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Post Reply Japanese Language Help
先生
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Posted 11/29/14 , edited 12/14/14


This is the place to be if you have any questions regarding Japanese. Think of this forum as our own classroom where anyone can be a student or a teacher, helping each other out by answering our questions about Japanese. So don't be shy and start asking any question you may have and hopefully the other members of this club can answer your question!
学生
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Posted 12/1/14
Ah. Then let me start off with a question then!

I always get messed up with personal pronouns like watashi and boku. Which one should I, as a male, be using?

I also know I have heard "ore" every so often in anime and such, but to my knowledge I believe that one is a more informal/arrogant personal pronoun for males only? That is what I heard from my teacher, but I am still unsure since I hear it so much.
先生
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Posted 12/1/14
Yay you have the honor of being the first to ask a question! Pronouns in Japanese are kind of tricky seeing how English has only one way to express "I" and Japanese has many different ways to express "I". I believe that the short answer to your question is that if you're in a formal situation, like a business situation, or using polite speech in your Japanese class, you should use "watashi" but when you're amongst friends, "watashi" would sound too stiff/formal, and you're better off using boku around friends. You should just confirm this with your Japanese teacher but this is how I've understood Japanese pronouns!

In my grammar book it lists masculine pronouns as follows:
Formal - watashi
Informal- boku
Very informal - ore

I don't know exactly when a male will say "ore". I guess when a male speaker is feeling tough he says "ore" for I? It seems like I always hear ore in anime all the time too.

I also have a question, I have heard anta been used for you. I know it's informal but in what situations would one use anta? Is it a demeaning pronoun?

Also, if you're interested there are way more pronouns, some I've never heard before! In my book, it says asshi (I) is very informal, used by the adult male of the Tokyo Bay Area! Hope I've helped, I'm just a beginner !
学生
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Posted 12/1/14
Arigatou! ^-^ No worries about being a beginner. You seem farther along than I am.

Either way, that really helps. Clears up some confusion I had been having. I figured it was probably an issue of "when and where" to use something, formality-wise.

As for your question about "anta"... it is more of something you would use with family and closer friends, however even then it is a bit of a weird area. It is a lot less polite as far as I am aware, and can be seen as a demeaning pronoun if used with someone you do not know, or if someone just finds the connotations offensive. It is a shorter form of anata, also meaning you, and one thing I have learnt about Japanese is that as the length of something increases, so does the level of formality and politeness. (Introductions especially.)

To sum it up, it can be used the exact same way as anata. However, according to my Japanese friend I met at University, it shouldn't be used unless you know the other person will not be offended.

Hope I could help in some way!
先生
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Posted 12/1/14
I'm glad I could help you! ありがとうございます。Thanks for your help too! When I was watching anime, I heard one girl call the other girl 'anta' but they seemed friendly. However, when I was trying to read Bleach in Japanese, Ichigo referred to the antagonist, Aizen as 'anta.' I guess Ichigo used 'anta' to look down upon Aizen. (I hope you're familiar with Bleach). Anyway, I guess anta is one of those words you have to be careful.

And I have another question: Do you when can females use ore and omae? I was watching Sailor Moon Crystal and the female antagonist, Queen Beryl, used those masculine pronouns. I know it's alright for females to use boku and kimi in songs, if they're singing from the male's perspective, but when is it alright for female speakers to use ore and omae? If you don't know it's alright! Japanese pronouns are so confusing!
学生
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Posted 12/1/14
Yeah, anta is kinda just situational. Well glad I could help with that one!

I am very familiar with Bleach. I have watched all of the anime and am currently up to date with the manga. ^-^ I imagine Ichigo is using it in order to convey his dislike for Aizen (I use dislike lightly).

