Posts Tagged honourifics

Study of Japanese modes of address and honourific

I guess I better start off with a disclaimer. I’m not Japanese. I studied it a bit and I have more than passing interest in it. So, this is what I can understand in my limited self-study and I may expand on this as I find new materials, aspects and understanding.

One of the interesting characteristics of Japanese language is the use of honorifics and the way someone is addressed shows the degrees/desire of familiarity in their relationship to each other. It even conveys the person’s personality, such as one who is normally formal or informal, open or distant, traditional or modern, rebellious, obedient or easygoing. A lot of these nuances are lost in translation to English. Which is why I feel it’s better to watch anime or japanese drama with English subtitles and original Japanese audio. You get the nuances and the depth of the story much better that way.

This post is an off-shoot from another article I’m writting on Prince of Tennis, The Captains’ Table, which is still half-done. I was looking at how Tezuka’s personality reflects the team dynamics and how it is conveyed and reflected in the members’ style of speech. So I’m afraid most of the examples require certain knowledge of Prince of Tennis. I’d recommend watching it, if only to study the nuances of Japanese language. But you should be able to observe similar usages in any anime or j-drama as well.

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