すげぇ! Slang in Japanese

In Japanese by Jeremy Arns

To master a language, slang eventually becomes part of the equation. It’s important to be familiar with what’s used, even if you don’t plan on using it– that way you aren’t left in the dark when someone says something you aren’t familiar with.

One common thing a lot of (mostly young and male) Japanese speakers do, which is a bit like an accent and can be considered slang, is pronouncing the end of certain words with an え sound.  It’s sort of along the lines of using the word “coo” instead of “cool”, which takes on a slightly different nuance.

Here are some higher frequency words that are often pronounced this way:

 

すげぇ
instead of すごい, meaning “incredible!” or “amazing!”
slang
”す・・・すげえな この人は・・・!”
“That guy’s incredible!”

やべっ
instead of やばい, meaning “terrible”, “risky”, “crap!”, “awful”, or “cool!”
The change in meaning is similar to how “wicked!” or “sick!” can have a positive or negative nuance in English.
slang
”やべっぞ”
“Damn!”

うるせえ 
 instead of うるさい, meaning “shut up!”
urusee
 ”うるせぇ さっさと寝ろ!”
”うるせぇ さっさとねろ!”
“Shut up and go to bed immediately!”

おめえ
instead of おまえ, meaning “you”, and a bit derogatory.
 Male friends may call each other “おまえ” without intending offense and as a way of showing buddy-buddyness, however it becomes more derogatory when pronounced as ”おめえ”.
omee
 ”おめえのことは大嫌いだったけどサイヤ人の誇りはもっていた・・・”
”おめえのことはだいきらいだったけどサイヤじんのほこりはもっていた・・・”
“I hated you, but you had the pride of a Saiyan.”

ねえ
instead of ない
For example 面白くねえ instead of 面白くない, or じゃねえ instead of じゃない.
janee
 ”おまえじゃねえ すわってろ”
“Not you, sit down.”

Funnily enough, the particle is often pronounced , for instance “いいな” instead of ”いいね”, or ”そうだな” instead of “そうだね”. Again this is mostly used by males.

Along those same lines, sometimes words are shortened and the ending left off, again taking on a different nuance. Keep in mind the small つ at the end is to indicate the sound is cut off short, and isn’t pronounced.

Here are some examples:

うまっ
instead of うまい, meaning “delicious!”

More girls use the word うまい nowadays than before, however it’s still thought of as a word used by men, where women usually use “おいしい”.

uma
「”ヤバい” 激辛 うまっ! とうがらし」
「”ヤバい” げきから うまっ! とうがらし」
(“Dang!” Extremely hot delicious! Chili pepper)

ヤバッ
 instead of ヤバい, carrying the same meaning as mentioned earlier.
yaba
”ヤバッ!貯金しすぎた”
”ヤバッ!ちょきんすぎた”
“Damn, I deposited too much”

でかっ
instead of でかい, meaning “huge!”.
deka
”でかっ!”
“Huge!”

むずっ
 instead of 難しい (むずかしい), meaning “difficult”.
muzu
”むずっ”
“Hard.”

Changing the pronunciation of a word isn’t the only type of “slang” in Japanese, of course.

Here are a list of words commonly used which are considered slang, some have come to be from shortening a longer version of a word:

マジ
from 真面目(まじめ), meaning “serious”.
majide
 ”マジで?”
“Seriously?

 


(ちょう)
meaning “super”, or “ultra”, and used a bit like “すごく”.
As an example combining with a word from above, one could say “超でか!”

choudeka

「超でか」
「ちょうでか」
(Super huge)


メチャ
from 目茶苦茶 (めちゃくちゃ), meaning “absurd” or “extreme”.
It’s used a lot like 超 above.

mecha

「算数がメチャとくいになれる本」
「さんすうがメチャとくいになれるほん」
(A book that will make you extremely good at arithmetic)


ブス
from 不細工(ぶさいく), meaning “ugly”.

busu

”あんた ブスだぁ”
“You’re ugly”


キモい
from 気持ち悪い (きもちわるい), meaning “gross” or “disgusting”, or “creepy”.

kimoi

「可愛い?」
「かわいい?」

”いいえ、正直キモいです。”
”いいえ、しょうじきキモいです。”
(Cute?)
“No, sincerely creepy.”

ウザい 
from うるさい, meaning “annoying” or “noisy”.

uzai

「歩き方がウザい」
「あるきかたがウザい」
(His manner of walking is annoying)


微妙
meaning “questionable” or “delicate (situation)”.
It can also be used to explain that something sort of sucked.
Keep in mind maintaining 和(わ), or harmony is important, which is why Japanese at times can seem so vague, evasive, or cryptic, so if you describe something as questionable with “微妙”, it’s in other words “not-so-good”.

bimyou

「きび団子=き:_ び:_ 」
「きびだんご=き:_ び:_」

”嫌いじゃないけど / 微妙な味だよ”
”きらいじゃないけど / びみょうなあじだよ”
(Kibi Dango = Ki:_ Bi:_)
“I don’t hate it but, it doesn’t taste that great”.

(きび団子 is a a type of dumpling made with mochi flour, and is part of the famous 物語 (ものがたり, meaning Japanese fairy tale) 桃太郎 (ももたろう、meaning Peach Boy), as seen in the image above).


 ~
instead of うち, meaning “home”.
For instance, “オレんち” which is short for ”オレのうち”.

chi

”オレんちに別の猫がいる!?オレの名前で呼ばれてる!?”
”オレんちにべつのねこがいる!?オレのなまえでよばれてる!?”
“There’s another cat in my house!? And it goes by my name!?

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