

The same thing is true in Japanese. "Google" in Japanese is "GUUguru" (or "GU-guru"), written in katakana, the syllabary used for "loan" (imported) words, with a long "uu" and the unfortunate but necessary mangling of the pronunciation. (Not that Americans can come close to pronouncing Chinese or even French correctly, but that's not the point here.)

By fortunate coincidence, "-ru" is the common ending for verbs in Japanese, so conjugating it is natural and trivial, but the emphasized syllable changes: "guGUrimasu", "guGUrimashita". You almost never hear the formal form of it, though, you usually hear the informal form "guGUtta" ("googled") or "guGUtte iru" ("am googling/is googling"). Japanese has a verb form (not sure of the technical name in either Japanese or English) for "why don't you..." or "if you...", which usually ends in "-ttara".

And if you don't believe me, guguttara?

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