Help with Honorifics
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Posted 10/8/14
I want to understand the Japanese system of honorific. As soon as I think I've got the hierarchy straight, some character says something that undoes it. I think there as subtle points being made, but I'm not sure.

Here's my guess about the hierarchy from formal to close -- let me know how close this is ....
and are there more honorifics?

- San
- Sama
- Sempai
- Sensei
- Kun
-Chan
- Chi


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Posted 10/8/14 , edited 10/12/14
Pretty sure Sama is as high as it gets. You normally hear God or powerful people being called Sama.

Posted 10/8/14
Sama, sensei, san, senpai, kun, chan.
Posted 10/8/14 , edited 10/12/14
-dono

it's archaic
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Posted 10/8/14
I don't speak from a learned point of view, just experience with anime. but sama is the highest honorific with the next lowest being dono. but I usually see that from one warrior to another in samurai period stuff. san is next . It's just like Mr., Mrs., or Miss. kun and chan are very familiar but I don't know the difference. sempai is senior. Kind of like someone who has the same job as you but knows more through experience. sensei is teacher or doctor. and I don't know chi. I could be wrong but I think I have a pretty good handle on it. hope it helps clear up your confusion.
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Posted 10/8/14 , edited 10/12/14
- San = Mr./Ms./Miss/Mrs.
- Sama = Highest respect/Lord/Lady/Royalty like
- Sempai = (also "Senpai") "upperclassman"/someone that has more experience than you
- Sensei = teacher/doctor/author
- Kun = used (usually) for guys that are the same year (like say school)/friends with you. Sometimes indicates familiarity and/or close relationship.
-Chan = used (usually) for ladies that are the same year/friends with you. Sometimes indicates familiarity and/or close relationship.
- Chi -No idea on this one. Maybe super cutesy like "tan" is a cutesy form of "chan?"

I've never been to Japan, but from what I've heard, "Sama" is pretty much limited to letter writing. "San" is probably the most common honorific used. Please note this information was mostly learned back when I watched fansubs so someone more fluent in Japanese can give a better answer, but this should help a little, hopefully.
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Posted 10/9/14 , edited 10/12/14

AkuaLezli wrote:

I want to understand the Japanese system of honorific. As soon as I think I've got the hierarchy straight, some character says something that undoes it. I think there as subtle points being made, but I'm not sure.

Here's my guess about the hierarchy from formal to close -- let me know how close this is ....
and are there more honorifics?

- San
- Sama
- Sempai
- Sensei
- Kun
-Chan
- Chi


for self - dis


Hi, I've closed this because individual personal "help" threads aren't allowed in the discussion forums. However we do have an existing thread devoted to language learning help and it would be appropriate there. Here's the link, so please post it there:

/forumtopic-825125/language-learning-help-and-discussion-thread
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