Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jackie Chan and Jackie-chan

Lesson 4! Whew, finally moved on.
Some of you may be wondering about the title of today's post. After all, Jackie Chan doesn't really have much to do with anime (he does have a cartoon that has anime influences though, but that's not really an anime in the strictest sense). Well,I find his name to be a great example for today's lesson; you'll understand soon enough.

Today's lesson is on Japanese honorifics. Many translators leave Japanese honorifics intact since the English equivalents lose something in the translation. The following are common suffixes:
  • "-san": This is sort of the "generic" honorific, used to address people without adding any particular implication about your relationship.
  • "-sama": This honorific denotes respect, whether it is a personal respect or due to a higher social status 
  • "-sensei": This honorific is usually used to address or refer to persons of authority (teachers, politicians, doctors) or persons who have achieved a high level of achievement in a skill or art (painters, manga artists, novelists). Can be used as a stand-alone word.
  • "-kun": This honorific denotes familiarity and is usually attached to boys names.
  • "-chan":This honorific denotes a sense of "endearment" and is usually attached to girls names. 
  • "-sempai": This honorific denotes "seniority" in an organization. For example, all students in higher grade levels would be sempai. Can be used as a stand-alone word.
    • "Kohai": The opposite of sempai, a junior, but is typically not used as an honorific
  • " ": Addressing somebody outside one's immediate family without the use of an honorific implies the utmost intimacy and is otherwise extremely rude/insulting if such intimacy does not exist.
 So as you can see, there's a big difference between Jackie Chan and Jackie-chan. See you next time!

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