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I know that second-person pronouns should generally be avoided from being used, but how exactly do I replace it?

Do I just reply the pronoun with someone's name? Or is the pronoun just completely taken out of the sentence, with no substitution, etc.?

For example: Could "Would you like some tea?" be changed to "Sarah, want some tea?", or "Want some tea?" You would take out the 'you' and perhaps replace it with someone's name.

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The use of Japanese is highly dependant on the context. In other words, whether or not the information is shared between speaker and listener is a key to select words. Identified information is usually omitted to reduce the redundancy.

  • Would you like some tea?" be changed to "Sarah, want some tea?", or "Want some tea?" You would take out the 'you' and perhaps replace it with someone's name

Yes, you are right. あなた or second person pronouns are normally omitted or replaced to the person's name, because it can be identifiable for both speaker and listener.

By using second-person pronouns, you can indicate the distance of you and who you are talking to. If you feel close or try to be friendly/nice to the person, second-person pronouns are avoided or replaced to his/her name. On the contrary, if you would like to make a distant to the person, you can intendedly use the pronoun.

About あなた, some women use it to call their husbands or partners. In this case, it is not always used to make a distant but express the affectionate feeling.

君{きみ} is basically used to someone who you are superior to, i.e. your assistants if you are boss. However, it feels cold and a bit offensive.

The best to sound nice/friendly/polite in a conversation is not using second-person pronouns. If you feel awkward to do so, you can call the person's name.

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    “The use of Japanese is highly dependant on the context. In other words, whether or not the information is shared between speaker and listener is a key to select words.” Is there any language in which whether or not the information is shared between parties is not a key to select words? In general, I am skeptical of the often-heard claim that the Japanese language depends on the context more heavily than other languages. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 11 '16 at 8:18
  • @TsuyoshiIto Hmm...'the use of pronouns in Japanese is more dependent on the context than of English' was a better way to say, perhaps? I wouldn't say that Japanese is the only language that is highly dependent on the context to select words. But, in the case of English, for example, the second-person pronoun 'you' is not normally omitted, i.e. would you like to have some tea?', 'Your brother broke the plate'. – nomithekid Jan 12 '16 at 4:50
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From what i remember from class, you have the right idea. Japanese is context heavy so if youre talking to one other person, no need for pronouns. If you want to ask the other person something, or if youre talking amongst others, you address the person with their name. eg "sarahさんはどう思う" means "sarah, what do you think?" but lets consider in two different situations. If we were talking, just us, the sentence places emphasis on you, ie "what do you think?" but if we were talking in a group of friends (think like at the mall) it would be a simple "what do you think, sarah?" This is what they call the contrastive use of は.

Regarding あなた and other pronouns, it is better to avoid using them since the pronouns also imply a lot. あなた is polite, but distal, so at the wrong times using it could be rude. 君 (きみ) implies a closer relationship, like friends or lovers, like a boyfriend talking to his girlfriend. あんた is informal and can be rude, I can only see it being used for friends talking to friends. てめえ is very rude and if you hear someone calling you てめえ it is grounds for getting very mad. I would rank it as a swear word.

I hope this is helpful since it is off the top of my head at 2am lol.

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    Could you go into a bit more detail about when and why it is inappropriate to use あなた? I've never completely understood in what situations it's rude to use it or why it would be rude in the first place. – Kurausukun Dec 16 '15 at 12:23
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    Why would you even mention てめえ? I'm certain no one would think of using without meaning offence. – Aeon Akechi Dec 16 '15 at 12:45
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Using second-pronouns is too direct of a way to address someone. Using someone's name as if you were speaking in third person allows for indirectness and is considered more polite. As a result, your sentence would then become something like, セーラ、お[茶]{ちゃ}ほしいの?

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