Questions tagged [honorifics]

Affixes, particles and conjugations applied to words to mark respect.

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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,...
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What is the correct usage of 承知しました, 了解です and かしこまりました, the more formal forms of 分かる?

At work, it is wrong to simply say 分かる to say that you understand something. In what situation should I opt to use one of the previously mentioned forms?
18
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2answers
601 views

Is the title ~[殿]{どの} used in modern day japanese?

Is the title ~[殿]{どの} used in modern day Japanese? If so, which people can you use it with? I've only really seen it come across in referring to [大]{だい}[名]{みょう} (feudal lords). Also it is applicable ...
17
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7answers
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When should one add さん at the end of a name?

I've heard some names pronounced with 〜さん added to them (such as 佐々木さん) and some without it. I believe it is related to respect or the age of the person named. What would be the guidelines or general ...
17
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4answers
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Appropriate ただいま-like greeting for a neighbor?

I frequently pass by an elderly neighbor who lives in the same apartment when coming home from a dog walk. He's kind of an in-house carpenter for the building and is frequently seen around the garage. ...
16
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1answer
431 views

General applicability of the ~ませ conjugation

I have only found the ~ませ conjugation used in the following honorific verbs: いらっしゃいませ くださいませ なさいませ Can the conjugation be applied to other honorific verbs, like おっしゃいませ or めしあがりませ? Or even common ...
14
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2answers
321 views

The use of -さん when answering about oneself

If someone says, あなた は Chris-さん です か。 Are you Chris? Do you answer Chris です Or Chris-さん です
14
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1answer
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If my business card says 〇〇さん, does that mean I'm referring to myself with an honourific?

My company (a Japanese startup) issued me a set of business cards. The information on the card is almost entirely in English. Except for the company address, the only other bit in Japanese is「ムルさん」in ...
13
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3answers
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When shouldn't I use 「〜さん」when referring to a third person?

In In actual Japanese society, how often are second-person pronouns used?, the accepted answer says: You can either refer to a person by the name like 山田, which is not (particularly) polite, or ...
13
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3answers
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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 ...
12
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4answers
760 views

Is the use of 先生 and similar titles context sensitive?

While it is generally safe to use -さん when taking to someone and the use of -先生 is appropriate for use in a school environment when talking to a teacher, would the use of -先生 carry over outside of the ...
12
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1answer
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What does 氏 mean after a name, how is it different from さん or 様?

If you look in the dictionary for the definition of 氏 you'll find it defined as: family name; lineage; birth. However I have seen it used in such a way that it is doubtful that it means any of those ...
12
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3answers
423 views

Is it appropriate to use [先生]{せんせい} when addressing a ski instructor?

Is it appropriate to use [先生]{せんせい}, either by itself or as an honorific after their name, when addressing a ski instructor? I'm not sure whether it'd be appropriate because: Using 先生 in this ...
12
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1answer
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Do all verbs have an honorific and humble form?

I was reading about this phenomenon in a few places and saw, for instance, this table of transformations and substitutions for various verbs. Is it only these common verbs which change, or do all ...
12
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1answer
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Usage of お+[verb stem]+する for humble form and お+[verb stem]+になる for honorific form

Apart from using verb-specific humble and honorific versions (e.g. 参る < 行く < いらっしゃる), the general method of turning a verb into humble is by using お+[verb stem aka 連用形]+する while the general ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Is -さん used when referring to a celebrity or historical figures?

When referring to a celebrity or historical figure, do you use -さん? I am listening to Yoko Shimomura. Would it be:"下村陽子さんを聞いている。"? Abraham Lincoln is my favorite president. Would it be: "...
11
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5answers
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Using Japanese honorifics with non-kana names

Some Japanese websites have no problem addressing me as Amandaさん, but how common is this in human-produced Japanese? Under what circumstances would someone refer to someone else as Amandaさん, בועזくん, ...
11
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1answer
1k views

How to invoke God/spirits in Japanese

No, this is not about any Buddhist chant or mantra that can be used to call forth Japanese gods or heavenly spirits, but rather about any specialized words or interjections that attract attention of ...
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3answers
2k views

Are honorifics used for dead people?

