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  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Post List of personal pronouns in Japanese

    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 : Most polite and formal version
    Watashi@ : most common. Used more by women than men.
    Atashi@ : Mostly used by young females. Sounds cute.
    Atai : Slang version of "Atashi"
    Washi@킵 : Mostly used by older men to younger or lower rank people.
    Boku@l : Common for younger men (sometimes women). Sounds more refine than "ore".
    Ore@ : Used by virile or older men. Not as polite as "watashi". (also and in dialects)
    Onore@ : Used by men. Sounds arrogant and impolite. Also means "self" or "you".
    Sessha@َ : Used by men (formerly samurai). Humble and polite.
    Ware@ : Quite formal and polite, but old-fashioned (except plural "wareware", used in a humble way to talk about one's company).
    Wa(ga)@ij: Literary for "watashi". Still used in the meaning of "my" or "our" (eg : 킪 = my/our country).
    Kochitomo Ƃ : Slang for "we" or "ourselves", sometimes also "I" and "myself".
    Wate : Kansai dialect for "Watashi".
    Chin : Used by emperors or kings.
    Daikou T : Literary. Used by men when speaking in an haughty way.
    Soregasi ^ : Ancient form of "Watakushi".
    Warawa : Ancient form of "Watakushi".

    "You"

    Anata@M/M : Most usual and polite form.
    Anta : Informal version of "anata".
    Kimi N : Used by men to talk to younger women or children, or to intimate people.
    Omae O : Used by older or less refined people. Less polite than "anata" and sometimes almost rude.
    Temee O : A bit rude and aggressive.
    Kisama@Ml : Usually rude and including bad feelings.
    Onore : Used in a disdainful way.
    Onushi (onoshi)@ : Polite and humble. Used by samurai to talk to people of equal or lower rank. Literally means "master".
    Nanji (namuchi, nare) : Literary. Used with intimate people or lower rank people.
    Onmi g : Literary honorific form meaning "your body".
    Sochi@, Sokotomo@̂Ƃ, Sonohou@̕, Sonota@̂, Konota@̂ : dated variant of "Anata", all meaning something like "hey there !"

    "He/she"

    Kare/kanojo@/ޏ : Most usual and neutral form
    Koitsu, soitsu, aitsu AA : 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).
    Last edited by Maciamo; May 2, 2004 at 15:50.

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  2. #2
    Manga Psychic PaulTB's Avatar
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    l (ꂳ)
    ȓ/ ()

  3. #3
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    "He/she"
    Yatsu 奴 =He. rude and including bad feelings.

  4. #4
    Samurai Golgo_13's Avatar
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    "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
    Last edited by Golgo_13; May 4, 2004 at 09:55.

  5. #5
    Regular Member fixelbrumpf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golgo_13
    "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?
    CPēn!

  6. #6
    Manga Psychic PaulTB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fixelbrumpf
    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. ōs邩B Can you go by yourself?

  7. #7
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #8
    ֗ orochi's Avatar
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    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."

  9. #9
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    I didn't mention "jibun" because it seems to me that it means "myself, yourself, etc." or "my, your...".

  10. #10
    Manga Psychic PaulTB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    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 and but, gramatically speaking, I don't see that it covers .

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

  11. #11
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Anata@M/M : Most usual and polite form.
    Anta : Informal version of "anata".
    Kimi N : Used by men to talk to younger women or children, or to intimate people.
    Omae O : Used by older or less refined people. Less polite than "anata" and sometimes almost rude.
    Temee O : A bit rude and aggressive.
    Kisama@Ml : Usually rude and including bad feelings.
    Onore : Used in a disdainful way.
    Onushi (onoshi)@ : Polite and humble. Used by samurai to talk to people of equal or lower rank. Literally means "master".
    Nanji (namuchi, nare) : Literary. Used with intimate people or lower rank people.
    Onmi g : Literary honorific form meaning "your body".
    Sochi@, Sokotomo@̂Ƃ, Sonohou@̕, Sonota@̂, Konota@̂ : dated variant of "Anata", all meaning something like "hey there !"
    There's also "" 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 I^N 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....
    Last edited by Elizabeth; Aug 25, 2005 at 07:57.

  12. #12
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    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.

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