Japanese One Point Lesson: なう

By Michael Gakuran | | Japan | 41 Comments |

Welcome to the first in what I hope will become a long-running series on this site – Japanese One Point Lessons! Today’s lesson is an obscure and fairly recent bit of Japanese I discovered on Twitter – the word なう (Nau).

hard-gay-nauI take no credit for discovering this, as it baffled me too for the longest time. Every now and then, one of the few Japanese-speakers I follow on Twitter would mysteriously finish their sentence with なう. What could it be? I thought. Probably some weird old way of speaking… I just hadn’t come across it yet in my linguistic explorations, right?

I finally cracked and tweeted the question to an interesting Japanese-language twitterer named @gin_no_hera. He tells me it essentially means: 今〜している (I’m doing [something] now). He also linked me to Sushi, Sumo and Shinkansen which has a post on it. Apparently it was invented on Twitter, although another of my followers claims it dates back into 2-chan territory. Anyone know for sure?

nau-twitter

So, let’s take a look at some examples! And what better place to find them than Twitter itself? Using Twitter Search:

nau-examples

1) yamkozawa: (Listening to) Ikimonogakari now
2) hanizo: Now working
3) marsfield2122: (On the) Chuo-line now

Easy right? You’ll notice that often the verb is implied. Nothing new there then. Let’s look at some harder examples:

nau-examples2

4) ch1cala: (Playing) Rock-Paper-Scissors at Shinbashi now
5) Sho5onthewell: It’s a pain to have to change my trousers, so right now I’m on the sofa in just my underwear trying not to laugh (mobile phone)
6) eaurouge_spa: Leaving Machida now
7) terapicos: Now (watching) ‘A Certain Forbidden Catalog of Black Magic’ (Anime)

What a weird tweet Sho5onthewell!? But crazy-interesting Japanese! Looks like this became a two-point lesson (I’ve already broken my rules on the first time!)

パンモロ = パンツがもろに見える = Can completely see one’s underwear. (A quick Google Image search will verify this – but don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

Apparently もろに means something like すっかり. Here’s Hard Gay (HG) to demonstrate…

hard-gay-panmoro2

Well, that’s all for today!

ワンポイントレッソン終了!!

(Title Image Source is here)

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41 comments on “Japanese One Point Lesson: なう
  1. Hiyo says:

    Thank you! I saw it several time on twitter and didn’t know what it meant. >.<

  2. Gakuranman says:

    If you show me what the original source text is, I might be able to give you an idea of what the person is trying to say, but without any context it is very hard to be sure.

  3. Dave1969m says:

    Can you please translate.
    Thank you

  4. Dave1969m says:

    ほかに好きな人ができなそうだからと求婚された。・・・消去法!?

    This is from the same person that said “marriage now” just a few months before.

  5. Gakuranman says:

    Well, the Japanese says ‘Marriage now’. Not exactly sure what ヒーハー is though, but my best guess is that it’s just onomatopoeic word for excitement that the person created.

  6. Dave1069 says:

    Are you sure?
    Or is it from a comedian line?

  7. Gakuranman says:

    Probably ‘I’m getting married now. Yee-hah!’

  8. Dave1069m says:

    . 結婚なう。ヒーハー。 What does this mean?

  9. wew! thanks a lot!!! i've been wondering all the time ><

  10. Gakuranman says:

    Haven't seen it used anywhere else, although I did catch it being used in a Twitter-related marketing campaign ;).

  11. vanessa says:

    do people usually use it elsewhere besides on twitter?

  12. kazushi says:

    thank you very much!!! I was going mad with that!

  13. Perhaps you can help me. One of the twitters I follow often post “なうなうー” which with Google translates to “Nau Nauー” -.-
    It makes no sense to me. Help please?

  14. Haitham says:

    Wow, this really is big! I've usually got my nose buried in the newspaper so I'm basically slang-illiterate. I've started seeing it everywhere, including this crazy Twitter election site: http://senkyonow.twinavi.jp/

    Cheers!

  15. Haitham says:

    You may be thinking of ナウい, which (like its ugly sister 今い) are no longer used, as far as I'm aware (完全に死語).

  16. danielshi says:

    Great post! Moar!! :D

  17. Sandra says:

    Great post. Thanks! Wonder why it developed in hiragana instead of katakana.

  18. Sandra says:

    Great post. Thanks! Wonder why it developed in hiragana instead of katakana.

  19. Pete says:

    Very interesting one-point lesson, I like it! Definitely would like to see it as a regular feature!

  20. Pete says:

    Very interesting one-point lesson, I like it! Definitely would like to see it as a regular feature!

  21. George says:

    Must…use in Twitter post… But seriously, interesting. Twitter is becoming quite the treasure trove of late, at least in terms of current usage.

  22. George says:

    Must…use in Twitter post… But seriously, interesting. Twitter is becoming quite the treasure trove of late, at least in terms of current usage.

  23. Ryan says:

    Great post! Does this mean that everybody is going to start using it なう?

  24. Ryan says:

    Great post! Does this mean that everybody is going to start using it なう?

  25. yonasu says:

    Cool, I wasn’t sure of what it meant! I haven’t seen it on Twitter, well at least I don’t think I have, but I’ve seen it on various places on the web. I thought it meant something like “now”, thanks for making it clear for me.

  26. yonasu says:

    Cool, I wasn’t sure of what it meant! I haven’t seen it on Twitter, well at least I don’t think I have, but I’ve seen it on various places on the web. I thought it meant something like “now”, thanks for making it clear for me.

  27. Waish says:

    I guess パンモロ is worse than the flash of パンチラ…

  28. Waish says:

    I guess パンモロ is worse than the flash of パンチラ…

  29. Satoshii says:

    That said, i’m now gonna spam all my twiter posts with なう! :P

  30. Satoshii says:

    That said, i’m now gonna spam all my twiter posts with なう! :P

  31. Satoshii says:

    Fuuuuuuuuuu!
    Dooooomooo! Hardo Gei desu!
    :P

    These things are annoying though, you try but you just can’t translate them. I really hate the merged words though. パンモロ is a perfect example. I would have never figured that one out. プリクラ, again, unless I had known what one was beforehand I would never have known what the hell it was. Blasted things…

  32. Satoshii says:

    Fuuuuuuuuuu!
    Dooooomooo! Hardo Gei desu!
    :P

    These things are annoying though, you try but you just can’t translate them. I really hate the merged words though. パンモロ is a perfect example. I would have never figured that one out. プリクラ, again, unless I had known what one was beforehand I would never have known what the hell it was. Blasted things…

  33. Koiyuki says:

    If I’m not mistaken なう relates back to bubble economy-era Japan when it was part of a Japanese hipster’s vocab when they wanted to describe when something was trendy, hip, now.

  34. Koiyuki says:

    If I’m not mistaken なう relates back to bubble economy-era Japan when it was part of a Japanese hipster’s vocab when they wanted to describe when something was trendy, hip, now.

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