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Tutor J. Ring Sakabe 's Column

[ネイティブに通じな和製英語①] 「ペンション」

Jun 6, 2018

“What is 和製英語 and what’s the problem?”

As an English teacher and a bilingual of English and Japanese, I have run into a lot of difficulties with 和製英語.

和製英語are words in Japanese that resemble English, but were created and normalized in Japan.

The problem here lies in the fact that often the meaning of most 和製英語 words is very different from the original English meaning, but a lot of Japanese people use these words without realizing that their meaning and usage differs from English.  Hence, when a Japanese person uses 和製英語it can be extremely confusing.

Today, I want to give you one 和製英語 word and show you how to use it in English.

Today’s 和製英語:ペンション


ペンション comes from
the word pension in English. A pension is the money that a person regularly
receives from their retirement fund or social security fund. It means
年金 in Japanese.


Japanese Meaning

 ペンション in Japanese is a type of lodging that was made to resemble a “bed and breakfast”. A
ペンションis usually found in the countryside and is considered a type of 民宿.


            How should I say it in English?

I think the best way to say ペンション when speaking English is either "bed and breakfast" or "lodge".

Many ペンション are owned and operated by retired couples who are living off of their pension, so in that way, it resembles how in many English-speaking countries, some retired people start a bed and a breakfast to earn some extra money while enjoying their lives in the countryside.


Here is an example sentence.

(Situation: A couple is making plans for the weekend.)

 Let’s find a bed and breakfast this weekend at the base of Mount Fuji!

  As a final note

When speaking English, be careful of using 和製英語 words. You may not realize that what you are saying is 和製英語. However, if you notice that the person you are speaking to isn’t understanding what you are saying, it may not be your pronunciation or grammar that’s the problem. It could just be 和製英語!

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