First Advisor

Susan Conrad

Date of Publication

Fall 1-3-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




Japanese language -- Foreign words and phrases -- English, English language -- Influence on Japanese, Older people -- Japan -- Language, Japanese language -- Japan



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 92 pages)


English loan words (ELWs) have become a considerable part of the contemporary Japanese vocabulary. Meanwhile, it has been shown that there are individual differences in the rate of ELW comprehension. Among the factors for low comprehension is age; people over 60 years old have been shown to comprehend fewer ELWs than the overall age group. As Japan is expected to soon enter the era of an aging society, the issue of ELW comprehension is likely to present serious social and personal problems. The purpose of this study was to identify the current state of frequently used ELWs in contemporary written Japanese, with particular attention to their frequencies, linguistic features, and comprehension rates by people over 60 years old. In order to identify the mediums that are likely to be problematic, three registers were examined: government white papers, books, and internet texts. The study found that the three registers differ in their overall frequencies of ELWs and distributions of the semantic categories, while the distributions of the types of borrowing are similar. It also found that ELWs in certain semantic categories have lower comprehension rates than other categories. Registers that regularly contain low-comprehension ELWs are likely to pose problems for readers over 60 years old.


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