April 4, 2011

Book review: Japanese Street Slang (Peter Constantine)

Kakkoii (Cool) is a good word to describe this book. Revised and updated from the 1992 version, this book contains words and expressions that definitely won’t be found in a traditional Japanese-English dictionary.

Constantine’s painstaking research has produced a collection of words and phrases in the Japanese language used by everyone from teenagers to criminals to members of mainstream Japanese society when choosing to not be quite so stereotypically polite. Covering topics ranging from text messaging to kinky sex to drugs and more, each of the entries is accompanied by a short essay placing the word into context as well as providing examples of how the word/expression might be used in conversation.

Part academic treatise, part introduction to the colloquial side of the Japanese language, Japanese Street Slang offers something for linguists and Japanophiles alike.

From Weatherhill (an imprint of Shambhala Publications) and available from your local, independent bookseller.

(Make a difference: shop local, shop independent, and tell ‘em you saw it on Elephant Journal!)

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