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11

As you suspect and Nathan writes, softening the nuance may be one factor, but there is another factor. Without o-, the underlying form is te-araw-, which ends with a verb stem araw (later, the epenthetic vowel i is inserted, and wi changes to i , which is not crucial). Even though a verb stem can be used as a noun, it is often not stable as a noun. Addition ...


11

I think that the お and ご prefixes are included when the resulting word has been lexicalized and is no longer simply a combination of the prefix and the bare word. For example, I see entries for おやすみ, おにぎり and ごはん in 大辞林. I think these words were originally combinations of お and ご with 休み, 握り, and 飯(はん), but the combinations became words in their own right, ...


8

Most generally: Words of Chinese (On-yomi) origin take ご Words of Japanese (Kun-yomi) origin take お If I recall correctly, there are also a very few chinese-origin words which take お as they are very commonly used, but I can't think of any of these off the top of my head. Edit: One such example is お電話.


7

お馬鹿さん isn't "idiot"; it is softer, more like "silly". Also note the -san suffix. If a little boy named Daisuke is looking for his cap, while actually wearing it, you could say, 今日、大ちゃんは ちょっと お馬鹿さんになってきた、ね! 灯台もと暗し This is soft compared to something abrupt like おまえが馬鹿だよ! There is a need in language to have a soft way to say "silly". This is not to say that ...


5

Do you mean o-cha instead of o-chai? Also, 'o' can definitely be used with "o-tearai". For the longest time, I had only heard it said that way and didn't realize you could drop the 'o'. In the case of o-tearai, as in other cases, it is being used to make the utterance more polite. The talk about holiness in the first link is kind of distracting from the ...


5

I've heard that rice (when cooked and not being used in a curry) has the honorific ご in ごはん because it is an essential item, i.e. something you can't live without. Perhaps the same is true of water. Ice, on the other hand, is not an essential, and presumably wouldn't have had enough time in the language to get any honorific prefix anyway. Edit: I probably ...


5

Just conjecturing but based on: tendency for longer expressions to sound more polite みず is two morae こおり is three morae こおり is "one mora more polite" than みず. お in おみず makes it three and so it compensates for being short and abrupt. Also it could just be a rather simple reason being that in isolation, おみず has a higher occurrence than みず and こおり has a ...


5

The reason is fairly simple, but probably not going to going to be as pattern based as you would hope. お[水]{みず} is an example of a segment of Japanese known as [美化語]{びかご}, this is more or less means being more polite by using a nicer sounding word. Some example of this are [食]{た}べる instead of [食]{く}う [美味]{おい}しい instead of [旨]{うま}い お[昼]{ひる} instead of ...


4

Here is a list of neutral o- and go- words: お手玉 'small bag for juggling' おみくじ 'written oracle' お冠 'being angry' [Not crown] お目玉 'being angry' [Not eye ball] お新香 'pickle' おにぎり 'rice ball' [Not sushi] おむすび おこぼれ 'something positive gained (unexpectedly) from someone else' [Not falling off] お裾分け 'a portion given away' お下がり 'used thing ...


4

I do not know what you mean by “absolutely neutral (have no nuances of being polite / courteous / respectful / womanly / cute etc etc).” Saying お茶 (おちゃ) is definitely more polite to the listener than saying 茶 (ちゃ). The same applies to お冷 (おひや) in Dave M G’s answer: it is a polite form of a rarer word 冷 (ひや; often written as 冷や). ご in ご飯 (ごはん) cannot be ...


4

おタバコ is heard all the time when restaurant staff asks you if you need a seat where you can smoke. おタバコはお吸いになりますか Do you smoke? おビール, おソース, おタオル I've heard as well, but less often. I would say that 美化語 on 外来語 is not a phenomenon correlated with teenage girls, on the contrary. It strikes me as something that mainly elder women say when trying to sound ...


3

Some people use おコーヒー. Both おトイレ and おコーヒー sound like words used in a certain idiolect to me, and their use is not limited to teenage girls, but I do not know exactly what kind of people use these words.


2

御法度【ごはっと】 - contraband, taboo 御難【ごなん】 - misfortune, calamity


2

お[冷]{ひや} for a "cold drink of water", at a restaurant, is one. As an updated answer to your updated question, お冷 doesn't become a different word or a non-word if the お is omitted. I don't think that circumstance exists. However, having wondered myself if 冷, by itself, would be understood in a restaurant context, I've tried it and can say from experience ...


1

Bikago does not seem to have much relation with gairaigo. I think what you really meant is "how often are gairaigo used as euphemism?" From your examples, I feel that. And if that is your question, I think the answer is, quite often.


1

Back in the 80's, baka! as an expletive was a vulgar swear word. A Diet member used it on another politico on TV and I still remember the public outrage. Of course, no one said 'it sucks' on American TV either back then. A better definition of baka would be sh*thead not 'fool'. As for the honorific, remember that Omae (you) is both a fighting word level ...



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