How to use うち

Hi I just read the article on first person pronouns and listened to the podcast on them, but i’m still slightly confused on how to use うち. I’m a female and almost 20, so would I be considered too old to use うち as my first person pronoun?


My girlfriend is 28 and uses うち. But she’s from Kansai and it’s a Kansai dialect pronoun.

I’m not an expert on it or anything, though.

I asked her what she’d think of a foreigner using it and she said かわいいんじゃない? (Wouldn’t it be cute?) so that’s at least one うち user’s opinion on it.


I’m a gay man and about the same age as @Leebo’s girlfriend and I might throw out an odd あたし or うち if I’ve had a drink or three and am feeling sassy. I’d say don’t get too caught up in formal rules for pronouns, listen to how people use them (in person, in media), and make your own decisions on how you want to refer to yourself. If you ever plan on visiting/living in Japan, particularly a large city, younger generations are increasingly open and accepting of different ideas of gender expression.

Actually, I might throw out an odd あたし completely sober, depending on who I’m hanging out with. Definitely not at work though, and even woman-identified folk usually avoid あたし or うち at work.


Have you ever come across someone that has an issue with non-Japanese using particular pronouns? That sounds like an odd hang-up for someone to have haha

I’ve never really tried asking someone what they thought of any weird combos, like a small girl using わし or something. If your point is that most Japanese people wouldn’t outright tell you they thought it was weird, maybe that’s true… but I think it would be thought of as weird if it was that odd of a combo.

Dialectal pronouns might make Japanese people at least want to know why the person is using it, or make them wonder if they truly understood the typical usage. Does that mean they’d have an “issue” with a little girl using わし? Maybe not. But they’d probably ask questions about it.

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Oh I get you, because うち is used more commonly in certain areas so it seems less likely a foreigner would know/use it?

I think as long as it’s being used in a natural/appropriate way people probably wouldn’t pick it out, or if anything it’d be a marker of fluency (that’s usually how I feel about ESL speakers using slang at least).
But I get what you mean. It’s kinda like when you hear non-native English speakers who don’t quite understand how to swear yet.

Yeah, I guess a big takeaway from these pronoun discussions is that most people don’t have any “single” pronoun they use in every single situation, and using appropriate ones in appropriate situations would be a mark of fluency.

A foreigner woman using うち with her friends would probably not make people think too much about it, but the same person using it in an important business meeting might seem unnatural. Such a situation would usually call for わたし or わたくし (depending on just how serious this meeting is).

So, being open to using different ones based on the situation is a good idea.


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