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Pidgin-Japanese. In China, where the native language is very difficult to pick up, and the natives themselves have a decided talent for learning foreign tongues, the speech of the most numerous body of foreigners—the English—has come to be the medium of intercourse. It is not pure English, but English in that modified form known as "Pidgin-English."[1] In Japan, where the conditions are reversed, we have "Pidgin-Japanese" as the patois in which new-comers soon learn to make known their wants to coolies and tea-house girls, and which serves even as the vehicle for grave commercial transactions at the open ports. A Yokohama resident of old days, Mr. Hoffman Atkinson, made up a most entertaining little book on this subject, entitling it Exercises in the Yokohama Dialect, but its humour cannot be fully appreciated except by those to whom real Japanese is familiar.

In the dialect under consideration, a "lawyer" is called consul-bobbery-shto, a "dentist" is ha-daikusan (literally "tooth carpenter"), a "lighthouse" is fune-haiken-sarampan-nai-rosoku, a "marine insurance surveyor" is sarampan-fune-haiken-danna-san, and so on.


  1. "Pidgin" is believed to be a corruption of the word "business."