Japanese Pronouns Survey

Yeah, 僕 is kinda soft whereas 俺 is way too tough-guy for menvm I guess I was wrong, whereas 私 is like the archetypical “I”. The most neutral pronoun Japanese has.

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僕, cause:

For real, though, 私 sounds too formal for me, so I just roll with 僕 :slight_smile:

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I’m a massive tomboy, so I see myself as a 僕. Haven’t had any chance yet to actually use it when talking with someone, though. Until now I’ve had only talks with strangers, so I’ve been using 私 :upside_down_face:

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I generally use 僕 but I’ve been wondering, are there any situations where 僕 is too informal? Aside from those where わたくし is the way to go :grin:

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Yeah, same. 僕 just feels right somehow.

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Maybe if you’re talking to a schoolteacher? Western teachers at least seem to have leeway in a lot of places to stop students from being informal or “disrespectful”, I can definitely see Japanese teachers making students use “私”. Just off the top of my head.

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It’s kinda not true actually that 俺 makes you sound like a tough guy. It’s a totally normal male pronoun that virtually all men use casually, I even asked one of my Japanese friends about it. Also, all of the male Japanese friends I have use 俺 and they’re not even remotely close to being tough guys lol.

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k. The more you know! I mean, tough guys def do use it and it’s good to use if you’re trying to look tough, but languages have a lot of nuance…

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Pronouns are rarely used in natural conversations. If I’m using 私, it would be in a formal setting like visiting city hall and I’m differentiating between my husband and I. For example, 夫は~私なら~

When talking with the neighbors and I’m speaking not only for myself but on our family’s behalf, I frequently use 内. Otherwise, 自分 is my go to in other situations and a personal pronoun is necessary.

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I’ve read that a lot that 俺 is for tough guys, and I think it makes many foreigners imagine the only guys who use it are Tokyo Manjikai-style yanki when in reality, it’s used by virtually all men lol. I hate acting like a foreigner telling people how something “is” or “isn’t” in the Japanese language because I certainly didn’t grow up there, but I’ve had many Japanese friends for many years and I can definitely speak on how I’ve heard so many of them talk. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: But for anyone who really wants to understand all the nuances well, I seriously think the best thing to do is just ask a Japanese person themself! If you don’t have any Japanese friends in person, there’s certainly many ways of meeting them online these days.

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True, yes. I’ve found the “rare pronouns” aspect of Japanese hand to wrap my head around, though…
So, anyone familiar with Japanese RPGs, specifically second person text games (like Zork and stuff), are they all like あなた all the time, or how is the normal writing style when it comes to pronouns?

I like 僕 because I like presenting slightly masculine :]

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I’d imagine it’s just omitted fairly often, as pronouns usually are in Japanese. Quickly scrolling through a bit of a Japanese playthrough, it does look like there’s the occasional あなた, usually as the first thing when introducing presumably a new “room” (or whatever the correct term is in games like these), but also entire screens of text without a pronoun in sight.

Games like Zork are a bit of an exception in that they’re addressing the player through a nameless persona, but in general conversation people would just use a name where needed - but unless the subject changes in between, you could tell someone’s entire life story and only need a pronoun or name once, in theory - it can just remain implied from there.

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拙者でござる。

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I’ve never played any of the kind of games you’re referring to, but I’m guessing they say あなた to you because Japanese games often have you type in your own character name, and since that isn’t programmed into the game they’re forced to directly talk to you as あなた instead of whatever name you chose. You probably already know this, but when actually speaking Japanese the custom is to refer to someone as their name rather than “you” when directly talking to them (for example, if I’m talking to someone named Miyamoto, I would say “Where would Miyamoto-san like to eat?” / 宮本さんはどこで食べたいですか?). However, for students taking exams at school, the tests often say あなた written in the questions to the students for a similar reason, because a written test can’t know a specific student’s name and keeps it general.

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I guess we’re talking about old games, but it’s pretty easy to record variables like character names and inject them into game text. Do more modern games use the player character’s inputted name instead of pronouns?

It sounds hard but in reality, it’s really convenient if you don’t know someone’s name. Honestly, about the only time you need a pronoun is if you’re switching subjects, and there’s ways around that too.

If I’m talking to a neighbor and I don’t know their name, if they look obviously elderly and we’re friendly, I’ll use おはあさん or おじいさん. If they are mid-age, then お母さん or お父さん is more polite. If they’re clearly younger than me, お姉さん or お兄さん. Our elderly neighbor uses that for us even though she knows our names because that’s her way of being polite. She only uses names directly during English practice.

I don’t have experience with RPG, but I assume in a game setting, Japanese people are less strict about politeness because it isn’t real life so あなた can be used. But if I’m trying to get someone’s attention, I’d probably just use すみません, follow them until they get the message, and then refer them by username when I can check it.

It’s not like あなた can’t be used in real life, it’s just not always appropriate. It’s just another second-person pronoun, it’s not inherently any more or less offensive than any other. It’s just that the cases where it’s appropriate are limited, since it’s not generally used with strangers and if your relationship with someone is such that it’s of the right formality, you tend to know their name so that becomes more natural to use instead. If you don’t, however, you can definitely use あなた.

I’m not sure why some people (not necessarily you - just something I see quite a bit here and there) seem to think it’s some kind of insult or something to be avoided at all times :confused: Japanese just doesn’t have the tendency to refer to people as “you” all the time, like English does.

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Ah, thanks so much, that makes sense! :333

Learning so much from this thread! :3

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Or 朕, 余, 妾(わらわ), 拙者,己(うぬ), …

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