Deciphering Japanese brand names: Rubetta

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A few months ago, Japanese convenience store chain CircleK Sunkus came out with a branded line of pasta bentos (boxed lunches).
The name? Rubetta.
If you know just a little bit of Japanese you can figure out the origins of this moniker.
Rubetta is a Japanese-stylesemordnilap,* which is a fancy term that means a word resulting from another word spelled backwards. For instance, Oprah Winfrey has named her production company “Harpo,” which is actually “Oprah,” spelled backwards.
Semordnilaps in Japanese are unlike their English counterparts in that Japanese is a syllabic language. So when you reverse spelling order, you are actually reversing syllables.
This is much easier to show than explain.

In Japanese, “taberu” means “to eat.” If we were reversing the spelling in English, we’d end up with “urebat,” which is nonsense in Japanese.

To reverse the word properly in Japanese, we need to take the three syllables ta-be-ru, and reverse them, producing ru-be-ta.
After this, the copywriter merely added a little flourish with an extra “t” (perhaps wanting it to have an Italian ring), resulting in Rubetta, which as we’ve already established, means “to eat.”

Get it?
* Semordnilap is itself a semordnilap and derives from the word palindrome.

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