I often see claims that they are only used to people your own age or younger. But is that true, or an exaggeration based on the fact that you'd use more polite forms to someone older, usually? For example, could you use them speaking to your parents, with whom you'd use the plain form anyway?

  • Can this question be a bit clearer as even after reading the accepted answer, it can be somewhat unclear as to what you are asking. Changing the title to something like "Is using the sentence ending ...かい or ...だい related to the age of the listener?". Otherwise it may be interpreted as asking questions about the use of 回 or 代 that are unrelated. – The Wandering Coder May 29 '15 at 0:10
  • このスレッドは参考になりますかね・・・ japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/15723/… – Chocolate May 30 '15 at 6:01

They would sound pretty funny talking with your parents. In fact, a lot of Japanese people use ですます form with their parents.

There are a lot of regional dialects in Japan and that could influence their usage (though as you surmise age tends to be the most significant factor), but in this case I think they really are uncommon with younger 関東 people. Maybe なんだい...sometimes. そうかい... Hmm, yes, rare, even these cases is sort of like imitation/acting more than actual self.

  • I was more talking about an age difference between the speaker and listener. – Aeon Akechi May 28 '15 at 17:18
  • Well, my short answer to your question is then: no, not an exaggeration. – jhenn May 28 '15 at 17:23
  • "a lot of Japanese people use ですます form with their parents."? Really? I must be too young to have noticed that. – l'électeur May 29 '15 at 0:25
  • Not all the time, but especially after having left home and entering the real world, using 敬体 is not at all uncommon. – jhenn May 29 '15 at 0:34

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