The site name “Japanese Language and Usage” sounds like a logical error to me, and it should be changed to either “Japanese Language and Its Usage” or simply “Japanese Language.”

I can parse the current title only as either (1) “Japanese [Language and Usage]” or (2) “[Japanese Language] and [Usage].” The parsing (1) means that it is a site for questions about the Japanese language and the usage of anything Japanese (Japanese people etc.). The parsing (2) means that it is a site for questions about the Japanese language and the usage of everything (such as an automatic tin opener), which is even more ridiculous.

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    It's been voted and implemented as a general title for all language sites on area51: discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/1450/… I don't think it can be changed
    – repecmps
    Jun 2, 2011 at 13:05
  • @repecmps: I did not know that, although I knew some other Stack Exchange sites with parallel names. Thanks for the information. Seeing that, I agree that it is unlikely to be changed. What a pity. Jun 2, 2011 at 13:12
  • 1
    Sounds like a good question for english.SE...
    – liori
    Jun 2, 2011 at 16:24
  • How is the title "illogical"? Like the statement is a contradiction, it entails a contradiction, its formulation in predicate logic is not a well formed formula, its negation is a tautology?
    – taylor
    Aug 27, 2012 at 20:24
  • @taylor: If you have a question about the title, please read the body of the post. Aug 29, 2012 at 15:24
  • @TsuyoshiIto lolz i see how the title may be unsuitable or strange, particularly via (2), but I don't see how it is a violation of logic
    – taylor
    Aug 29, 2012 at 15:31
  • @taylor: Well, if “Japanese Language and Usage” were supposed to mean either (1) or (2), then it would be logical. Expressing “Japanese Language and Its Usage” as “Japanese Language and Usage” is illogical. Aug 29, 2012 at 15:33
  • Related: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/69366/… Sep 29, 2015 at 6:06

3 Answers 3


1) “Japanese [Language and Usage]” or ... The parsing (1) means that it is a site for questions about the Japanese language and the usage of anything Japanese (Japanese people etc.).

This isn't strictly necessary. "English Language and Usage" doesn't mean "discussion of the English Language and acceptable usages of the English (people... put them to work making Fish and Chips or something)". It refers to the language in both cases.

Likewise, "Japanese Language and [Japanese] Usage" refers to the language in both cases. Perhaps "Nihongo Language and Usage" would make this more explicit, but at the moment this is an example of important context in English.

Edited to make the usage link more obvious

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    Your hypothetical interpretation of “English [Language and Usage]” is incorrect because you dropped the word “Usage,” and has nothing to do with the current discussion. Jun 2, 2011 at 15:43
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    It has everything to do with the current discussion. "Japanese" can mean either the language or things having to do with the people, just like "English". Your "usage" quibble IS, however, irrelevent to the discussion. Simply because you are capable of misparsing "Japanese" as referring to the people, does not mean the title itself is incorrect English.
    – jkerian
    Jun 2, 2011 at 16:05
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    Although titles are permitted to be elliptical, this is required for the parse "Japanese Language and Usage" as "Japanese Language and Japanese Usage of teabowls" (or whatever). It makes quite a bit more sense to interpret it as "Japanese Language and its usage", shortened. This is arguably redundant, but not incorrect.
    – jkerian
    Jun 2, 2011 at 16:14
  • I read the revision 2. I think that “English Language and [English] Usage” does imply that the site is for questions about the English language and the usage of everything English. Obviously it does not make sense, so I have to assume that something is omitted in the title, but that is like a garden-path sentence. Jun 2, 2011 at 16:25

The grammatical correctness of titles and headlines often get sacrificed in the name of brevity. Japanese Language and it's Usage does indeed make more sense.

  • I agree that the grammatical correctness is often sacrificed in titles and headings to make them short, but I do not think that it is a good compromise in this case. (I know that this is a moot point because, as repecmps stated in a comment on the opening post, it is likely to be too late to change the title given the past poll, but still I cannot help feeling unfortunate….) Jun 2, 2011 at 15:50

This turned out to be a moot point. As repecmps explained in a comment on the question, it is unlikely that the title will be changed, because the title follows the general pattern for all language sites on Area 51 which has been chosen as a result of discussion.

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