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:: Friday, May 05, 2006 ::

Ore, Boku... dare?



The Japanese language can be quite complex, especially where politeness levels and how you address someone (even yourself) are concerned. Back home I learned all the textbook definitions, but nothing replaces actually hearing it used everyday.

A really interesting area is how you refer to yourself. There are at least five words to do it, each with its own nuances. The gender neutral watakuchi is very very very polite, and only commonly heard in historical dramas.

Girls get the short shrift, mostly using the netural watashi. Atashi can also be used, but it is incredibly wimpy. Girls who stare at their feet and barely speak above a whisper use atashi.

Guys, on the other hand, can use ore, which is incredibly tough. Guys who are macho and think highly of themselves use it. There is also boku, which is what my ceramics sensei always uses. It sounds kind and a little gentle... nice guys use it. The only way I can think to describe it any better is a guy who uses boku is one you'd want to date, where the ore guy probably thinks too much of himself to be a good boyfriend. That and I don't go for overly tough guys. :P

Some girls cross the line and use boku to refer to themselves, but this is very much looked down upon by society. While it's gentle when a guy uses it, it's a little too tough to be managed by a girl. That being said, female J-pop singers use it with some regularity... no idea how they get away with it, though. I wish I could use boku, but the boring watashi is my only real option, unfortunately.

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:: Kazen 5:29 PM [+] ::
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