An interesting Japanese expression I came across today is 客寄せパンダ (kyakuyose panda), which means a star attraction, draw card or crowd puller, or literally “visitor-gathering-panda” [source]. Originally it referred to pandas, which tend to be popular attractions in zoos and pull in many visitors, and came to refer to other crowd pulling attractions [source].
客寄せパンダ is made up of words of Chinese, Japanese and English origin and is an example of 混種語 (konshugo), or a hybrid word that combines elements from several languages.
- 客 (kyaku) was borrowed from Chinese and means guest, visitor or customer.
- 寄せ (yose) is a native Japanese word and means gathering, collection, coming together, or the last moves or endgame in chess, go or other games.
- パンダ (panda) comes from English.
The English word panda was borrowed from French, which possibly comes from nigálya-pónya, a name for the red panda used in Nepal and Sikkim, which may come from the Nepali निँगाले (nĩgāle – a species of bamboo), and the Tibetan name for the same animal: ཕོ་ཉ (pho nya, or literally “messenger”) – quite a hyrid word [source].