San and other honorifics
The honorific that we use when addressing a person says what we think is our relationship with this person. In the clip below, from ‘Your lie in April’ – Ep. 18, a boy addresses the teacher of a girl using the teacher’s name, Arima Kousei, without using an honorific, and the girl goes into a rage at the insult.
The default honorific, ‘san’, is a neutral Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms., but there are many other ways to refer to someone:
- [last name] 様, さま – sama – extremely formal and respectful
- [last name] 殿, どの – dono – formal and respectful, used specially in business and official letters
- [last name] 先生, せんせい – sensei – respectful way to address teachers, and physicians; it’s pronounced sensee, not sensei
- [last name] さん – san – formal and respectful way to address anyone
- [last/first name] ちゃま – chama – casual, combines ‘sama’ and ‘chan’, i.e., combines respect and affection
- [last/first name] ちゃん – chan – casual, usually for same or younger age; can be used for males and females, but most commonly used for females
- [last/first name] 君, くん – kun – casual, equal or younger age, only for males; ‘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. For example, in ‘My Hero Academy’, All-might refers to teenage boys as ‘shounen’ (young man) instead of ‘kun’; this is a similar to Capt. Picard, in the Star Trek series, referring to Wesley as ‘Young Wesley Crusher’.
ja, mata, ashita Ep.6
Eng: See ya…
hum… See you tomorrow
hum… again tomorrow
un… mata ashita.
うん… また あした。
kore, ga, no Ep.8
Eng: This is Aiza’s Chopin.
lit: This! It is Aiza’s Chopin.
kore ga aiza kun no shopan desu.
これが あいざ くんの ショパン です。
kore ga aiza no shopan.
これが あいざの ショパン。
- the ‘ga’ particle emphasizes what comes before it, while ‘wa’ emphasizes what comes after it.
watashi/boku/ore, wo, te form Ep.13
Eng: look at me! (4 times)
watashi wo mite kudasai (4 times)
わたしを みて ください。
ore wo miro!
watashi wo miro!
watashi wo miro!
boku wo miro!
- ‘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 ‘miru’ (to look); ‘miro’ is used when you are angry
- we mark with を the direct objects of verbs, and with が the direct objects of adjectives.
- the particle を is sometimes pronounced ‘o’, in spite that it is written as ‘wo’.
wa, ni, arimasen Ep.16
Eng: My bag is not at school
lit: The bag? It does not exist at the school
kaban wa gakkou ni arimasen.
カバンは がっこうに ありません。
kaban gakkou ni nai
カバン がっこうに ない。
- Kawori is apologizing so she speaks formally to Kousei
- ‘kaban’ is bag or briefcase
- ‘gakkou’ is school