Ore and omae. Ore is one of the ones that confused me before, but I know about omae. I am actually unsure when it is okay for female speakers to use ore or omae. I know that they are under the same category as one another as kind of gruff, so I imagine that if a female speaker wants to sound.. "manly" they would use those pronouns. Perhaps Queen Beryl used them to sound intimidating? Not familiar with Sailor Moon sadly so I cannot be sure. :s

A quick jaunt with my best friend, Google ちゃん, seems to reveal that this is the case. Ore and omae should be used exclusively with males, just as "atashi" (I) should just be used by females. Otherwise, males will sound feminine when they are using atashi, while females will sound masculine when they use ore/omae. Of course, if one is aiming for that effect, then they may go ahead and use them regardless.

Japanese pronouns are very confusing! I am going to ask my Japanese friend more about them next time we sit down for conversation practice. Hopefully I was of some help!
Posted 12/1/14 , edited 3/14/15
what?

you guys are beginners?
先生
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Posted 12/1/14
Linova さんはすごいです。ありがとうございました。 Thank you so much for all your help! I think you're right--Queen Beryl was using those pronouns to probably sound "manly." You really helped me today! If you have any other questions, please ask them here! And that's so cool you have a Japanese friend who can help you with conversations! I really look forward to what your friend says about the pronouns, any explanation really helps. And わーい!Yay another Bleach fan! I'm up to date too on the manga and saw most of the episodes! How are you liking the thousand year blood war?

And yes severticas-San! I'm an intermediate beginner. I've been teaching myself Japanese for over a year and I'm in my third month of formal Japanese courses. I can read some kanji and know all the hiragana and katakana. It's just at this stage I'm better at reading Japanese than writing it. あなた達は。
学生
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Posted 12/3/14
すごい?わたし?まさか!でも、ありがとうございます、Ichiban さん。^-^ Glad that I could be of some help. When I find another question to ask I will be sure to bring it here and see what we can learn. Going to be meeting up with my friend day I think (and hope).

As for Bleach, I absolutely love it actually. It is everything that makes Bleach... well... Bleach in my opinion. It had a very strong opening, I'll definitely give it that though. Hadn't felt that strongly about an opening of an arc since the Soul Society arc where they go to save Rukia!

Also, just a follow up on anata and anta. I am currently going through a visual novel called "Kara no Shojo" and there is this character who is just most condescending person I have ever seen in some form of Japanese media. He uses "anta" almost all the time, and I can kind of feel now where the whole stigma against using it for some people comes from. o-o


Also, to severicas-san. I am definitely still a beginner... but then again.. when it comes to languages, I feel people are beginners for a very long time before they can consider themselves anything more than that. Especially with Japanese. I also can read some kanji and am fully capable with hiragana and katakana. Since I am just getting the chance now to get back into full study, I am currently reviewing my grammar.
先生
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Posted 12/3/14 , edited 12/3/14
ふふ〜。(*^^*) it's really nice having someone to discuss Japanese with! I hope this forum becomes even more lively in the future! And I look forward to any future questions you may bring to this thread. As a matter of fact, I have Japanese class today so if I have any questions, I'll make sure to paste them here tomorrow.

I know, this new Blood War arc looks so interesting, especially with the many twists and turns it's taking with
. At the same time, it's kind of sad since Bleach is coming to an end. Bleach was the first manga I have ever read, and I absolutely love Ichigo--I regard him as one of the best male shōnen protagonists! いちごはすごいですよね。

And wow! Whenever I try to read Japanese manga I'll definitely keep an eye out for あんた and maybe if I see some examples of how it's used I'll post some pictures here. For me the most confusing part of Japanese is when to use certain pronouns and also particles at times confuse me!

And a side note, me too! I definitely to study grammar! Katakana and hiragana are easy--it's just trying to resent all that kanji!
先生
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Posted 12/22/14
I was in Japanese class the other day and I'm really confused about the particle "Ni" and "To" when it can be used in this instance. My teacher said that "I'll meet a friend" can be written with either "Ni" or "To" in Japanese:

友達会います。
友達会います。


I know the sentence is translated as pretty much the same in English, but I really want to understand the nuance of に and と when it's used like this.

