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tamagotchi

noun; zero derivation
Increasingly, any of a class of toys known as ‘virtual pets’, which are small electronic pet simulators This word burst onto the linguistic scene earlier this year with news of the Tamagotchi craze sweeping Japan; it has since undergone some semantic change in English.A Tamagotchi, literally, is a virtual pet manufactured by Bandai of Japan; it is a brand name. Recently, however, I have heard the word used in America to refer to virtual pets in general, not necessarily those manufactured by a specific company. Thus tamagotchi (note the lack of capitalization) is something like kleenex or coke in that it has come to represent a whole class of products. People don’t seem to have a good sense exactly what tamagotchi means, but they have seen virtual pets called tamagotchi, so the two must be the same. This is an example of a larger process that happens frequently when foreign words are co-opted into another language.
 
It seems every little kid wants a tamagotchi for Christmas.
Etymology : Borrowing from Japanese. Granted, this transformation is not complete, but I think it is progressing. How did this usage come about? I imagine through simple confusion (and thus zero derivation)
Source : Conversation between Trustin and relatives
Last modified: 10 June 2008


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