Japanese Honorifics Question

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redeyesblackpanda
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Japanese Honorifics Question

#1 Post by redeyesblackpanda » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:21 pm

Alright, I've gotten conflicting opinions from my proofreaders for Eternal Memories on the usage of these. I have little knowledge myself and I wasn't really able to figure it out from wikipedia...

The question is:
How would a teacher refer to a female student (a new one) that they aren't the most familiar with in high school?
Would it be Example-chan, Example-kun, or Example-san? Why?

Thanks for your time...
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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#2 Post by Keilis » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:42 pm

I'm pretty sure it's Last Name-san for any gender and regardless of how "close" you are. It's just sticking to professionalism. If you change honourifics from student to student, it'd probably be viewed as favouritism anyway.

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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#3 Post by redeyesblackpanda » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:03 pm

I wasn't talking about closeness. I was wondering, because I think -chan and -kun are used if you're addressing a child, even if you aren't close. (That's the impression I have, at least.)
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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#4 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:16 pm

redeyesblackpanda wrote:I wasn't talking about closeness. I was wondering, because I think -chan and -kun are used if you're addressing a child, even if you aren't close. (That's the impression I have, at least.)
-chan and -kun express a level of familiarity that would be insulting to use for someone you just met. -chan shows affection, and -kun is a form of address used by someone of a senior status for someone of a lesser status. However, it is generally used only for males, and using it for a female expresses a high level of familiarity with that person. It is most often used when addressing male children or male teenagers.

I can't imagine a polite Japanese person would use anything other than -san when meeting someone for the first time like a new student.

And by "impression I have" it implies you don't know formal definitions or uses for honorifics, but have just picked up on their use through manga or anime, correct? You'd be better off not using honorifics at all if you can't use them correctly.

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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#5 Post by redeyesblackpanda » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:29 pm

I see... Probably just going to use "-san" then. I've done a little bit or research, but I'm not native at all, so I know very little. ^_^;
I have no intention of misusing honorifics, which is why I'm looking for help. :)
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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#6 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:49 pm

redeyesblackpanda wrote:I see... Probably just going to use "-san" then. I've done a little bit or research, but I'm not native at all, so I know very little. ^_^;
I have no intention of misusing honorifics, which is why I'm looking for help. :)
From Del Rey, an explanation of honorifics in English:
Page 1
Page 2

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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#7 Post by redeyesblackpanda » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:50 pm

Thanks. ^_^
Oh, and
I loved Dragon Eye! Too bad the author stopped in the middle... :'( I hope he gets better...
The explanation of "-kun" is giving me a headache... It says it can be used on those "of lower station." That doesn't apply here? (mind spinning like mad)
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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#8 Post by OtomeWeekend » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:59 pm

^

-kun is for boys. Though here in our school only few people call the boys as -kun, usually they call them straightly like "Aihara" or directly in first name or nicknames, i.e; Eiichi, Mizuki etc. Of course, if you are the polite kind, you'll prefer to use honorifics(like me.lol).

As for the -kun for lower ranks, I don't know if it's still used now but as for our school, all the teachers call their students without honorifics, especially the male teachers. They do include -san in female names though(probably as for respect for female?)
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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#9 Post by Celianna » Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:38 pm

@OtomeWeekend: funny, LateWhiteRabbit posts an image that says when they refer to those without honorifics, it's really intimate, and then you come by and say they mostly do just that. Haha.

I'll never get honorifics.
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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#10 Post by Celestie » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:39 pm

Our professors call us '-san' but then again, it's university and we learn the polite textbook-example Japanese, so...xD
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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#11 Post by OtomeWeekend » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:27 am

Celianna wrote:@OtomeWeekend: funny, LateWhiteRabbit posts an image that says when they refer to those without honorifics, it's really intimate, and then you come by and say they mostly do just that. Haha.

I'll never get honorifics.
Funny yeah. I'm studying in a school where I'm the only foreigner. I've been rarely called with honorifics even with people from other class except for the male students or the 1st years. Does this mean I'm intimated with all the 2nd years? No. I'd get greeted by people I don't even know on the hallway with my first name, with no keigo(polite words) or any honorifics. It's still a tradition in Japan to use honorifics and it adds a flavor to characters and how close their relationships are if in the manga. Older people still uses politeness heavily like greeting people they don't even know etc. but modern people usually students these days already forgot that kind of tradition and pretty much adapts to the western ways. This though, works on same sex society. Usually, boys and girls still tend to call the opposite sex by their first names too BUT with -san/-kun(for same age). In formal occasions, they still use honorifics but for everyday life or schoolmates; confidently, no. Sometimes, students even call their teachers without any honorifics or -sensei, they even call them with nicknames and most of the time offensive namings.

Overall, just because it was traditional and was how Japan was known for; and is usually shown in mangas. It doesn't mean that realistically it still happens. There might come a time that in the near future, japanese won't even bother using honorifics anymore besides formal occasions or for respect for someone older/senpai.

Note: Um, perhaps this only happens here in Okayama and maybe honorifics are still heavily used on other regions but as far as I'm aware of, only few people ever use honorifics not because they are intimate but because they are either nearly the same age or they don't feel the need to use it at all(even to elders). Sorry for the long post. :)
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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#12 Post by Joey » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:31 am

When I went to Japan for an immersion program and studied in a middle school there the kids all seemed to do away with the honorifics too. Times are changing and they all wanna be like the West so I think stuff like sonkeigo might soon become obsolete :C But yeah as far as I remember teachers call female students by "-san" and don't bother with anything for the male students, lol.
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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#13 Post by Ramidel » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:59 am

"-kun" from a teacher to a female student is not unknown usage, albeit not strictly correct usage either. You (the OP) are the writer, so think of how the teacher would act; if the teacher is strictly formal, she might use -san for everyone. Using -kun for a new student indicates a classroom with a more relaxed, informal atmosphere. Anime tends to play fast and loose with honorifics and pronouns anyway, so the tone you want to set is more important than accuracy. (-chan is too informal, however, unless you're writing a comedy. Any teacher who habitually uses that honorific with her students had best be very sure of her job security.)

On the subject, I also have a question. Do people in Japan often switch honorifics for a person depending on situational context, or do they pick an honorific for a person and mostly use it in all circumstances?

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Re: Japanese Honorifics Question

#14 Post by Thelo » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:38 pm

This is pretty interesting, and not what I expected. Thanks for the explanations!

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