7

I.e. for a group of guys, you have: 彼たち、かれら

and for girls it's: 彼女たち 彼女ら

So if you have a mixed group, which one should you go with? Is there a different word?

  • 3
    A bit more context would be useful. In a completely general sense, you could say ひとたち or 人々{ひとびと}. But that might sound strange if you're meaning a particular group of individuals. Keep in mind that Japanese doesn't really have pronouns and is more likely to use a noun to refer to an entire group. For example, if you're talking about employees, you might just say 会社員 and repeat it where in English we'd default to a pronoun. Give us a clearer context and we'll be able to point you in the right direction. – A.Ellett Jul 28 '16 at 3:52
  • 2
    彼たち is not a word (unless it means boyfriends), only 彼ら is correct. – user4092 Jul 28 '16 at 7:52
  • 「彼ら」 can be gender-neutral when referring to a group of mixed sexes (It could be argued that 「彼ら」 is by definition a neutral pronoun.), but may sound politically incorrect to sensitive ears. – goldbrick Jul 28 '16 at 8:35
4

For a group where men are majority ("majority" means they are representative or typical members), use 彼ら. Where women are majority, use 彼女たち or 彼女ら. For unspecified mass that you don't care about its internal composition, 彼ら is the default option.

If you've already mentioned a principal member of the group in the context, the most natural way is to follow his/her gender.

It doesn't produce any grammatical difficulty, because Japanese "plural" X-たち actually stands for "(an) X and its kind/company", thus doesn't imply every member shares the exactly same features that X has. (If X is a common noun, it's highly inclined to be interpreted just like English plural, but doesn't eliminate "X and others" reading, neither.)

In more casual speech we have genderless words to use: (こ/そ/あ)の人たち and (こ/そ/あ)いつら (rude).

Last but not least, have second thought before you're going to use "they" in Japanese. Pronouns only for keeping the subject's place are usually useless in Japanese. If you need to disambiguate them from others, best use the word you've previously used to call them once more.

6

For a group made up of both men and women, you can use "彼ら."

For example,

現代の若者たち、私には彼らの心理が解らない。
Today's youth, I cannot understand their psyche.

行楽地は中国人の男女で一杯だ。彼らの行動力も購買力も凄い。
The resort places are full of Chinese men and women. They are surprisingly active and demonstrate an enormous purchasing power.

番組は集団お見合いに参加した男女の姿を伝えたが、彼らはいずれもパーティーの雰囲気を十分楽しんでいるように見えた

The program portrayed men and women participating in a group marriage arrangement party, they all appeared to be fully enjoying the atmosphere of the party.

Of course you can say "彼らや彼女ら"、but it sounds redundant.

6

I think we use the words of status and relationship with speaker than a pronoun when you call a group.

For example, 先輩たち、先生たち、高校の友達、近所の人たち、etc. And we also use a person name of the group like 田中さんたち、鈴木さんたち.

In addition 彼ら can be used irrespective of gender but if you want to make clear a group is mixed man and woman, you can say 彼、彼女ら(たち)は.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.