As a side note, Sensei said that "ni" is a linear particle while "to" means doing something together, with something I understand that, but I don't understand the difference when it's used in the two bold sentences! Someone please help!

お願いします〜
漢和名手
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Posted 12/24/14
私は日本語の先生の資格は少しでもないけど、説明してみます。。。でも間違えるかもしれません。。。。

For the specific example you cite, 友達に・とあいます, I wonder if there really is any difference. A dictionary I have lists under its entry for the verb 会う that either "ni" or "to" can be used interchangeably-- "ni" seems to be more common or standard as "to" for this particular usage is mentioned only in brackets as an alternative. This interchangeability might be fairly unique to this verb.

I've also two handbooks by Kodansha specifically dealing with particles. In general, of course, "ni" and "to" are quite distinct particles, and are not interchangeable for the most part. Among the "meanings" or usages of "to," is that implying "with" in terms of a shared action-- e.g. 先生と話す, to talk/discuss with my teacher. I wonder if it is this usage of "to" that is operating when used with 会う.

The only other instance of which I'm aware that "ni" and "to" are actually interchangeable is with changes in state with the verb 成る. なんかに成る is apparently synonymous with なんかと成る with "to" in this usage being more formal, and typically used in writing as opposed to verbal communication.
先生
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Posted 12/25/14
Wow sushi-san thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question on Christmas! I hope you had a great Christmas with your family Anyway I remember my sensei said that with the verb 会う, that the younger generation tends to use "ni" with it and people hardly use "to" with it. Also, as you mentioned, my teacher also said it doesn't make a difference if you use "To" or "ni" with the verb 会う.

I guess it's just one of those verbs that has interchangeable particles, though as you mentioned, yes "ni" and "To" are definitely not interchangeable. I remember in class sensei said that "to" is used as a "Shared action" particle, just like you said sushi-san! And really? I didn't know that "Ni" and "to" are interchangeable with 成る! Thanks for sharing that with me! And what Kodansha book do you have? The best Japanese grammar book I have is "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar" published by the Japanese Times. I'm a beginner at Japanese so that book really helps!

Once again I hope you had a Merry Christmas Sushi-san! :D
漢和名手
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Posted 12/25/14
祝日以外には仕事しかないんです!(実は数週間の休暇があるのに、全然足りません。。。) あなたらにもメーリクリスマス!

I happen to like Kodansha's various handbooks, which I bought at the Kinokuniya bookstore in San Francisco, or at the local Border's in Reno back when Border's was still alive. I recall you mentioning somewhere else on this forum that you had a Book-Off near you, so I imagine you live near a sufficiently sized Japanese community to have plenty of resources available! I wish I could say the same for Reno! The Kinokuniya in San Francisco, as one might expect, has a very large Japanese language book section for learners-- lots of stuff I've never seen anywhere else. Anyway, one I have is "All About Particles" by Naoko Chino, which is shorter and bit easier to read. A more extensive one is "A Dictionary of Japanese Particles" by Sue Kawashima. I also have related Kodansha handbooks on verbs, adjective and adverbs, and common sentence patterns.
先生
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Posted 12/26/14
That's so cool you went to Kinokuniya in San Francisco! I went to the one in New York City and they have a life-size mural of two characters from the Vagabond series and they also have a very small eating place on the second floor. If you ever visit NYC, I recommend you visit Books Kinokuniya! I used to love going to my local Borders, I was really sad seeing it close down And the Book Off I visited is the only one on the whole East Coast (though it seems like there are so many located in California)!

There is a relatively small Japanese population where I live. However, there are many more Koreans where I live--I always see signs in Hangul and I've been to all the local Korean supermarkets, which I really enjoy! Talking about supermarkets. did you ever hear of Mitsuwa Marketplace? Since, you're in Reno, there are absolutely no Mitsuwa markets near you. Again there seems to be so many in California! It's my favorite Japanese grocery store! When I go there, it feels like I'm actually in Japan!

I was actually interested in buying "A dictionary of Japanese Particles". Is it a good book?
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