In fiction, I've occasionally seen humble language used for other people - it seems to be an insult, and is most common as a command (申せ!). Is my perception correct, and is the insult sense restricted to verbs that don't follow the お(連用形)する・いたす form? (I assume, of course, that this is more common in the past and fiction than present real Japanese.)

  • 2
    Any reason you are calling 「申せ」 an insult?
    – user4032
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


謙譲語 was used like this when the speaker was clearly much higher than the listener (... well, at least in fiction). For example, a governor would say to their people,「こちらに参れ」, 「早く申せ」, 「~と存ぜよ」, 「そのように致せ」, or 「ありがたく賜れ」.

These are (sometimes) called 尊大語 (arrogant expression?), and insult is usually not intended. I think these were natural wordings between two people with different social status in those days.

Of course, these are almost never used today (except when a joke is intended).

  • 相手の行為だから卑下語じゃないですか?自分の行為なら尊大語ですけど。「くれてやる」「(退治してやるの意味で)退治してくれる」とか。
    – user4092
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 3:20
  • どうなんでしょう。「自分に尊敬語を使う(オレ様、とか)」のと「相手に謙譲語を使う」のは両方尊大語だ、とする意見は見たので(sometimes付きで)そう書きましたが、公式な定義みたいなのを見たことはないです。
    – naruto
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 5:11

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