a Japanese meaning a car made in Japan

HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
Hello,

This does not concern what I've been asking about here --- ethnicity/nationality, but about the same word meaning a totally different thing.

Would you refer to a car manufactured in Japan a Japanese if the context is suitable?

A: I heard you bought a car.
B: Yeah, it's a Japanese. Drives well!

Hiro
 
  • HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Hi, Suzi. Thanks. I randomly asked about twenty native speakers the same question, about 40%, mostly Americans, said yes. I've wondering if it's okay for me to use.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi Hiro

    My answer's the same as suzi's. I wouldn't use "a Japanese" to mean a Japanese car.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Hi, Suzi. Thanks. I randomly asked about twenty native speakers the same question, about 40%, mostly Americans, said yes. I've wondering if it's okay for me to use.
    Maybe they weren’t paying much attention and didn’t notice the article?
    Or maybe AE have different patterns.
    It’s certainly wrong in BE.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    A: I heard you bought a car.
    B: Yeah, it's a Japanese (car). Drives well!

    Omitting the noun, when replying to a statement with that noun in it, is very common in English.

    In B's sentence, "Japanese" is an adjective.

    I randomly asked about twenty native speakers the same question, about 40%, mostly Americans, said yes. I've wondering if it's okay for me to use.
    It is okay for you to use, as long as you understand that [1] "Japanese" is an adjective, and [2] the word "car" is assumed in the sentence and omitted. If A said something different, "Japanese" in your reply would not mean "Japanese car":

    A: I heard you bought a super-computer.
    B: Yea, it's a Japanese (super-computer). Runs fast!

    Feel free to ask a bunch of Americans about that.:D
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Doji, would you also say "It's a German"? Or "It's a French"?
    Hmmmm...No, I would say "It's German" or "It's French", without "a".

    You're right. I wasn't paying attention. I would say one or both of these:

    - It's a Toyota.
    - It's Japanese.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    So, in a nutshell, it's either
    -It's a Toyota
    -It's Japanese
    or
    -It's a Japanese (<adjecitve)
    in AE, right, Doji?

    I mean, as far as Japanese is concerned.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Oh, okay. I thought it would be used by some AE speakers as some of them I asked supported it.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Oh, okay. I thought it would be used by some AE speakers as some of them I asked supported it.
    As we said, probably not reading it with full attention. If you framed your question in terms of articles rather than the word “Japanese” you’d probably get a more accurate response.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    :)
    Bless you!
    That's how I feel.

    I'm glad it was a mistake, because I've never heard it in AE before and couldn't imagine it.

    Adjectives used like that don't have an "a" in front of them.

    The car is German.
    The car is Japanese.
    The website is Japanese.
    The company is Japanese.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I agree. If one isn't paying attention, it looks fine, but we'd never actually produce the sentence that way unless we were interrupted before.

    "It's Japanese" is fine. "It's a Japanese" is not going to happen, but if someone wasn't listening/reading closely, they might not notice it was wrong. 40% not noticing sounds about right to me. If you said it out loud, people probably interpret as "It's, uh, Japanese."
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    A: I heard you bought a car.
    B: Yeah, it's a Japanese (car). Drives well!

    .

    I think it is more commonly: Yeah, its Japanese. Drives well. (no article before Japanese).

    I would also note that Honda is considered a Japanese car by most Americans, but the Accord is built in the USA.

    And Walther (the German gun maker) was legally allowed to stamp "made in Germany" on their pistols that were made entirely in Portugal, but had the grips put on in Germany. The final assembly site was the legal country of origin.

    And finally, some people would allow that a car engineered in Germany and built in the USA was a "German car". (I am of that belief. And I was OK with the sneaky "made in Germany" bit with the Walthers and also with Porsche 924s which were also carried "made in Germany" when only the seats were bolted in in Germany.)
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Hello, all.

    Thanks for all your help with your explanation, thoughts etc. I was concurrently doing SurveyMonkey research with a total of 95 respondents in the U.S., and I received the data just now. Good timing. It looks as though there are a few who agree to use 'a Japanese' to mean a Japanese car, omitting the 'car,' as Doji initially pointed out and then got back. However, it's only about 30%, a small percentage. I colored 'a' and 'some' in blue; Japanese in red in the questionnaire for them to stand out, and SurveyMonkey does not pay the respondents but donates to charities according to the number of their responses. So I presume their answers are bonafide. Or, so I want to believe. (And I screened the participants to select real native speakers)

    I don't know what is affecting those positive answers; at a glance it's not age-deviation or gender-deviation. I may have to look into it further. Regionality in the U.S.?

    Please evaluate the use of 'Japanese' in the sentence below in terms of whether it is idiomatic (natural for a normal native speaker of English to say or write).

