Post Reply Japanese honorifics
12378 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
49 / M / In
Offline
Posted 10/20/13
I know most Japanese honorifics like -san -sama -chan but I came across one in an anime that has me stumped -tan does anyone know this one and what it means? Plus do you ever find yourself using these in everyday life?
27825 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
M / 七十七 / ミシガン
Offline
Posted 10/20/13 , edited 10/20/13

uncletim wrote:

I know most Japanese honorifics like -san -sama -chan but I came across one in an anime that has me stumped -tan does anyone know this one and what it means? Plus do you ever find yourself using these in everyday life?

I ran into that in Chihayafuru with Megumu-tan and that had me wondering, too, lol. It seems to be, at least according to this site - http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/JapaneseHonorifics?from=Main.JapaneseHonorifics:

"A small child's slurred mispronunciation of -chan. If it is used by an adult at all, unless speaking to an infant or toddler, the person is most likely either being sarcastic, ironic, or a poser Kawaiiko. A non-anime example of this is a certain fast food fried chicken chain's mascot in Japanese advertising, an adorable little girl, "Bisuke-tan," who carries an enormous biscuit on top of her head; her name can probably best be translated as "Widdle Biscuit." This is also how the name for the OS-tans, the Super-Deformed mascots representing operating systems and software programs, was derived - and by extension, any young female anthropomorphization."

As for using honorifics in everyday life... nope, can't say that I do, uncletim-tan! xP I do use -san a lot on these forums, though! XD
11060 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
21 / M / Dublin
Offline
Posted 11/10/13
http://www.tofugu.com/guides/japanese-honorifics-guide/

If this helps at all :)

I speak Japanese pretty regularly, so I do use honorifics frequently.
To my teacher, sensei.
To most friends my age/younger: (Yobisute, calling someone without an honorific)
To most friends older/ to any stranger : -san, unless they say it's OK not to, in which case also yobisute.
To a close male friend my age or less : -kun

Although, to be honest, there's only one friend I regularly refer to with -kun.

You can also call someone by their title, I call my Japanese society Club leader: Kaichou.

Hope this helps! Do you use these daily?
19152 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
24 / M / Colorado
Offline
Posted 11/18/13
I've heard -tan isn't really an honorific at all, but is used a lot for friends, kind of just a casual nickname in a childish or youthful way of speaking. Say it'd be the difference between the name "Andrew" and "Andy" almost, as we'd know it. Same goes for ones like -nyan, -pon, -po, or -chi.
5656 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
21 / F
Offline
Posted 11/21/13

suikojay wrote:


uncletim wrote:

I know most Japanese honorifics like -san -sama -chan but I came across one in an anime that has me stumped -tan does anyone know this one and what it means? Plus do you ever find yourself using these in everyday life?

I ran into that in Chihayafuru with Megumu-tan and that had me wondering, too, lol. It seems to be, at least according to this site - http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/JapaneseHonorifics?from=Main.JapaneseHonorifics:

"A small child's slurred mispronunciation of -chan. If it is used by an adult at all, unless speaking to an infant or toddler, the person is most likely either being sarcastic, ironic, or a poser Kawaiiko. A non-anime example of this is a certain fast food fried chicken chain's mascot in Japanese advertising, an adorable little girl, "Bisuke-tan," who carries an enormous biscuit on top of her head; her name can probably best be translated as "Widdle Biscuit." This is also how the name for the OS-tans, the Super-Deformed mascots representing operating systems and software programs, was derived - and by extension, any young female anthropomorphization."

As for using honorifics in everyday life... nope, can't say that I do, uncletim-tan! xP I do use -san a lot on these forums, though! XD


Thanks for the info!

It seems if it's used by adults it's mostly between friends, either in a friendly or, as you quoted, sarcastic manner. I've seen -chin used in place of -chan in Kimi ni Todoke and it seems to be purely friendly.

And then of course there's Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, in which Fai uses all manners of honorifics for Kurogane. Of course, you can tell by his tone it's both sarcastic and friendly.
8217 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
31 / M / Sydney, Australia
Offline
Posted 2/27/14 , edited 2/27/14

WednesdayBookLove wrote:

Thanks for the info!

It seems if it's used by adults it's mostly between friends, either in a friendly or, as you quoted, sarcastic manner. I've seen -chin used in place of -chan in Kimi ni Todoke and it seems to be purely friendly.

And then of course there's Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, in which Fai uses all manners of honorifics for Kurogane. Of course, you can tell by his tone it's both sarcastic and friendly.


I'm not sure if you are actually learning Japanese for practical use. If you are, you should be careful with titles. Using them incorrectly is a big no-no.

san - is always the safest. Use it for pretty much everyone.

chan - is diminutive. Usually used for small children, people you want to belittle, or extremely close (usually female) friends. It can be insulting to people if you aren't very close to them. Don't use it at work, or in any situation where you aren't very sure that the pesron is ok with it.

sama - Don't use this. Just don't. It's supposed to be ridiculously formal and polite, but if you use it wrong, it can come across as extremely rude. It's like using the word "sir" or "madam"; in the wrong context, it can be very rude. Staff at shops and restaurants will call you Okyaku-sama. They are using really formal Japanese called Keigo. If you do it, it comes across as weird at best.

kun - Usually for boys. Also diminutive. It's usually used when an adult talks to a child. If you aren't sure when to use it, don't. It's a lot like chan. It can be fine between very close friends, or if your social status is higher than theirs AND you are close. Any other time comes across as extremely belittling.

tan - Oh god, no. Don't use this. It isn't a real title. It's a slang version of chan. It's used pretty much only for female mascots. It isn't even for real people. When people make up dumb crap like a giant-eyed, red haired girl with a fox tail as the mascot for Firefox browser, the character gets a -tan suffix. Don't ever apply this to a person.

chin - This is the worst one. Don't ever use this one under any circumstances. This literally means dick. Japanese slang for penis is always some form of chin word. "Chin chin" for little kids and "Chinpo" or "Chinko" as a proper swear word. For the love of all things, don't ever call anyone -chin.


Edit: Also, -nyan, -pon, -po, or -chi. Nope, nope, nope. Don't use these. They are weird shit that weird people do in weird little clique groups. If you ever actually talk like this, people will think you are an insufferable Japanophile. Or you aren't right in the head.
Brand Manager
503028 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
F / San Francisco
Offline
Posted 3/8/14
^ I think -chi is okay. Usually girls use it though.
-Nyan,-pon,etc is kinda weird in my opinion but usually people use it as nicknames or something like an inside joke.

~Tan is like the baby talk version of ~Chan. It's cutesy.
4155 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
24 / M / New York
Offline
Posted 3/8/14 , edited 3/8/14

tiffako wrote:

^ I think -chi is okay. Usually girls use it though.
-Nyan,-pon,etc is kinda weird in my opinion but usually people use it as nicknames or something like an inside joke.

~Tan is like the baby talk version of ~Chan. It's cutesy.


No way don't even think about using those!
You must be logged in to post.