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June 20, 2003

Katakana Confusion

Among the findings of an education ministry study of Japanese people's understanding of their own language was that the katakana verions of the following English words seem to baffle most people: "task force" - understood by 4.9%, "consortium" (4.1%), "enforcement" (3.4%) and "incubation" (3.3%). The most understood words were "recreation" (87.7%), "theme" (88.2%), "volunteer" (90.8%), "recycle" (91.1%) and "stress" (92.6%). The survey polled 2,200 people over the age of 16.

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