Name endings

Japanese, general discussion on the language
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Kyle_K
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Name endings

Post by Kyle_K » Sun 07.15.2007 10:22 pm

Hey, just registered about 5 minutes ago and had a little question about name endings. Let me explain what I mean.
I've been watching "Bleach" (japanese with english subtitles) and whenever someone's name is used they add an ending like "name-san" or "name-sama". The ending seems to have something to do with a person's relationship to whoever they're talking to but I'm not really sure. Can anyone explain this for me?

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clay
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RE: Name endings

Post by clay » Sun 07.15.2007 10:33 pm

This may be a little more than you want, but here is an article on this.
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chikara
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RE: Name endings

Post by chikara » Sun 07.15.2007 10:35 pm

-san is a title of respect added to both male and female surnames. It is similar to the English Mr and Mrs. -sama is also a title of respect but is more respectful than -san. Your observation that the title used has something to do with a person's relationship with whom they are speaking.

As an example if I am talking to one of my peers I would use -san but if I am addressing my boss I would use -sama.

Edit: Clay beat me to the post. Read the article in his link.
Last edited by chikara on Sun 07.15.2007 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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NocturnalOcean
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RE: Name endings

Post by NocturnalOcean » Sun 07.15.2007 10:38 pm

You are quite right about your "guessing".
The name-suffixes changes according to the standings/relationship between the speaker and listener.

A general outline can be something like this.

Sama: It is an honorable suffix which the speaker use to some that is of a higher standing than themselves, it shows great respect.
San: This is the most common suffixed used in Japan. It is a polite suffix. You can practically use it for anyone.
Kun: This is a suffix used by the higher standing person towards the lower one. Also used between same people of same standing. Most occasions it is used for boys, but you will also encounter it used for girls.
Chan: This is kind of similar to Kun. It is used from above to down, or between equal standings. It is a sign of familiarity. It is most often used for girls, but you will encounter it used for boys as well.

This is just a simple outline, there is more to it, but I think this is an okey start.
There are also more suffixes, but these are the ones you will encounter most often.

In Bleach, you will also hear Dono, as in Captain of first squad, Genryuusai-dono.
This is similar to Sama, a very polite suffix, used from below to above.
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keatonatron
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RE: Name endings

Post by keatonatron » Sun 07.15.2007 10:41 pm

-sama is really an over-the-top honorific title, similar to "lord" in English. I think the only place it is REGULARLY used is in the employee-customer relationship. When talking about your own boss, you would most likely use their title (position) as a name ender. (i.e. if you were talking about the head of the shop [tenchou] and their name was "Yamazaki", you would refer to them as "Yamazaki-tenchou" or simply "tenchou")

You can also use sama when talking to someone you've never met before, but it's pretty much never used with a regular acquaintance.

Anime is a bit more over-the-top than regular Japanese, so they probably use sama a lot.

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AJBryant
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RE: Name endings

Post by AJBryant » Mon 07.16.2007 12:35 pm

chikara wrote:
As an example if I am talking to one of my peers I would use -san but if I am addressing my boss I would use -sama.


I wouldn't suggest it.

You could come across as sounding sarcastic. I don't know anyone who uses "sama" for their boss.

Tony

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Yudan Taiteki
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RE: Name endings

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Mon 07.16.2007 2:39 pm

-sama added to someone's name or title is more or less archaic in the modern language. There are a few exceptions: (1) the speech of service personnel, particularly set phrases like "okyaku-sama" (2) very formal speeches, particularly awards (3) formal letters.
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