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A few questions especially on male and female speech

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A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby yellowboots » Sat 10.24.2009 10:58 am

After reading MInna No Nihongo Book I and II, I realize that the books have not taught users much on how to speak like a man or like a woman. I have some questions to ask. For example, looking at Book II 第20課の会話:
小林:夏休みは 国に 帰るの?
タワポン:ううん。帰りたいけど。。。。
    小林君は どう するの?
If I am not mistaken, the の at the end of the sentence is used by females to soften their speech. However, by looking at the picture, I am seeing two men instead! So what should it be for man?

My sensei also stressed that we should say:
ご両親
お酒
おすし
However, the ご and お are polite so should men use it when speaking informally?
May I also know what are more general speech patterns for males so that we don't sound like a female?

Lastly, this is not about the topic but how do you say, " I feel sad" in Japanese. I know how to say " I am sad" but what about " I FEEL sad"?

Thank you for your help.
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby NileCat » Sat 10.24.2009 12:23 pm

In Japanese, there exist some differences, between men and females, in their ways of speaking. However, there also exists a standard or a general way, which anyone can use.
All of your expamles above belong to the standard Japanese. I don't see any differentiation in terms of sex.

Lastly, this is not about the topic but how do you say, " I feel sad" in Japanese. I know how to say " I am sad" but what about " I FEEL sad"?

What situation would you like to use it in?
Literally translated, it's 私は悲しく感じる though, there are quite a few different expressions to mean "I feel sad" in Japanese. Your question seems to me that you'd like to know the nuances. If so, we need the context.
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby yellowboots » Sat 10.24.2009 2:47 pm

そうですか。 ありがとう。
May I also what is the purpose of "の" in the conversation between 小林 and タワポン?

For the other question, thank you for your reply. Now, I understand much better.
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby NileCat » Sat 10.24.2009 3:12 pm

Grammatically speaking, they are shortened forms of complete sentences.
国に帰るの(ですか)?
どうするの(ですか)?

Note:
Well, actually, strictly speaking, the correct answer is not that simple if you are a professional linguist. But I believe this logic is the most practical explanation in the modern usage.
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 10.24.2009 3:15 pm

yellowboots wrote:After reading MInna No Nihongo Book I and II, I realize that the books have not taught users much on how to speak like a man or like a woman. I have some questions to ask. For example, looking at Book II 第20課の会話:
小林:夏休みは 国に 帰るの?
タワポン:ううん。帰りたいけど。。。。
    小林君は どう するの?
If I am not mistaken, the の at the end of the sentence is used by females to soften their speech. However, by looking at the picture, I am seeing two men instead! So what should it be for man?


Strangely enough, の used in a *question* is used by both men and women, whereas の used at the end of a normal sentence is considered feminine. So 帰るの? is fine for men to use. A more "blunt" or "masculine" version of this would be 帰るんだ? but I would avoid this "extra" bluntness until you're sure it's OK to use.

My sensei also stressed that we should say:
ご両親
お酒
おすし
However, the ご and お are polite so should men use it when speaking informally?


You don't have to. But formality and politeness are not the same thing in Japanese. ご両親 is fine to use in informal speech because it shows respect to the person's parents. For お酒 and おすし, those are used so often with the お that I don't think it's considered particularly feminine, but you can drop the お if you want in informal speech. These are not showing respect to any person so it's not the same as ご両親.

May I also know what are more general speech patterns for males so that we don't sound like a female?


I would say the most important thing is not to drop だ, particularly when using よ -- that is, 先生よ is feminine, so you should say 先生だよ.
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby furrykef » Sat 10.24.2009 3:37 pm

yellowboots wrote:After reading MInna No Nihongo Book I and II, I realize that the books have not taught users much on how to speak like a man or like a woman. I have some questions to ask. For example, looking at Book II 第20課の会話:
小林:夏休みは 国に 帰るの?
タワポン:ううん。帰りたいけど。。。。
    小林君は どう するの?
If I am not mistaken, the の at the end of the sentence is used by females to soften their speech. However, by looking at the picture, I am seeing two men instead!


