Feature creep

Here's a photo I took at a nearby supermarket showing an example of cultural change (I hesitate to say evolution) fossilized in the lexicon.

On the left, ただの炭酸水, tada no tansansui: "Just carbonated water." This is a product name which uses humorous plain-spokenness to make its sales pitch: this isn't fancy imported spring water, or mineral water, or anything like that. It's not flavored. It's just carbonated water, period.

On the right, we see that the line has expanded: now we have ただの炭酸水にレモン, tada no tansansui ni remon, "Just carbonated water, with lemon." The success of tada no tansansui made this sort of step inevitable, I suppose, but it's difficult to see it as anything but jumping the shark. The whole point of tada no tansansui is that you can just grab a bottle off the shelf and not worry that it might not be what you want: it's just carbonated water, that's all you need to know. Now, though, it also comes in lemon flavor. (Lime, too, and something else I forget.) You know — just in case you didn't want just carbonated water from your bottle of "just carbonated water."

I fully expect to see tada no tansansui-brand cola on the shelves within a year or two.

Popularity factor: 4


I like how the Japanese syntax helps with this. Tada no tansansui. Tada no tansansui ni remon. Tada no tansansui ni remon to orēnji to Nicaragua-sei no hachimitsu.

In the Brazilian instance of the trend for minimalistic industrial beverages, Coca-Cola came up with "Limão&nada" ("lemon & nothing"), pronounced [li.ˈm̃̃ɐwɪˌna.dɐ] very close to "limonada" (lemonade, [ˈli.moˌna.də]). Great brand name; but it strongly suggests that there are no chemical additives, just good ol' lemonade: lemon plus nothing (well, sugar and water, perhaps). Unfortunately it also includes citric acid, ascorbic acid, and "flavor". So their "nothing" has more stuff in it than their direct competitor in lemonades, hipster-friendly "Do Bem" (roughly, "The Good Guys").


Maybe they'll further exploit the possibilities of branching and go with something like "tada no tansansui janakute, biiru".

Confession time: I hadn't seen the superscript double tilde before. I was like, "Two tildes over an m? This must be the most nasal sound ever."


Unicode combining characters (and hacky input methods) allow for some fun typos. It was supposed to be a single tilde over the [ɐ]


Matt: "tada no tansansui janakute, biiru" HILARIOUS!

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