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Are Loanwords Trendier? : A Qualitative Corpus Analysis on Adjective Collocations of English Loanword Nouns and their Native or Sino Japanese Pairs in the Japanese Language


  • Erik Larsson

Summary, in English

To analyse the behaviour of English loanwords in the Japanese language using corpus analysis is a relatively new field of research. The aim of this thesis is to add to this emergent field by attempting to discover if there are any differences in how English loanword nouns and their native Japanese/Sino-Japanese near synonym pairs are used in contemporary written Japanese. The thesis also tries to explain why the differences that were discovered in the process of the analysis can be observed.

For the purpose of this thesis, an evaluation model was utilised to analyse adjective collocations that modify ten frequently used noun pairs in contemporary written Japanese. The model concerns itself with two main factors: The politeness level of the surrounding context and if a difference can be found in the emotive aspects of the modifying adjectives.
The analysis revealed that English loanword nouns are relatively more likely to appear in collocations where the modifying adjective is projecting a positive image onto the noun compared to the native Japanese/Sino-Japanese noun pairs. The opposite was also revealed to be true, with native Japanese/Sino-Japanese nouns being more likely to be modified by adjectives that project a negative light onto the noun. To conclude this thesis a discussion on the results derived from the analysis is conducted. In this discussion a theory that English loanword nouns are utilised when the writer wants to project a trendy or modern image is presented.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Japanese
  • loanwords
  • loanword pairs
  • gairaigo
  • kango
  • wago
  • emotive adjectives
  • collocation analysis
  • corpus


  • Axel Svahn (Doctoral Student)