Questions tagged [bikago]

美化語. Making words polite (美化 lit. "beautification") by adding the prefix 御 (お・ご) to a word.

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What's the difference between "gohan" and "meshi"?

In answer to my question on the difference between "gyūdon" and "gyūmeshi" I learned that "meshi" just means cooked rice. But I thought "gohan" meant cooked rice, so please, what is the difference? I ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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20 votes
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Honorific prefixes: 「ご」 vs 「お」

Some nouns take the 「ご」 prefix: ご両親 {りょうしん} ご家族 {かぞく} ご無事 {ぶじ} ご安心 {あんしん} ご丁寧 {ていねい} While many others take the 「お」 prefix: お母さん お仕事 {しごと} お月 {つき}さま お家 {うち} お客 {きゃく} In general,...
Lukman's user avatar
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13 votes
3 answers

Why is water polite but ice not?

I was amused by, and interested in, this little sign on a water dispenser in a sandwich shop: The options are that you can have ice only, ice and water, or just water. What intrigued me was that ...
Questioner's user avatar
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10 votes
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Why is the honorific o used for the bathroom?

I've seen the honorific "o"/"go" (is it called bikago?) being used as politness or reverence: o-cha for non-western tea, o-namae when talking about someone else's name, o-genki instead of just genki, ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
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9 votes
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How often does gairaigo (外来語) get bikago (美化語)?

How often does gairaigo get bikago? おトイレ is mentioned by Wiktionary, and Wikipedia mentions it being used ironically in o-kokakōra, but I haven't come across any others. One case where its absence ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
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9 votes
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Why does お[馬鹿]{ばか}さん contain honorific お?

Why does お[馬鹿]{ばか}さん contain an honorific? If you're basically calling someone silly, why be "polite" about it? Also, what is the difference in meaning between お馬鹿さん and just 馬鹿 (I hear the former ...
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6 votes
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does anyone know of any o-words or go-words which are absolutely neutral?

Does anyone know of any o-words or go-words which are absolutely neutral (have no nuances of being polite / courteous / respectful / womanly / cute etc etc)? The only ones I'm aware of currently is ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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6 votes
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Terminology: Does the term 美化語 include all ご・お・etc. prefixes, or only ones outside of a 敬語 context?

This seems like a basic question, but I can't find an answer to it: As far as I know, 美化語 refers to the ご・お・etc. prefix on words for mere beautification. However, I have seen some ambiguity in its ...
Sam's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer

Are all words stripped of bikago when listed in dictionaries?

When checking dictionaries ( and Wiktionary) for お名前, I found that it wasn't listed as お名前, but only as 名前. Do most dictionaries strip bikago from all words, or do they typically strip bikago ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
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3 votes
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Which nouns can use 美化語{びかご}?

Whether a noun is [サ変名詞]{さへんめいし}, or not, is an attribute that is specified in the dictionary definition of nouns. "Possible to use 美化語{びかご}" surely should be an attribute of a noun? But, I ...
davewp's user avatar
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2 votes
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Can the honorific o be used in front of all nouns?

Can the honorific o be used in front of all nouns? I was thinking of sentence structures and wondering if o could be placed in front of all nouns. Thank you.
Jack Bosma's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer

What is the function of "o"?

Why do people have to add "o" to "namae" like "Onamae wa?"
kikita123lion's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer

(美化語)なさい - sound

The difference between (連用形)なさい and (美化語)なさい is rather clear; the first would only be used for social inferiors, and the second can be used for social superiors (it's also part of set expressions ...
Angelos's user avatar
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On the topic of 美化語 (Refined Language), are there any websites that list words that take お〜, ご〜 or neither?

I'm just wondering, because I think it would be helpful to know which words should be prefixed with お〜, which words should be prefixed with ご〜, and which words should not be prefixed with either of ...
Micheal Gignac's user avatar