Pimsleur Japanese clips I-9-16

San and other honorifics

The honorific that a character uses says what s/he thinks is his/her relationship with the other person. In the clip on the right, from ‘Your lie in April’ – Ep. 18, a boy addresses the teacher of a girl using the teacher’s name, Arima Kousei, without an honorific, and the girl goes into a rage at the insult.

San is the default polite honorific, meaning a neutral Mr., Mrs., or Ms., but there are many other ways to refer to someone:

  • [last name] 様, さま – sama – extremely formal and respectful
  • [last name] 先生, せんせい – Sensei – formal and respectful way to address teachers, and physicians; pronounced sensee, not sensei
  • [last name] さん – San – formal and respectful to address anyone
  • [last/first name] ちゃん – Chan – casual, usually for same or younger age, gender neutral
  • [last/first name] 君, くん – Kun – casual, equal or younger age, only for boys; kimi (you) and kun have the same kanji
  • [last name] – casual, used with close friends
  • [first name] – very intimate, used by family and childhood friends

There are many other honorifics, e.g., in ‘My Hero Academy’, All-might refers to teenage boys as ‘shounen’, instead of ‘kun’; ‘shounen’ means ‘young man’, but I have yet to hear this honorific in any other drama or anime.

kore, ga, no Ep.8

lit. This! This is Aiza’s Chopin.
Eng. This is Aiza’s Chopin.

kore ga aiza no shopan.
これが あいざの ショパン。

kore ga aiza no shopan desu.
これが あいざの ショパン です。

  • the ga particle emphasizes what comes before it, while wa emphasizes what comes after it.

watashi/boku/ore, wo, te form Ep.13

lit., Eng.: look at me! (4 times)


ore wo miro!
watashi wo miro!
watashi wo miro!
boku wo miro!

おれを みろ!
わたしを みろ!
わたしを みろ!
ぼくを みろ!

watashi wo mite kudasai (4 times)
わたしを みて ください。

  • boku and ore are casual forms of watashi; boku has a connotation of being respectful, while ore has one being manly, tough, and confident.
  • mite is the imperative of mimasu (to look); miro is used when you are angry
  • mark with を the direct objects of conjugated verbs, and with が the direct objects of conjugated adjectives.
  • the particle を is pronounced ‘o’, in spite that it is written as ‘wo’.