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There's a company named Rakuten in Japan, which introduced "Englishnization" a couple of years ago. They adopted an internal policy where all the employees are expected to speak English as an official language. They coined this somewhat bold move as "Englishnization".

My question is whether this new term is acceptable or not. Some people say that the "n" in the middle is quite awkward, and it should have been "Englishization" (without n).

I understand that neither:

  • Englishization
  • Englishnization

is broadly accepted broadly. I am just wondering which makes more sense to coin as a new term. IMHO, the fact that Englishization has an entry on Wiktionary does not make this one more acceptable.

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up vote 29 down vote accepted

There is already a word for converting something to English:

Anglicization /Anglicisation (AmE/BrE)

1 : to make English in quality or characteristics
2 : to adapt (a foreign word, name, or phrase) to English usage: as a : to alter to a characteristic English form, sound, or spelling b : to convert (a name) to its English equivalent <anglicize Juan as John>

It is almost only ever used to refer to the conversion of words or names, but it only needs a slight expansion of its meaning to cover the conversion of all business communication in a company.

A slight broadening of an existing word, in a way that is consistent with its history and existing usage, seems much preferable than coining a new, awkward phrase.

However! I'm not a Japanese speaker. What is acceptable depends on who has to accept it, so what word is acceptable for this idea is ultimately up to the people who use it. A Japanese speaker unfamiliar with the "English"/"Angle" transformation would probably find "Anglicization" unintuitive, and the n following the sh in "Englishnization" may well be roll off the tongue better for someone coming from a language in which a syllable-final sh doesn't exist and the only syllable-final consonant is n. As it is Japanese workers and companies who are the target demographic that is being sold on the concept, what a Western English speaker thinks might be irrelevant. Not knowing the agenda of Rakuten intimately, I can't be certain.

So, the short version:

  • If you are asking what is most acceptable to a Western ear, either "Anglicization" or "Englishization" is what you want.
  • If you are asking what is most acceptable to a Japanese ear, I cannot say for certain – but I would not be surprised if "Englishnization" becomes most accepted.
  • If you are asking what is most acceptable to both, then you want to compromise and choose "Englishization", no n.
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I'd upvote this but Anglisization with an S cannot be right (and the initial link demonstrates that). Full marks for consistency, but it's consistently wrong. Anglicisation or Anglicization, with a C. – Andrew Leach Sep 10 '12 at 7:05
But that’s a different meaning. The enterprise wasn’t anglicising Japanese words, nor were they necessarily anglicising themselves as a company (which would imply changing the company’s culture etc.). Rather, they were adopting English as an official language. I don’t think this action is comprised in the meanings of “anglicisation” but even if it were, there are sufficient causes for confusion to avoid using this word here. – Konrad Rudolph Sep 10 '12 at 14:08
^ That is an excellent point. "Anglicization" means taking something and making it more "English-y", but "English(n)ization" apparently means adding English to the corporate culture. The meanings are similar, but distinct enough that when discussing this particular phenomenon, even in a western context, it might be better to use "Englishization" to distinguish it from the different kinds of things associated with "Anglicization". – alcas Sep 10 '12 at 14:52
@Andrew TRiG graciously fixed that for me. I can only blame the infernally-tiny screen of my phone and being drowsy when I wrote it. – SevenSidedDie Sep 10 '12 at 16:20
@Konrad Yes, it's a different meaning. That's why I wrote about the broadening of words, and "acceptability" rather than "correctness". If the asker wants correctness they'd be out of luck, as no such word exists. Fortunately, they asked about acceptability, which opens the door to the invention of new words or new meanings for existing ones. – SevenSidedDie Sep 10 '12 at 16:23

If one has to choose one of those two alternatives, Englishization is certainly better, as it is simply the root word, English, attached to the suffix, -ization.

There ARE examples of words in which a consonant is inserted between the rood word and -ization: for example, drama + -ization = dramatization. This is to break up the awkward string of vowels (or, in more linguistic terms, to make sure that every syllable has an onset) that would exist in *dramaization. But there is no similar process that would motivate adding an extraneous n to Englishization.

Therefore, my answer is: if you need to attach -ization to English, the only possibility is Englishization. However, as you noted in your question, that word is also not widely used (a Google search for it turns up extremely few results). The "real word" for that concept is anglicization.

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There is, however, a process in Japanese that adds n in the coda in such cases. – SevenSidedDie Sep 10 '12 at 6:12
What do you mean? The [n] in Englishnization is in the onset: en-glish-ni-za-tion. – alcas Sep 10 '12 at 6:13
That doesn't make any sense - the sh is already the onset in the version without the n: en-gli-shi-za-tion (which would be something like イングリシゼション or in-gu-ri-shi-ze-shon when converted to good Japanese syllable-structure). I'm not a Japanese speaker, really, but I've studied Japanese and Japanese linguistics, and I'm pretty sure there's no Japanese phonological reason to add an n to that word. Adding an n is basically creating a consonant cluster, after all, which is the opposite of what Japanese does to loanwords (it breaks up consonan t clusters). – alcas Sep 10 '12 at 6:30
But in any case, the original question was which makes more sense in English. – alcas Sep 10 '12 at 6:33
Although I can't explain the linguistical/phonetical dynamics at work here, Englishnization(with n) sounds much better to my ear as a native Japanese speaker. I guess this is because we have so many loanwords from English that end with -nization. But, yes, my question was which sounds better for English speakers, not Japanese. It was quite interesting and also nice that you all should have considered how Japanese native speakers might feel. – knsmr Sep 10 '12 at 8:59

I think anglification rolls off the tongue rather nicely.

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Personally I would go with either,

  • Englishization.
  • Englishinization.

Adding the extra vowel sound before the 'n' makes it sound better.

Here's a list of words ending with 'zation', notice that most of the words ending in 'nization' have a vowel before the 'n.'

Of the two, I think the first one looks better in a written text, but I think the second one sounds better when spoken aloud.

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protected by RegDwigнt Sep 10 '12 at 9:24

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