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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_differences_in_spoken_Japanese claims that kisama is "more refined than temee".

However I've always thought that kisama is so-called the "worst" level (in other words a level lower than temee) so what exactly does the article mean when it says that kisama is more refined than temee?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Refinement is a reflection of the speaker, not the listener. While an opposing baron would use 「貴様」, a thug would use 「手前」.

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ic. i think you have put it nicely, thx =D –  Pacerier Aug 29 '11 at 10:37

I've also seen 貴様 used between brothers. 手前 is a word one most likely wouldn't use toward a brother.

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You mean "貴様" is used jokingly ? –  Pacerier Feb 25 '12 at 21:07
    
@Pacerier That's right. :) –  summea Feb 25 '12 at 22:20

If nothing else, /teme:/ is Tokyo (shitamachi) dialect, while /kisama/ is standard Japanese. Refinement doesn't necessarily correlate with politeness; "ignorant oaf" might be considered more refined than "top bloke."

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