I'm finding various characters using ろうじんご in various works, and I'm trying to understand what are its characteristics; for example, わし for "I", じゃ/じゃろ as sentence-ending, のう I think like a vocative/emphasis marker (like here).

I'm trying to understand what are its characteristics and/or to find sources about it, but as for now I didn't find anything besides questions about single words (like this about わし).

So I wanted to ask what are its characteristics (if it makes sense to cover the topic as an answer here), or does anyone know sources explaining it?

  • Is roujingo distinct from the Japanese that was spoken when current roujingo speakers were young?
    – kiyopi
    Commented Apr 20, 2022 at 16:12
  • What do you mean by characteristics?
    – sundowner
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 6:41
  • 1
    @sundowner what are its differences from the normal language? Like じゃ instead of だ, のう as vocative/emphasis, ぬし for "you", and so on; when I hear a character speak it's quite characteristic it, but I'm having trouble in finding those differences.
    – Mauro
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 8:59
  • 1
    Possible reference to resource (or lack thereof) blog.gurPossible resource (or lack thereof). I think in most cases roujingo is made from simply replacing as per the list given in Angelos's answer.
    – sundowner
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 10:18
  • 1
    Seems like I messed up something. This is the link blog.gururimichi.com/entry/2018/06/20/192112
    – sundowner
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 10:55

2 Answers 2


I see that there's a 老人語 article on the Japanese Wikipedia, discussing some of the fictional and real-world instances of 老人語. There is also a list of characteristically 老人語 words.


Cursory answer as far as aspects I'm familiar with

~ておる、~とる for ~てる、~ている

ぞ、わ、ぞい、わい、な、のう sentence ending particles

~じゃ as copula for だ, じゃろ・じゃろう for だろ・だろう

ワシ as first-person pronoun

~ん negative rather than ~ない

~かね、~かい、~だい interrogatives

ですな、ますな、ですぞ、ますぞ occasionally in polite speech

お主 second-person pronoun

~でない directly following a verb in dictionary form as negative command

This is not an exhaustive list and many of these are not exclusively roujingo, but many of these will be indicative of a fictional character's advanced age

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