What resources can I use to determine if a given phrase is a pseudo-anglicism?

For example, "top page" is not a common English expression, but a native speaker of Japanese who's learning English may not know that. For example, they may see トップページ (toppu pēji, literally "top page", meaning home page) used frequently in Japanese, and assume that it exists in English. Pseudo-anglicisms is such a common phenomenon in Japan, it has its own name: 和製英語 (wasei eigo, literally "English made in Japan").

Checking if a word exists in a dictionary is a useful first step, but it's not definitive, because if it isn't listed, it might just indicate it's a legitimate word describing an obscure concept, or a recently coined word. Showing that a term is much more frequently used in one language (eg Japanese) than in English would help, as would showing that a term is much more commonly used by non-native speakers than by native speakers.

I'm primarily interested in Japanese pseudo-anglicisms, but references about pseudo-anglicisms in general (Denglisch, Franglais) are ok.

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Seems to me that this is one of the few instances where a Google search on your term would give you more meaningful results than anything else: current uses, with all the context you could want to tell you what users are employing the term in what senses. A search on "top page", for instance, confirms that it's used in the sense "homepage" mostly on Japanese sites and that in Anglo use it means something entirely different: high position in search engine results. –  StoneyB Jan 3 '13 at 23:36
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@StoneyB: I seem to remember reading that even if you "mask" any hidden "personalised filtering" from your search (by doing it in an "Incognito Window", in Google Chrome), your results are still biased by country. Add to that the fact that a Japanese person will already be primed to notice the "wrong" results more anyway, and I can see there's certainly scope for failing to pick out what might be obvious to people who already know the answer. –  FumbleFingers Jan 4 '13 at 22:21
    
The opposite is a similarly interesting question - phrases composed from words in other languages, often with their syntax, that are used in English. For example, how the English would use nom de plume where the French would use nom de guerre (though the French have now borrowed nom de plume back into French). –  Jon Hanna Jan 11 '13 at 10:46
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would probably search Google Books and see if the results match the context you're expecting.

For example, for top page, it gives rubbish like:

Page 69 bottom right, Page 72, Page 92, Page 95 top left, Page 109 bottom middle, Page 125 top, Page 155 right. ... Page 233 right, Page 236 top. Page 236 bottom MARTHA COOPER Page 97 center, Page 188, Page 189, Page 190 right.

But home page gives meaningful results like:

Home Page: An Introduction to Web Page Design
books.google.com/books?isbn=0531202550
Christopher Lampton - 1997 - No preview - More editions
A description of Web pages discusses their uses and describes how to design one.

You could search any similar source of real text, for example newspaper archives or even just normal search engine results.

Also, unfortunately there's no Japanese corpus but, for example, you can try comparing English and French corpus results for the word bifteck in Google Ngram Viewer. These chart shows virtually no English results, so it's quite clearly not an English word.

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This only helps if you already know of "top page" and "home page" as alternative options though. –  Jon Hanna Jan 11 '13 at 10:44
    
@JonHanna: Not necessarily; the search for "top page" doesn't give meaningful results so you know it's probably wrong without needing to know "home page" is correct. The bifteck Ngram has no mention of beefsteak. –  Hugo Jan 11 '13 at 13:40
    
True. The original problem was just "is this much used?" rather than "what is used where we would use...?" so it would at least answer the first part. –  Jon Hanna Jan 11 '13 at 14:17
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