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I don't understand Japanese Honorifics, please explain them sensei

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CraigerGamer

Member
Apr 24, 2014
2,953
1
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-san
Sempei
Sensai
-chan
-kun
Etc
Ect

I'm playing Persona 4 The Golden and I see a whole bunch of honorifics and I really don't know what to think of them. Do some show who is inherently the leader? Are they gender specific? Can one go from a -San to a -kun? Sometimes the honorific seems given out of respect, other times it's almost done to mock the person. I'd love to know more.

I know I could google all this but I thought I would get more subtle and specific answers asking GAF.
 

Lehow

Member
Oct 30, 2012
229
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-san
Sempei
Sensai
-chan
-kun
Etc
Ect

I'm playing Persona 4 The Golden and I see a whole bunch of honorifics and I really don't know what to think of them. Do some show who is inherently the leader? Are they gender specific? Can one go from a -San to a -kun? Sometimes the honorific seems given out of respect, other times it's almost done to mock the person. I'd love to know more.

I know I could google all this but I thought I would get more subtle and specific answers asking GAF.
san = formal one, kinda like Mr.

Sensei - Master/teacher

chan - really, really close friend(usually female, but sometimes used with males) or referring to a small child

- kun close male friend

senpai - your veteran in an organization/school

kouhai - your junior in an organization/school
 

Linkark07

Banned
Mar 1, 2012
6,097
0
515
-chan is usually used for kids or for girls.
-kun is for boys.
-san is genderless. It is a formal honorific.

This guide can help you understand more about Japanese honorifics.

And I have never understood why they keep honorifics on the Persona English dubs.
 

pashmilla

Banned
Aug 22, 2014
1,671
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Sorry to rain on the joke parade, but for a serious answer...

-san = Mr/Mrs
-senpai = someone in a position of seniority over you (e.g. boss, upperclassman)
sensei - a teacher. also used for doctors and learned people basically.
-chan = a friendly/familiar suffix used usually for girls
-kun = a friendly/familiar suffix used usually for boys
 

Frozenprince

Banned
Sep 26, 2013
31,943
0
0
-San is a common honorific usually used to impart respect towards an equal. It's a neutral honorific so you see it applied to everything and everyone. It's just a general way of being respectful to an acquaintance or a non-close friend. You'll see this one the most.

Senpai is an older classmate.

Sensei is teacher.

-Chan is a term of endearment, usually reserved for school aged kids or young women.

-Kun is a general equivalent for the male side.

-Sama is a respected elder.

The lack of Chi used in this thread disturbs me, bakaGAF.
 

ramyeon

Member
Dec 1, 2010
15,615
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Sorry to rain on the joke parade, but for a serious answer...

-san = Mr/Mrs
-senpai = someone in a position of seniority over you (e.g. boss, upperclassman)
sensei - a teacher. also used for doctors and learned people basically.
-chan = a friendly/familiar suffix used usually for girls
-kun = a friendly/familiar suffix used usually for boys
You don't call your boss Senpai.
 

sprsk

force push the doodoo rock
May 30, 2004
38,700
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saitama, jyapyaon
Sorry to rain on the joke parade, but for a serious answer...

-san = Mr/Mrs
-senpai = someone in a position of seniority over you (e.g. boss, upperclassman)
sensei - a teacher. also used for doctors and learned people basically.
-chan = a friendly/familiar suffix used usually for girls
-kun = a friendly/familiar suffix used usually for boys
This is correct. And just to clarify, since a lot of folks seem to miss this one--girls can be called -kun as well (usually in the workplace by people higher in the food chain structurally).

Also i would argue depending on circumstances, you could call a boss a sempai, but usually you dont.
 

dan2026

Member
Jul 10, 2012
11,222
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'Ore no kami ga nandatte!'

'That gentleman made a disparaging remark about my hairstyle. I will box his ears!'

Learn these OP, it could save your life.
 

MudoSkills

Member
Mar 2, 2014
1,671
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385
People are going to ignore whether or not you've used the correct honorific and instead turn this into a 'best girl' discussion.

You made this happen.
 

Walpurgis

Banned
Mar 12, 2015
8,911
0
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Here are some more educational examples on the use of "-chan" and "-sama" OP.

In this scenario, Romney-sama is using the suffix "-chan" on Obama as a way to show his endearment. Obama-chan replies to him using "-sama" as a way to show his respect. From this, we can glean that Romney fills the dominant role in this relationship. As you can see, this is much more deep and complex than English honourifics.
 

ramyeon

Member
Dec 1, 2010
15,615
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Yes, honorifics are capitalized. Just like Mr/Mrs

And it's usually Chie-Chan. (well Satonaka-San/Chan but naming conventions and all that).
I mean it really doesn't matter whether you capitalise Japanese honorifics or not since Japanese doesn't use a roman alphabet to begin with.
 
Here are some more educational examples on the use of "-chan" and "-sama" OP.

In this scenario, Romney-sama is using the suffix "-chan" on Obama as a way to show his endearment. Obama-chan replies to him using "-sama" as a way to show his respect. From this, we can glean that Romney fills the dominant role in this relationship. As you can see, this is much more deep and complex than English honourifics.
I've seen plenty of variations on this, but this is probably the most adorable one I've seen.

Also, good job on proper English spelling of "honourifics"
 

Darksol

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Aug 9, 2013
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I mean it really doesn't matter whether you capitalise Japanese honorifics or not since Japanese doesn't use a roman alphabet to begin with.
^ This.

Anyone with enough time to argue the semantics of romanization can probably afford the couple days it'd take to learn the kana :p
 
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