    A: I heard you bought a car.
    B: Yeah, it's a Japanese. It's a beautiful one. Come and see it this weekend.

    strongly agree:10.5%
    agree:17.9%
    disagree:35.8%
    strongly disagree:35.8%

    A: There is a used car shop at the corner of Carson and Lakewood.
    B: Yeah, I know they mostly sell Americans but Japanese too.

    11.6%
    32.6%

    32.6%
    23.2%

    A: There is a used car shop at the corner of Carson and Lakewood.
    B: Yeah, I know they mostly sell Americans but some Japanese too.

    15.8%
    38.9%

    24.2%
    21.1%
     
    Last edited:

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    That is very strange. We don't say Americans either. Those percentages should have been below 10% in my mind.

    It could be omitted if you said "cars" with the previous option.
    Yeah, I know they mostly sell American cars but some Japanese too.

    I wouldn't leave out either cars or some in that sentence. Cars applies to Japanese in that sentence so you can get by without saying it directly. But a sentence without cars somewhere seems beyond natural.
     
    Last edited:

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    About the first one, maybe, some of the respondents took 'it's a Japaneses. It's a beautiful one' as an attempt to straightly say 'it's a beautiful Japanese one.' ???
     

    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    About the first one, maybe, some of the respondents took 'it's a Japaneses. It's a beautiful one' as an attempt to straightly say 'it's a beautiful Japanese one.' ???
    No.

    I can only suggest that SurveyMonkey may not be a reliable way to collect the information you're looking for.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    The op has already received good advice from the educated native speakers here.
    If he chooses to reject that advice, I don't why he bothered us in the first place.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    sdgraham

    I'd welcome any advice, and have not rejected any advice of yours. I'm all ears. I hear any information, and study every bit of it.

    Thanks for your input, everyone, as always. Thanks to you too sdgraham for your constant help on the Forum.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hiro, I think you probably got the answers you did because of the wording of your survey question.

    If I'd been asked
    Please evaluate the use of 'Japanese' in the sentence below in terms of whether it is idiomatic
    I'd probably have just focused on the word "Japanese", not on the grammatical structure.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Hiro, I think you probably got the answers you did because of the wording of your survey question.

    If I'd been asked
    Please evaluate the use of 'Japanese' in the sentence below in terms of whether it is idiomatic
    I'd probably have just focused on the word "Japanese", not on the grammatical structure.
    That’s my opinion too. The wording of your question directs where people look. “A” is easy to overlook in that situation.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Loob and Suzi,

    I see. Thanks. I'm going to consider it next time if I do it once again.

    Valisarius,

    Actually the native speaker question was multi-tiered based on the Critical Age Hypothesis and the regions of native English-speaking countries. For instance, Quebec was excluded even if a given American resident had spent at least a certain amount of time (in my case, I set it for 12 years) early on in his life (in my case, between 0 and 18 years of age) there. Even if it's Canada, they speak French in the Province. The same thing was true with New Brunswick because 30% of New Brunswick residents are non-native speakers of English. But thanks for your thought. I really appreciate it.
     
    Last edited:

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    I've been breaking down the responses; it looks as though the majority of the respondents who said 'strongly agree' and 'agree' to just 'a Japanese' only have a very small income (<$10,000 per annum). That doesn't necessarily say those people are not well-educated. There are lots of people who are highly educated but receive small. I just wanted to report there IS some correlation with some factor. (Now just to add, my questionnaire is very highly annonymous, nobody can be identified)
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Further to this exchange of ideas and thoughts, one of my colleagues (American) and I discussed this today. He says this would be natural:

    A: What make do you drive?
    B: A Japanese.

    What do you think?
     

    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Anybody who said "yes" to that question misunderstood the question. That kind of word is never used like that.
     

    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    Further to this exchange of ideas and thoughts, one of my colleagues (American) and I discussed this today. He says this would be natural:

    A: What make do you drive?
    B: A Japanese.

    What do you think?
    Anybody who said "yes" to that question misunderstood the question. That kind of word is never used like that.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Further to this exchange of ideas and thoughts, one of my colleagues (American) and I discussed this today. He says this would be natural:

    A: What make do you drive?
    B: A Japanese.

    What do you think?
    In this case, "Japanese" is a make (which, in this usage, means the automobile manufacturer). So in the counterfactual world where there is a carmaker called Japanese, then sure, it works.

    In reality, the answer would be more like:
    A. A Toyota
    or
    A. A Honda

    Which are real life Japanese automobile manufacturers.

    Again, this does not mean that a native English speaker would use "a Japanese" to mean "an object made in Japan."
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top