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I have heard—though not often—people refer to themselves using their first name, not by using a pronoun for "I." Does this have special connotation in Japanese? Nothing about the usage (to me) seemed particularly unusual. In English, this would admittedly come across as being very weird.

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This is called illeism, the tendency in some individuals to refer to themselves in the third person. — illeist, n. –  user63189 Apr 14 at 12:34

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Yes, young children and young women often refer to themselves by their first name. There is the notion that it is cute and women will use it when talking to close family members, etc. If an adult male would use it, it would sound very effeminate. Also, when an adult women uses it, some people consider that she is trying to look cute on purpose and be turned off by it.

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In support of the last sentence of this answer here's an interesting discussion (in Japanese) I was reading a few days ago about this. –  ジョン Apr 30 '12 at 23:51
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Well this is also a case of trying to be indirect. It applies most often when talking about others. –  Ian May 1 '12 at 0:55
    
@Ian What do you mean "when talking about others"? This question is about using your own name to refer to yourself, and I don't believe this to be a case of trying to be indirect at all. –  ジョン May 2 '12 at 0:33
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@ジョン i mean in place of using a "you" pronoun. For example it is very rare to hear あなたは~ですか patterns and is even considered rude in many cases. However ジョンさんは~ですか like patterns are very common even mid conversation with that person. In the same way one might replace an "I" pronoun with their own name in order to indirectly state things about themselves. –  Ian May 2 '12 at 5:19
    
@Jesse Btw, adult would be ~18, ~20, or ~25? –  Pacerier May 10 '12 at 18:46

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