Non-Japanese Loanwords used in English Go Discussions?


Sidenote: As czech I noticed we use borrowed words from english often too. “push” and “Squeeze” are quite popular.


Interesting. Why?


Completely agree. Now I am not so interested in how a kind of betting is named in Korea, if we started to list all kind of words it’s going to be a very long list.
Haengma did stay as a specific concept highlighted by Koreans, and there are maybe still a few other ones like that in Chinese or Korean. In Japanese the players did already chose the words going to be used from the ones a bit less attractive (popular isn’t maybe always a proof of it’s value ofc)


I think it is because any czech equivalent I can think of sounds kinnda awkward and most of us participate in international community in some way and read books and other study material in english anyway so those terms come natural.


I see. Sounds good as I am always a bit afraid of “fashion” use


Mu is actually a Chinese translation of Moku. It also means eye in Chinese.


Could you provide a reference? Everywhere I check, Moku is associated with count, not just eyes.


Oh, when I say mu=eye, it is just in chinese language, not as a go term. :smile:


As far as I know, Chinese for eye (outside weiqi) is Yan Jing.


true also.


Thank you everyone for contributing to this discussion.

I was curious about this since other discussions have recently brought up how much Japanese culture has influenced the introduction of go outside of Japan, Korea, China. That caused me to realize how much go terminology in English are just loanwords from Japanese, while there being relatively very few loanwords from other languages.

However, I had not thought about what English terms/phrases that would be directly translated from another particular language. Establishing the direct etymology can be tricky. For example, the corresponding Chinese and Japanese phrases for the nose tesuji both use their respective word for nose, it seems.

I wonder about the etymology for “rabbity six”. In Chinese and Japanese, it seems that the corresponding phrases are literally “flower six”. In Chinese, it also seems to be called “grape six”. I’m not sure what the Korean phrase means if translated literally.

I also just found these pages on Sensei’s Library:


“Review” comes from french word “revue”
“Group” comes from a latin word “cruppo”
“Run” comes from old norse word “rinna”
“Two” comes from proto-germanic word “twai”

And so on… Most words used in any english discussion are loanwords, and vast majority of them are non-japanese.


Well, it wasn’t my intent to ask that broad of a question. I thought it would be clear, without requiring pedantry, that I meant specifically the loanwords initially introduced into English for discussing the game of go.


I think it’s just good fun, at least that was my intent with the first reply.

You were asking about terms " used by English speakers to discuss go", and I thought kibitz was the perfect match for that definition :slight_smile:


Interesting words are concepts that you can only translate in a text of words, and which players find enough meaningful (and repetitive) for the game.
In Chinese for what I know most, the characters associated to these are specific to weiqi, a Chinese reader who don’t play weiqi will not understand them and I estimate these characters to be like around a few hundreds.
Now it would be interesting to see the ones existing or not in each of the 3 countries. And the ones which could be of some fundamental understanding of the game. The ones the history made obsolete and the new ones…

Let’s see one example: there are two words in Chinese for “depriving/giving” a life base mostly used in the beginning of the game, as this may be a fundamental in the opening ( like to play them before big moves). I know them, but is there identical concepts in korean/Japanese? Is this an obsolete concept? Is it too narrow idea to become part of the go terms?


I agree. :slight_smile:
I am italian, but mostly play online on OGS where usually I can communicate to other people in english.
Also sites (sensei, the interactive way to go, blogs) and youtube channels (dwyrin, haylee, etc.) that I use or follow are in english, so I learned more about Go from english language than from italian.

So now I usually say “enclosure” because I don’t have a good italian term to translate it. Same for my friends at the go club.
Obviously we also use many japanese terms as english speakers do.


Actually, in Chinese, Yan Jing (眼睛) is used in modern time while Mu (目) was used to mean eye in ancient time (now it’s typically used in other words and with extended meanings). Some references:目


I’m german and like my italian and czech colleagues, I have basically learned go “in english”, i.e. I have learned it from english sources. So, while there seem to be a few german words (like “treppe”, literally “stairs”, for a ladder), I don’t use them. The go-section in my brain is basically completely english. This made explaining concept to newcommers somewhat hard to explain at times.

(This is and enclosure ah…a…uh… Einschließung?)


It’s called Eckabschluß — at least in the translation of “The Second Book of Go”.
Another fine creation is Klemmzug for pincer; accurate but unwieldy.

I think in english about Go too (including the ladder which really should be a stair).
But i like the japanese loanwords a lot.


Yeah in Czech we call them stairs as well. And it has been bugging me for ages, why on Earth do you people call it “ladder”? :smiley: it’s CLEARLY stairs! :smiley: is there some reason? some obscure translation from Chinese words or something? Does anyone know?