-2

I searched for Japanese terms related to the English word "people" and discovered an impressive variety of terms to choose from! I'm curious about the differences between each term and the usage of each term in context with examples (beyond English dictionary definitions of course). Thank you!


人民{じんみん}

民族{みんぞく}

国民{こくみん}

民衆{みんしゅう}

人たち{ひとたち}

大勢{おおぜい}

人{ひと}

人々{ひとびと}

世間{せけん}

民{たみ}

人ごみ{ひとごみ}

他人{たにん}

庶民{しょみん}

みんな(さん)

各自{かくじ}

全員{ぜんいん}

何人{なにびと}

  • 3
    ちょっと自分で調べてみてから、わからないものだけ質問しはったら・・・ – Chocolate May 19 '18 at 1:25
  • @Chocolate 「しはったら」って関西弁ですか?「したら」って意味ですか? – Sweeper May 19 '18 at 10:18
  • @Sweeper はい、関西弁です。(「しはる」は「する」よりちょっと敬語っぽいやつ) – Chocolate May 19 '18 at 12:43
3

I don't mean to sound rude, but I think your question is too broad. Nevertheless, I'll try to answer it.

人民: This term can refer to “people in general”, “the body of citizens of a state or country”, “the people who live in a nation or country”, and “a native or naturalized member of a state or other political community”.

民族: Even though this term can be translated as “people”, it tends to be used to refer to “races” and “ethnic groups”.

国民: This term can refer to “people in general”, “the body of citizens of a state or country”, “the body of people who are citizens of a particular government”, “the people who live in a nation or country”, “a person who owes allegiance to that nation”, and “a native or naturalized member of a state or other political community”.

民衆: This term can be used to refer to “people in general”, “people in general considered as a whole”, and “the common people generally”.

人たち: This term is 人 with the pluralizing suffix たち attached to it. This term would come in handy if you have to explicitly state that there was more than one person. According to Chocolate the native speaker, unlike 人々, 人たち is always preceded by some modifier...as in 「あの人たち」「~で働く人たち」(×「そして人たちは~~」◎「そして人々は~」)

大勢: This term can be used to refer to “a large number of things or people considered together”, “a large gathering of people”, and “a vast multitude”.

: This term can be used to refer to “a human being”, “any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae characterized by superior intelligence, articulate speech, and erect carriage”, “all of the living human inhabitants of the earth”, “the complex of all the attributes--behavioral, temperamental, emotional and mental--that characterize a unique individual“, “a human body (usually including the clothing)“, “a grammatical category used in the classification of pronouns, possessive determiners, and verb forms according to whether they indicate the speaker, the addressee, or a third party”, “the force of workers available”, “a male person who plays a significant role (husband or lover or boyfriend) in the life of a particular woman“, “an adult male person who has a manly character (virile and courageous competent)“, “the generic use of the word to refer to any human being”, and “an ordinary man”.

人々: This term can be used to refer to “any group of human beings (men or women or children) collectively” and “people in general”.

世間: This term can be used to refer to “people in general considered as a whole”.

: This term can be used to refer to “the body of citizens of a state or country”, “the people who live in a nation or country”, “a person who owes allegiance to that nation”.

人ごみ: This term refers to “crowds of people”.

他人: The meanings attached to this term include “other people” and “strangers”. This implies that it refers to people who aren't friends or family members.

庶民: This term can be used to refer to “people in general”, and “a class composed of persons lacking clerical or noble rank”.

みんな: Even though it can be translated as “people”, examples seem to use it to mean “everyone”.

各自: This term can be used to refer to “a single organism”. Even though it can mean “everyone”, the implication is that each person in the group is being considered.

全員: The examples associated to this term strongly imply that this term refers to individuals making up a group.

何人: According to goo Dictionary, 何人 has the meanings of どういう人 (what kind of person/people), いかなる人 (any kind of person/people), and 何者 (what kind of person/people). This implies that the term refers to “people in general”.

Clearly, a number of these terms are synonyms. Now, I'm not a native speaker, so I am probably completely off the mark here. I hope some native speakers can help clear up a number of details!

  • 1
    何人: The examples containing this term indicate that you would use this when asking about the number of people <-- Nope... That's [何人]{なんにん}. The one in question is [何人]{なんぴと} ( dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/165988/meaning/m0u/なんぴと ) / [何人]{なにびと} ( dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/164566/meaning/m0u ). (We also have [何人]{なにじん}, btw) – Chocolate May 19 '18 at 2:05
  • @Chocolate: Oops! Thank you for bringing that to my attention! I better fix that! – Micheal Gignac May 19 '18 at 12:15
  • 1
    It might be helpful if you added that unlike 人々, 人たち is always preceded by some modifier... as in 「あの人たち」「~で働く人たち」(×「そして人たちは~~」◎「そして人々は~」) – Chocolate May 21 '18 at 1:57

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.