PDA

View Full Version : List of personal pronouns in Japanese



Maciamo
May 2, 2004, 12:28
Contrarily to European languages, Japanese has many different pronouns for each person (I, you, he/she, we...). "I" and "you" have an especially wide range of translation with various nuances, politeness level and gender. Learning is particularily useful to read mangas. I know the following ones (I am sure there are more, among old fashioned ones) :

"I" and "We"

Watakushi 私 : Most polite and formal version
Watashi 私 : most common. Used more by women than men.
Atashi  たし : Mostly used by young females. Sounds cute.
Atai 私 : Slang version of "Atashi"
Washi わし : Mostly used by older men to younger or lower rank people.
Boku 僕 : Common for younger men (sometimes women). Sounds more refine than "ore".
Ore 俺 : Used by virile or older men. Not as polite as "watashi". (also おら and おいら in dialects)
Onore 己 : Used by men. Sounds arrogant and impolite. Also means "self" or "you".
Sessha 拙者 : Used by men (formerly samurai). Humble and polite.
Ware 我 : Quite formal and polite, but old-fashioned (except plural "wareware", used in a humble way to talk about one's company).
Wa(ga) 我(が): Literary for "watashi". Still used in the meaning of "my" or "our" (eg : わが国 = my/our country).
Kochitomo こちとも : Slang for "we" or "ourselves", sometimes also "I" and "myself".
Wate わて : Kansai dialect for "Watashi".
Chin 朕 : Used by emperors or kings.
Daikou 乃公 : Literary. Used by men when speaking in an haughty way.
Soregasi 某 : Ancient form of "Watakushi".
Warawa 妾 : Ancient form of "Watakushi".

"You"

Anata 貴方/貴女 : Most usual and polite form.
Anta んた : Informal version of "anata".
Kimi 君 : Used by men to talk to younger women or children, or to intimate people.
Omae お前 : Used by older or less refined people. Less polite than "anata" and sometimes almost rude.
Temee 手前 : A bit rude and aggressive.
Kisama 貴様 : Usually rude and including bad feelings.
Onore 己 : Used in a disdainful way.
Onushi (onoshi) 御主 : Polite and humble. Used by samurai to talk to people of equal or lower rank. Literally means "master".
Nanji (namuchi, nare) 汝 : Literary. Used with intimate people or lower rank people.
Onmi 御身 : Literary honorific form meaning "your body".
Sochi そち, Sokotomo そのとも, Sonohou その方, Sonota そのた, Konota このた : dated variant of "Anata", all meaning something like "hey there !"

"He/she"

Kare/kanojo 彼/彼女 : Most usual and neutral form
Koitsu, soitsu, aitsu こいつ、そいつ、 いつ : means "this/that guy"

The plural can be form by adding "-ra" or "-tachi" at the end (ex : watashitachi, anatatachi, temeira, karera, aitsura...) or by doubling the word (wareware).

PaulTB
May 2, 2004, 16:55
俺様 (おれさま)
己等/俺等 (おいら)

akihabara
May 2, 2004, 22:00
"He/she"
Yatsu 奴 =He. rude and including bad feelings.

Golgo_13
May 4, 2004, 08:54
"Jibun" = I. I've heard Sumo wrestlers use this. "Jibun wa Aomori-ken shusshin desu."

"Uchi" = I. Used primarily in Osaka and Kyoto by women

"Ondore" = you. Heard this used in Yakuza movies

Elizabeth
May 4, 2004, 09:26
This is helpful for manga-reading, Maciamo. Thanks. I'm somewhat into the Edojidai Keiwaishi series at the moment where the yotaka/baishunfu woman occasionally use omae and two of the middle age men atashi not only to these ladies but even when talking among themselves. The only explanation I can see would be historical or regional accuracy.

orochi
May 4, 2004, 16:08
Another note on "Uchi,"
This one seems to be on the rise as a popular word for "I" among young women in Kansai. Male speakers should be on attention not to use this because it sounds very effeminate.
I have heard some males use it, though, but not in reference to themselves but rather their company, co-workers or "in-group."

fixelbrumpf
May 4, 2004, 22:23
"Jibun"
I've been told jibun is frequently used at the job when referring to yourself as an employee, so it seems to be quite formal. Besides, Ninja seem to use it too, (current) Naruto opening theme, anyone?

PaulTB
May 4, 2004, 22:59
I've been told jibun is frequently used at the job when referring to yourself as an employee, so it seems to be quite formal. Besides, Ninja seem to use it too, (current) Naruto opening theme, anyone?
Also jibun is used in sentences referring to 'oneself' / 'yourself' - so it's not necessarily 'I'.

e.g. 自分で行けるか。 Can you go by yourself?

Maciamo
May 4, 2004, 23:01
I didn't mention "jibun" because it seems to me that it means "myself, yourself, etc." or "my, your...".

PaulTB
May 4, 2004, 23:12
I didn't mention "jibun" because it seems to me that it means "myself, yourself, etc." or "my, your...".
Well to be fair that counts for 自分で and 自分の but, gramatically speaking, I don't see that it covers 自分は.

Of course there are those who say Japanese has no personal pronouns ...

Elizabeth
Aug 25, 2005, 01:31
Anata 貴方/貴女 : Most usual and polite form.
Anta んた : Informal version of "anata".
Kimi 君 : Used by men to talk to younger women or children, or to intimate people.
Omae お前 : Used by older or less refined people. Less polite than "anata" and sometimes almost rude.
Temee 手前 : A bit rude and aggressive.
Kisama 貴様 : Usually rude and including bad feelings.
Onore 己 : Used in a disdainful way.
Onushi (onoshi) 御主 : Polite and humble. Used by samurai to talk to people of equal or lower rank. Literally means "master".
Nanji (namuchi, nare) 汝 : Literary. Used with intimate people or lower rank people.
Onmi 御身 : Literary honorific form meaning "your body".
Sochi そち, Sokotomo そのとも, Sonohou その方, Sonota そのた, Konota このた : dated variant of "Anata", all meaning something like "hey there !"

There's also "お宅" for people who haven't learned or aren't familiar with the nuances of these others. Possibly similar (as insulting as) to 'Kisama' ?

Any connection to the オタク as eccentric nerd meaning I've never received a good answer on. Obsessively devoted to your passion to the point of never leaving the house perhaps...

Basically I think it's something a lot of Japanese people just don't like to talk about.... :relief:

moofs
Aug 25, 2005, 07:39
Hm, I always thought "Nanji" was like "thou" for the olden days.

Are there equivalents to "Thou", "Thy", "Thee", etc. in Japanese? I think there are in most languages.