Friday, December 8, 2006

The First Word, "Sugee" (スゲー)

It was hard deciding on the first word. Should it be a word of enormous significance, a word of transcedence, a word deep in meaning? I decided on a word that I hear everywhere, every day. For this blog, whatever words I post will be words that I hear and probably use in Japan.

sugee スゲー
A version of the word “sugoi” (すごい). I learned this word from a foreigner, a westerner, and he described it as the way men are supposed to say “sugoi.” Well, he was sort of right, but he generalized his explanation a little bit.

For one thing, women sometimes use this word. I was at a Velvet Revolver concert earlier this year, and a couple of young ladies (probably high school students) next to me, as they looked upon Scott Weiland with lust and idolatry, said to each other, “Yabai! Sugee kako ii.” So I do hear women say this word, usually younger women.

The other thing to keep in mind is that there are people who consider this to be a rude word. From what I can tell, it’s generally used by the younger generation, more often by males than females, and is by no means universally accepted by young people. But it is quite common. Spend some time in a high school or a McDonald’s in Japan and you’ll probably hear this word.

It seems that just about any adjective that ends with –oi or –ai can be morphed in a similar way. Other examples include:

umai -----> umee

omoshiroi -----> omoshiree

shitsukoi -----> shitsukee

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