Are honorifics used for dead people? For example, would チンギス・カン have something after the name (presumably not just a mere さん!) when you're not referring to the dish?
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2answers
2k views

Is there a kanji term for "-san" when used to address someone?

All other titles, used when addressing someone, have a kanji character. Was/Is there a kanji term for -san?
11
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4answers
434 views

When is a person referred to with 様 in the mass media and what does it signify?

In media like TV and newspapers, it appears certain classes of people can be referred to with the honorific "様": The Imperial family: 皇太子殿下と美智子さま The Crown Prince and Michiko-sama ...
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3answers
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芸能人・スポーツ選手・公人に「さん」などの敬称を付けなくてもよい理由は?

Reasons for omitting titles like 'さん' after names of entertainers, performers and public figures 「記者ハンドブック 新聞用字用語集」によると、 運動、芸能欄などのスポーツ選手、芸能人には敬称をつけない [出典] そうです。新聞以外のメディアや、...
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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, ...
10
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3answers
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What honorifics are used with nicknames?

What honorifics, if any, are used with nicknames? For example, would Matz-san (for Yukihiro Matsumoto) make sense (at least coming from someone new to Japanese), or would the mixture of the slightly ...
9
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1answer
384 views

Looking Up Whether 御 Is Read お or ご

Is there a good way to look up whether a 御 prefix is お or ご for a word? I know there is the Chinese origin versus Japanese origin thing (mentioned here). But is there a way to look up for a certain ...
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4answers
414 views

Can a sonkeigo verb be used with an inanimate subject? / 尊敬語は無生物主語に対して使えますか?

As a background, consider this question: “is this sentence correct 会議は三時からでいらっしゃいます.?” My initial thought was like this: A sonkeigo (尊敬語) verb is used to show the speaker’s respect toward the ...
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2answers
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「様」vs「殿」, which is more respectful?

Ammy claims that 殿 is more respectful than 様: 様 -sama: a respectful honorific used for those of a higher social standing 殿 -dono: even more respectful than -sama, less likely to be ...
8
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1answer
973 views

Is the honorific postfix -氏{し} usually used towards men?

Is using the honorific postfix -氏{し} usaged biased towards men or is it equally appropriate to be used for women as well? Building from this excellent answer about honorifics: What does 氏 mean after ...
8
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1answer
397 views

What should I say when a senior colleague is leaving before me?

When leaving before a senior colleague does, people say お先に失礼します, and the senior employee responds お疲れ様でした or ご苦労様でした. お疲れ様でした is also usually said when a colleague of the same seniority is leaving. ...
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2answers
691 views

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 ...
8
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1answer
224 views

Is it normal to put さん after an internet handle?

Is it ok to put さん after an internet handle, such as a twitter name or a username? My suspicion is that you'd avoid adding さん if it'd confuse the software, and that addressing someone by their ...
8
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2answers
185 views

When to use -さん after an occupation?

When do you use さん after a occupation? For example, would you say "札幌に行って、プログラマーにあいます" or "札幌に行って、プログラマーさんにあいます" to say "I am going to Sapporo, and meeting some programmers?" Is it used to indicate ...
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2answers
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can one ever say "おいかがですか?"

I have almost always added 美化語{びかご} to "いかが" (making "おいかが"). However, a native speaker just told me that "おいかが" sounds unnatural. I'd like to double check this. Is it ever natural to add 美化語 to "いかが"...
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4answers
670 views

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 ...
7
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2answers
567 views

謙譲語{けんじょうご} nouns such as 弊社{へいしゃ}, etc

As explained in the thread titled "Can 美化語{びかご} create implied subjects?", in a very, very limited number of circumstances a noun could be upgraded to pseudo-尊敬語 by using 美化語 (such as ご気分{...
7
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2answers
533 views

When do you use -san about a company?

