In this thread, I asked about how parents say "I" when talking to their children. I want to refine that question to specifically how fathers refer to themselves. My understanding is that fathers usually refer to themselves as パパ or お父さん when talking to young children, but that they switch to 俺 or お父さん some time later. Some questions about that:

1. Which is more common in general when they switch, 俺 or お父さん?

2. At what approximate age of the child might that change happen? In their teens? In their 20s?

3. Does the gender of the child ever influence how a father would refer to himself? i.e. using 俺 when talking to a boy and using お父さん when talking to a girl about himself.

4. Is the choice of personal pronoun influenced by whether you are in public or private? i.e. at home, the father says 俺 but in a public place with people around he chooses お父さん instead.

Any other observations would be appreciated.

1 Answer 1

  1. パパ, お父さん, 僕, and 俺 are used when the children are young. パパ is less used when they become adults. But お父さん, 僕, and 俺 are still used when they become adults. Switching their personal pronoun doesn’t always occur, but I think 僕 and 俺 rarely change to パパ and お父さん. パパ and お父さん has an air of viewing their children as kids, though many fathers call themselves パパ and お父さん even when their children become adults.

  2. It really depends on the family, but for example, it could be when the children start to go to elementary school, junior high school, high school, or university.

  3. Maybe more young girls call their fathers パパ, so some fathers call themselves パパ more often when they talk with their daughters.

  4. That occurs often. Some fathers and children think that it's embarrassing that they would be using パパ or お父さん. Similarly, in formal situations like an interview at school, fathers may use 私.

  • May I ask if you are a native speaker of Japanese?
    – kandyman
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 15:15
  • Yes. I'm native Japanese.
    – Yamacure
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 21:14
  • Thanks. Do you think fathers are more likely to use 僕 or お父さん with girls and 俺 with boys, assuming the children are not very young?
    – kandyman
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 21:31
  • Also, I was surprised to hear that fathers refer to themselves as 私 in public when talking with their children. I thought that basically never happened due to the familiar relationship. But I guess it makes sense to be formal in public, even if it is between father and child.
    – kandyman
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 21:33
  • If a father has only one child, the child’s sex often influences his personal pronoun. Fathers don't always change their personal pronoun, so they are more likely to use 僕 or お父さん with girls and 俺 with boys, assuming the children are not very young.
    – Yamacure
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 9:24

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