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Japanese Masculine versus Feminine Language


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What most learners know about Japanese is that there are several speech levels ranging from high and refined to low and familiar. The sentences that end in "-masu" and "desu" that beginners learn are a neutral polite form that would be the most useful for foreigners without sounding overtly informal or on the other, too polite and stilted.

What most beginners do not know is that in informal or casual Japanese, there are differences in the language as spoken by men and women. The link below is for a very good website that explains the distinguishing features of masculine versus feminine speech (formal speech tends to be identical in among men and women; it's just the informal varieties that are different)

http://www.epochrypha.com/japanese/materials/genderspecific/

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  • 1 year later...

What most learners know about Japanese is that there are several speech levels ranging from high and refined to low and familiar. The sentences that end in "-masu" and "desu" that beginners learn are a neutral polite form that would be the most useful for foreigners without sounding overtly informal or on the other, too polite and stilted.

What most beginners do not know is that in informal or casual Japanese, there are differences in the language as spoken by men and women. The link below is for a very good website that explains the distinguishing features of masculine versus feminine speech (formal speech tends to be identical in among men and women; it's just the informal varieties that are different)

http://www.epochrypha.com/japanese/materials/genderspecific/

Wow! Thanks for this one!

When I started learning Nihongo, I had this book that also teaches students regarding usual expressions that the Japanese use, but only emphasizes on polite vs informal. It does not teach about masculine tone vs feminine tone.

So, I was surprised that in the outburst of "What?!?!?" or "What the?!?!" there is actually a feminine form for that. The book that I had used uses "Nandayo?" Meanwhile, in a website that I had read, it was also using "Naniyo?" that is commonly used among women, as "Nandayo" is said to be used among men.

And I suddenly remembered the usage of "Naniyo?" in Episode 7 of J-drama "Bitter Blood," and Kutsuna Shiori's character was asking "Naniyo?" in anger to Satoh Takeru's character.

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  • 2 months later...

As I have just completed Elementary Nihongo 1, I am not yet familiar with the masculine and feminine language.  It is most likely that I will be able to learn about the branching out of these languages once I start taking more advanced Nihongo lessons.  Our Elementary 1 class focused more on the neutral language.  I may ask about this once I decide to enroll in the next level.  Anyway, thanks for sharing the link.

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  • 7 months later...

Being in Japan, it's find of funny to see where the textbook lines blur.  I've heard and am friends with very feminine women who have the most masculine speech.  
We read that Order Form (命令形・めいれいけい)is widely used by men in textbooks and the like.  For example, 触るな!(さわるな) Don't touch me!  
Women use 'na' too.  邪魔するな、外人ちゃん is my favorite from the old women at the supermarket.  

There's also the girls that use 僕(ぼく)、俺(おれ)、and 君(きみ) to sound tough.  The other day, I watched a petite woman grab her boyfriend by the wrist and grumble, 「何も見たくねぇ。行くぜ!」(There's nothing I want to see.  Let's go) and I was a little shocked at how he obediently said, "Hai!" It was like a scene out of J-Drama or something.

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