I recently noticed a Japanese comedian named お侍ちゃん. It indeed sounds funny. Why is it?

  • Inspired by the previous question. An exercise from me. – user458 May 30 '12 at 13:39
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    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say, "because of the connotations of the use of ちゃん?" – Jamie Taylor May 30 '12 at 14:12
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    Could you clarify by what you mean when you say "funny"? – Chris May 30 '12 at 16:19
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    To answer this question, I think you need to know what image/impression the word お侍さん conjures up. (@sawa-san, どうでしょ、この線で?) – user1016 May 30 '12 at 16:47
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    See: Incongruity Theory and Benign Violation Theory. This question does not seem to be directly related to Japanese language, language is incidental here. The main question is about the mechanism of humour. – Flaw May 30 '12 at 17:33

I am not a native, but I would make two guesses as to why it sounds funny:

1) It could be because ちゃん expresses that the speaker finds that person endearing. Since お侍 is a position that holds superiority, the use of ちゃん now becomes condescending and rude.

2) The other reason I can think of, is that in japanese the combination of お and ちゃん that I have seen are applied to the elderly while still holding the endearing quality such as おばあちゃん and おじいちゃん. Substituting 侍 in place could show that their still maintains a characteristic of being amicable between the person and speaker regardless of the 侍 title.

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    In the fedual Japan, samurai was among the highest social rank, and would usually require to be referred to in the polite form. As Chocolate mentions in the comment, the polite prefix お and the polite affix さん would naturally be used with it: お侍さん. On the other hand, ちゃん is a diminutive used for young child, girl, or something cute. Therefore, お侍ちゃん is a total mismatch or contradiction of politeness/cuteness. – user458 May 30 '12 at 17:49
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    Thanks, that clarifies it better. I also saw お侍様 someplace.. is this also a mismatch or acceptable? – Chris May 30 '12 at 17:59
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    That is better. 様 is even politer than さん. – user458 May 30 '12 at 18:00

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