Episode 4: Honorifics

Honorifics, known as keishou in Japanese, are similar to such titles as Mr., Mrs., and Miss in English. In English these are placed before the person’s name but in Japanese honorifics are placed after the name, which is why they are also known as suffixes for addressing people. Just as you would never call yourself Mr/Mrs/Miss in English, you would never refer to yourself with an honorific in Japanese. In this episode I am going to discuss the most common suffixes used today: -san, -sama, -chan, -kun, and -sensei.

Episode Topics:
Honorifics: -san, -sama, -chan, -chama, -kun, -sensei, -senpai, -shachou, -buchou, -heika, -hime

Kaa-chan Corner:
Topic: stereotypes of the different regions of Japan. (this conversation is mixed English/Japanese so it may be easier for beginners to follow along–feel free to comment with your stereotypes of the regions of Japan)

Vocabulary List:
a(n)mari – not much. (in casual spoken Japanese the n is voiced) あ(ん)まり
aru hazu – there must be. あるはず
dakedo okinawa de wa – but in Okinawa だけど沖縄では [だけどおきなわでは]
hondo: the (Japanese) mainland. 本土 [ほんど]
ippan teki – in general, generally. 一般的 [いっぱんてき]
kuyo kuyo – worry, be anxious. くよくよ
kyousou – race, competition. 競争 [きょうそう]
mieppari – care about one’s looks, vain. 見栄っ張り [みえっぱり]
nankuru nai sa – Okinawan proverb meaning que sera sera, whatever will
be will be and other translations we attempt in the conversation
(mainland Japanese: naru you ni naru sa) ナンクルナイサ
nonbiri – carefree. のんびり
nonki – carefree. 暢気 [のんき]
okinawa wa okinawa no hito ni totte – an Okinawan person’s point of view
of Okinawa. 沖縄は沖縄の人にとって [おきなわはおきなわのひとにとって]
omotemuki – publicly. 表向き [おもてむき]
risou teki – ideally. 理想的 [りそうてき]
shinpai – worry. 心配 [しんぱい]
yoku – do often. よく

Further Reading:
Honorifics entry at Wikipedia
Japanese Wikipedia entry on 敬称
How to Use Japanese Suffixes
Japanese Honorific Titles. When do you use Chan, Kun, San, Sama?

Episode transcript PDF (Japanese portion includes furigana) (interviews not transcribed)

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Episode 4 – Honorifics

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