Engrish refers to non-standard variations of English often found in East Asian countries. Spelling may also be non-standard. While the term may refer to spoken English, it is more often used to describe written English, for which problems are easier to identify and publicize. The term arises from an ambiguity between the "r" and "l" sounds in the spoken Japanese language. Engrish has been found on everything from poorly translated signs, menus, and instruction manuals to bizarrely worded advertisements and strange t-shirt slogans. Usage of the term ranges from the humorous to the slightly pejorative. Country-specific terms, such as Japlish or Janglish for Japan, Konglish for Korea, and Chinglish for China also exist. Although Filipino pronunciation of English words sometimes qualifies as Engrish, the communication style commonly known as Taglish refers instead to the widespread habit of mixing English and Tagalog words and phrases, often using both in one sentence in a process known as code-switching.
Note that even though the "L" and "R" error is often attributed to Chinese, in reality, there are distinct "L" and "R" sounds in standard spoken Chinese (Mandarin). Various dialects of the Chinese languages, however, do not have such clear separation with a general pattern being the further south in the country one travels, the more likely one is to see the "L" and "N" sounds confused (central China) or even the "L", "N" and "R" sounds freely alternated (south of the Yangtze River/Changjiang).
Engrish is usually accidental, but sometimes its use is deliberate. Foreign branding, for example, serves the same purpose it does in the West: exotic embellishment. For the same reasons that a Chinese character or a Japanese Kanji tattoo seems exotic to many in the West, Asians may appreciate English words or gibberish for its aesthetic appeal alone; straight lines, frequent symmetry, and the unembellished curves of Latinate letters may all appeal to Asian senses of aesthetics and balance.
Some idiosyncratic usages of English among a community that is largely bilingual (Spanglish, Yinglish, Franglais, Konglish, Chinglish, Hong Kong English, Dunglish) have names with more neutral connotations, and are applied largely to people whose skills in English are more on par with those of the society in general.
Engrish can also refer to the Japanese pronunciation of English loanwords or a Japanese dialect with a number of English loanwords. Because Japanese has only five vowels, and few consonant clusters, English loanwords are often pronounced in a manner that sounds unusual and even humorous to English speakers. For example, in spoken Japanese, guitarist Eric Clapton becomes エリック・クラプトン Erikku Kuraputon, Australia becomes オーストラリア Ōsutoraria, and "McDonald's" becomes マクドナルド Makudonarudo, which is often further abbreviated to マクド Makudo or マック Makku. Japanese uses over 600 imported English words in common speech, sometimes in abbreviated form. Examples are ハンカチ hankachi for "handkerchief", フォーク fōku for "fork", テーブル tēburu for "table", プロレス puroresu for "pro wrestling", and so on. The more outlandish and humorous the pronunciation change is, the more likely it is to be considered Engrish. Even fairly logical English loanwords in Japanese will often sound foreign and unintelligible to an English speaker, such as the use of チーズ chīzu for "cheese" when taking a photograph. These pronunciation changes are linguistically systematic.
In Japanese, specifically, some words are carried over from English, but are used in a completely different context. For example, an electrical outlet in Japanese is referred to as コンセント (konsento), modeled after the archaic term "concentric plug" which actually refers to the connector that is inserted into the outlet. In another example, a small plastic water or soda bottle is referred to in Japan as a "petto bottoru," or "PET bottle"; "PET" is the abbreviation for polyethylene terephthalate, the type of plastic of which the bottles are made. This often causes confusion among listeners of native Japanese speakers, as the terms are not widely known in English.
Engrish was once a frequent occurrence in consumer electronics product manuals, with phrases such as "to make speed up find up out document", or "Gas is maybe poison is" (for "Gases may be poisonous"), but it is less frequent today. Another source of poor translation is unchecked machine translation, such as that from the Babelfish service or Google Language Tools. Engrish is often created by using round-trip translation, wherein a phrase is translated using the Babelfish service or Google Language Tools into Japanese, then copying and pasting the Japanese text and translating it back into English.
Most recently, Engrish has been the central feature of the internet video series Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show.
In contrast to Engrish, the term Nihonglish is occasionally heard, as well as the variant 英本語 Eihongo, a combination of 英語 Eigo, the Japanese word for the English language, and 日本語 Nihongo, the Japanese word for the Japanese language. It refers to the conceptual opposite of Engrish: badly pronounced and ungrammatical Japanese produced by a native English speaker. A typical example is the American English pronunciation of こんにちは konnichiwa ("hello", "good day"); rendered with an English stress pattern and phonetics as instead of the Japanese pronunciation ko↑nnʲitɕiɰa. The term Nihonglish is often found among communities of Japanese language students where Japanese can be used sporadically in English conversation much as English is used among English students in Japan. The use of Nihonglish is usually intentional, and is done with a humorous or sarcastic intent. A heavy English accent is used, indicating supposed unfamiliarity with the rules of Japanese pronunciation. It is also known for being practiced occasionally by some non-Japanese fans of Japanese animation; in such cases it is also sometimes referred to as otakuism or Otaku-Speak.