Saturday, June 23, 2012







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Point 9: Viking

'Viking restaurants' are very popular in Japan. Good food, good prices; everyone is happy! But, as you may have guessed, phrases like 'dinner viking' or 'lunch viking' and Japan-made.

The common way to say the Japan's 'viking' in English is “buffet”(pronounced 'bah-FAY' [bəfe'i]). 'Buffet' is originally a French word. The Swedish word 'smorgasbord' (pronounced 'SMOR-gass-bohrd' [smɔ'ːrgəsbɔ`ːrd])is also sometimes used in English.

As for the Japanese loan word 'viking', though this may be a well-known story, the original is said to be Imperial Hotel Tokyo. In 1953, the first buffet-style restaurant in Japan was opened there with the name “Imperial Viking Sal”. Named after the notorious pirates of Northern Europe, this restaurant saw great popularity and buffet-style restaurants spread throughout Japan along with the title “viking”.

The English word 'viking' comes from the Old Norse word 'vikingr' (Old Norse being a language thought to have been spoken in Scandinavia from the 8th to 14thcenturies). 'Vikingr' refers to the Scandinavian pirates we all know and love. However, it refers not only to pirates, but in fact, Norse explorers, soldiers and even merchants are included in this word's meaning. With this in mind, it should be clear why the Japanese phrases 'viking restaurant' or 'cake viking' won't be understood by native speakers!

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ポイントXポイントー和製英語クリニック by Nanya is licensed under a Creative Commons 表示 - 非営利 - 改変禁止 2.1 日本 License.

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