I assume you don't -san about the company or organization that employs you, on the grounds it'd be akin to using it about your own family members. But when is it usually used? Is it merely when you'...
7
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2answers
984 views

What are appropriate situations where you use 何卒 to end a formal correspondence?

Good day! I've seen some emails ending with 何卒宜しくお願い致します but I was wondering if it just raises the respect/politeness of a letter or does it have specific situations where it should/shouldn't be use? ...
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2answers
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How rude is it to speak to a Japanese stranger informally instead of using the polite form?

Are there any native Japanese here that could tell me how rude it is to speak informally to Japanese people I have never met instead of using the polite form? I'm assuming it's more rude the older the ...
7
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1answer
607 views

おる in honorific contexts

Usually, we're told that おる is a humble verb, and that mostly holds true. But sometimes I see it conjugated to a light honorific form おられる, usually when talking about someone to whom respect must be ...
7
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3answers
705 views

How many times should 「お」 and 「ご」 be used in a sentence?

In this Chiebukuro question about whether it should be ご心配無用 or 心配ご無用, one answerer says the following: 「ご」とか「お」で丁寧とか尊敬とかを表す場合、 一番最後のものにだけつけておけば 全体にかかると言われているようです。 たとえば 「住所氏名年齢職業を”お”書きのうえ」...
6
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1answer
660 views

Does 「拝見ありがとうございます」 ever make sense?

I have seen this used on a Japanese site by at least two native speakers, usually attached to the end of the post to mean "Thank you for reading". The phrasing simply doesn't make sense to ...
6
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1answer
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Prefix お for names - how is it used?

I recently watched a Japanese drama titled 「おせん」. The title comes from the first name of the main character - the character's name is 半田{はんだ}仙{せん} who is a young お上{かみ} of a traditional restaurant. ...
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2answers
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For verbs with irregular humble/honorific forms, are the regular forms still used?

There are verbs with irregular humble forms, e.g. the humble form of 借りる is 拝借する. For these verbs, are the "normal humble conjugations" still used, or considered grammatical? Would お借りする be ...
6
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2answers
2k views

けっこんしていらっしゃいますか or けっこんなさっていますか

I was doing an exercise in which you are supposed to change questions into honorific expressions (Genki II second ed, pg. 175 Ex. C.9.) when I stumbled upon a question which had an answer that seems ...
6
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2answers
590 views

Why do Japanese businessmen use 「さん」 even with うち names in meetings with foreigners

I noticed that many Japanese businessmen tend to address the colleagues they are traveling with, or even introduce themselves as ◯◯◯さん. This would clearly be a faux-pas in a Japanese-only meeting, yet ...
6
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1answer
970 views

When is 博士 (hakase) used as honorific?

According to wikipedia, 博士 (hakase) is used as honorific when addressing some academics: Sensei (先生、せんせい) [...] is used to refer to or address teachers, doctors, politicians, lawyers. [...] The term ...
6
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1answer
160 views

How does a single verb construct work when it has both honorific and humble auxiliaries?

An example textbook sentence: かかるついでに、見たてまつり給はむや How about looking at him (Genji) on this occasion? たてまつる is humble auxiliary, 給ふ(給う) is honorific. Does this reflect a relationship between 3 ...
6
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3answers
679 views

What are the differences between なさる and される?

I noticed なさる and される are both used as 尊敬語. What are some of their differences? How do I know when to use each one?
5
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2answers
193 views

How would one refer to someone else's lover in 尊敬語?

I've searched the internet, but can't really find anything. My first thoughts were お恋人 and お付き合いの方, but the first doesn't seem very common, and the latter seems to have a different meaning.
5
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1answer
850 views

Can さん or 君 be used on animals?

In Mikan Enikki, the protagonist cat was referred to as ネコさん when his name was not known (e.g. Kikuko Kusanagi called him as such when she didn't know his name), and as みかん君 when someone else talked ...