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13

Roman Jakobson famously said: "Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey." His point was that every language can sufficiently convey any idea that can be expressed in another language. The difference is that for each language there are some properties that must be specified when an idea is conveyed, even ...


9

友達 is kind of an odd case - it's a word in the process of fossilisation. 友 on its own is a valid word, albeit one with a distinctly archaic flavour. -たち was then added to make a collective plural (as Thomas Gross says, not a true 'more than one' plural, but instead a 'group described by this term' plural). Modern speakers, though, would always use 友達 in all ...


6

「~方」 (「~がた」), 「~達」, and 「~等」 have the same meaning as "et alia" or "and company" in English; you use it when you mean one person (any of the three suffixes) or animal (「~達」 and 「~等」 only) and all the others that are attending them (e.g. 「アマンダさん方」). 「~方」 is honorific and 「~達」 is neutral, but 「~等」 is deprecating or familiar and so should usually only be used ...


5

First, I am not sure that /ora/ really belongs in this category. Most dictionaries simply list it as a variant of /ore/. But /oira/ is pretty unanimously agreed to derive from /orera/, 俺 + 等 as you say, so I will stick to discussion of that one. (In any case, presumably whatever applies to /oira/ would also apply to /ora/ if indeed they were the same /-ra/.) ...


5

In informal settings, you might use あたし達, to your parents-in-law you might use 私達, and in business settings, you might use 我々 or 私共. It can depend on many things, including possibly your gender, but it doesn't generally depend on whether there is somebody of the other gender in the group you refer to. The Japanese plural marker 達 as well as ら and others ...


4

Adding to the previous answer, I feel that usage with the so-called Japanese pronouns is somewhat of a special case. For one, the plural cannot be implied without adding a suffix. 私, 彼, 彼女 and あなた alone never mean (approximately) we, they or the plural you. Secondly, I don't think adding ~達 or ~等 has the nuance of putting an emphasis on any one individual in ...


3

This doesn't relate to the necessity/appropriate-ness of when you use them necessarily, but it's related to the topic in general. So I'll post it. Note that there are several other ways to pluralize things, but their usage is very limited: ども: Used as a very humble plural. 広辞苑 cites 「私ども」and 「身ども」. I've heard of the former, but apparently 「身ども」 was ...


3

(This is my comment with small changes in wording.) Japanese have some suffixes for nouns which signify plurality such as たち, ら, and ども, and this might be referred to as “some kind of plural declension,” although showing plurality is not required grammatically like English. If your professor was talking about conjugating a verb according to the number of ...


2

Your final question is different from the one in the title. First, ~たち is not built-in. The noun 友 can appear on its own. See here for more information. Therefore, the answer to your last question is no. I want to mention though that ~たち, or suffixes such as ~ら, ~ども, etc. do not mark the plural in the strict sense, but rather an associative. An ...


2

Unfortunately I don't have a good answer, but I do have one fact to toss out there, since it doesn't look like anyone else has yet. A number of Japanese linguistics texts I've seen indicate that it's a fallacy that -たち and -ら are pluralizers. Rather, it's claimed that their meaning is qualitative rather than quantitative, and it's merely that most cases ...


1

When is it appropriate or necessary to use -たち or -ら? The suffixes are very appropriate when you're refering to a group of people, for example: 君達、お前ら. That's what a teacher would say to his students. In that case, it seems to me that ら is quite harsh. お前ら、なにしているのかい? (angry guy addressing a group of noisy youngsters) 君達には明るい将来があります! (schoolmaster ...



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