Sunday, July 22, 2012

和製英語: Pinch

A Japanese friend of mine posted the following status update on Facebook some time ago:


There's kind of a lot going on in this construction, but I want to focus in on the use of 「ピンチ」 here. I'm not exactly sure what my friend was referring to here or why he was so happy, but it seems he was having battery issues with something. He's roughly saying something like:

"I'm in a great mood! Though I'm in trouble with my battery charger lol I don't suppose Willer has outlets?!"

I believe he's talking about Willer buses here - that's one of the bigger highway bus companies. 

Anyway, the Japanese use of 「ピンチ」looks to be derived from the English expression "in a pinch." It basically means trouble, a problem, or a tight spot. Not too far off from the English, I guess, except that as far as I can tell it only has that one meaning and isn't used in quite the same situations as we would use it in (i.e. I'm not sure how natural it sounds to say you're in a pinch with your battery charger or "in a battery charger pinch").

Edit 7/23/2012: As Jturningpin points out in the comments section, I really should have said "(Battery) charge" instead of charger. Charger would be 充電器 (じゅうでんき).

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