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I have two questions:

  1. What's the meaning of a phrase: 御用の向きとは? Is it a set expression? I found a few examples where it was ended with a question mark, in some cases preceded by addressing an interlocutor by his/her name. Is it always used that way?

Originally I found the phrase in a manga, it's said at the beginning of a new scene, so it's hard to provide the exact context. The situation looks like an audience, the speaker is saying the words to his host (and probably superior):

「小太郎様、御用の向きとは、」

After which the host speaks, offering him some wine.

2.What's the usage of うぬ in the meaning of "you"? Is it an obsolete form? Does it imply some difference of status between interlocutors?

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It would be better if you provide the context. It sometimes happens that the questioner parses the sentence wrong. –  sawa Apr 8 '12 at 17:28
5  
Welcome! Great questions, but it might be better to post them separately rather than in the same question. You're also more likely to get helpful answers if you provide the context. –  ジョン Apr 8 '12 at 17:30
    
Your best bet if you want an answer to your first question is to create a new question for it, editing this question to remove it from here. As you can see, we have a 100% answer rate here but I think your question has been overlooked because it doesn't follow the standard, agreed format for asking questions here. –  ジョン Apr 12 '12 at 18:26

2 Answers 2

2 - うぬ comes from the kanji (any my dictionary also shows ) which is a character for "self". has several readings including おのれ, おの, おれ and うぬ. They mostly are used to refer to yourself, but apparently can be used vulgarly to mean "you" (in the 2nd person). My dictionary says it as "Blockhead!".

I feel that any of these forms is mostly archaic and/or literary, but this is just my intuition speaking, so I'm not positive.

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What's the meaning of a phrase: 御用の向きとは?

go-yō means business. It is an honorific expression. muki, in this context, means desire or wish. And towa is grammar that is being used here to express a question. "What is it that you desire?" or "What is your business?". Depending of the fuller context, you may be able to simplify this to "What can I do for you?"

Is it a set expression?

Not really. All of the parts express a specific meaning and can be separated and used similarly in other expressions.

I found a few examples where it was ended with a question mark, in some cases preceded by addressing an interlocutor by his/her name. Is it always used that way?

This is due to towa. It has various usages, but here you may think of it as to (iu no) wa (nan desu ka).

What's the usage of うぬ in the meaning of "you"? Is it an obsolete form? Does it imply some difference of status between interlocutors?

unu is typically a pejorative term that used to insult the recipient. As such, it is not usually a matter difference of status. However, it sounds old and may also be used for this reason without necessarily including the pejorative sense.

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