Japanese don’t know the meaning of innovation

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A lot of English (and other language) words end up as loan words in Japanese, but many of them, particular technology-related ones, are unfamiliar to many Japanese, so goo Ranking took a look at what loan words do people often hear but don’t know the meaning of.

In the list below I’ve decided to use the English spelling, as I find it grating when journalists re-transliterate back to the Roman alphabet, such as using sarariman instead of salaryman. In this survey, spelling number one as innobāshon (or innobāsyon for bonus irritation points) wouldn’t help anyone understand what I was on about.

By the way, I’d never heard of Social firm, Ancien régime (French) or Merkmal (German) until this survey.

I had a look for a picture of “innovation”; would an innovative pyramid watermelon do?

Pyramid Watermelon

Ranking results

Q: What loan words do you often hear but don’t know the meaning of? (Sample size=2,235)

Rank Votes
1Innovation240
2Diversity204
3Legacy175
4Alternative152
5IoT (Internet of Things)131
6LGBT99
7AI93
8VR90
9Paradigm shift86
10Social firm61
11Ancien régime60
12Universal design59
13Accountability58
14Black box57
15Smart city51
16=Wise spending45
16=Withdraw45
18Merkmal44
19=Whistle-blower40
19=Authorise40
21Outing (as in sexual preference, not picnic)38
22Sustainable34
233R; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle31
24=Branding (company, not cow)29
24=Distribute29
26Fintech27
27Investment25
28=Safe city23
28=Workable23
Other146

Demographics

Between the 20th of February and the 3rd of March 2017 goo Rankings asked visitors to their site and related properties to complete an internet-based questionnaire. 2,235 people answered the survey, but no further demographics were given.

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