As Yudan said, the thing here is that it's a question. If it were a statement, then ending with just a plain の would be feminine; a male would probably use んだ. (I say "probably" because males do end with a plain の sometimes; don't ask me when, 'cause I sure as heck wouldn't know.) Both sexes would use んです or のです in polite speech, and in a question, I think one would use んですか (or のですか).

The usual nuance of の at the end of a sentence is to provide an explanation, so the usual nuance of using it in a question is to ask for an explanation. So the question 夏休みは国に帰るの? could be interpreted as something like, "Is it because you're going back to your country for summer vacation?". But I think -- I'm not sure -- that in questions it's sometimes just used as an informal question marker, since using か after a plain verb usually sounds rather rough and abrupt. (Can somebody comment on this?) If you're not seeking an explanation, you could just use no marker at all and end the question with 帰る?, though.

yellowboots wrote:My sensei also stressed that we should say:
ご両親
お酒
おすし
However, the ご and お are polite so should men use it when speaking informally?


Some words simply always take お/ご, such as お湯 or ごはん, then there are words that take them very often but not always, like お金, and then there are words where using them informally would likely be feminine (お電話 might be one of these). Wish I could tell you which words take 'em how often, but I don't know that either. :)

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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby JaySee » Sun 10.25.2009 12:26 am

furrykef wrote:But I think -- I'm not sure -- that in questions it's sometimes just used as an informal question marker, since using か after a plain verb usually sounds rather rough and abrupt. (Can somebody comment on this?) If you're not seeking an explanation, you could just use no marker at all and end the question with 帰る?, though.


This is correct. In fact, if I'm not mistaken it's (almost) exclusively used this way - I don't think の can really be used at the end of a question like above to ask for the confirmation of an explanation (i.e. as a substitute for 帰るからですか or something).
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 10.25.2009 10:01 am

JaySee wrote:
furrykef wrote:But I think -- I'm not sure -- that in questions it's sometimes just used as an informal question marker, since using か after a plain verb usually sounds rather rough and abrupt. (Can somebody comment on this?) If you're not seeking an explanation, you could just use no marker at all and end the question with 帰る?, though.


This is correct. In fact, if I'm not mistaken it's (almost) exclusively used this way - I don't think の can really be used at the end of a question like above to ask for the confirmation of an explanation (i.e. as a substitute for 帰るからですか or something).


No, but the んだ construction isn't exclusively for seeking explanations -- that's kind of a simplified explanation that makes it easier to understand a lot of the uses.

Typically if you use 帰るの? that should mean that there's some established evidence or knowledge for why you're asking the question -- e.g. the person is collecting their things. You have to be careful every so often when using this because it can have unwanted implications -- i.e. if you say 疲れてんの? it may sound like they look tired, which might not always be a polite thing to say.
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby astaroth » Sun 10.25.2009 12:07 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:i.e. if you say 疲れてんの?

Sorry Chris is んの a typo? or is there some deep meaning I don't understand? If the latter could you please explain how んの is used? Thanks
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby NocturnalOcean » Sun 10.25.2009 12:12 pm

astaroth wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:i.e. if you say 疲れてんの?

Sorry Chris is んの a typo? or is there some deep meaning I don't understand? If the latter could you please explain how んの is used? Thanks


It is a colloquial contraction of ている when の is followed. It's very common. Like : いま、何してんの?
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby Hyperworm » Sun 10.25.2009 12:26 pm

More generally, る→ん.
来んの?
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby astaroth » Sun 10.25.2009 12:57 pm

Thank you both.
Now I understand why sometimes I was hearing 天皇 at the end of questions ... :oops:
Hyperworm wrote:来んの?

Does the pronunciation remain the same as if it were 来る? That is, is 来んの pronounced くんの?
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby yellowboots » Mon 10.26.2009 2:09 pm

Thank you, I have now understood the の is used to replace ですか as Nile Cat has described.

I don't know where this thread is leading to and I am confused why we are talking about んの suddenly。 According to the 3rd book of Minna No Nihongo, this way of asking んですか has a interrogative and suspicious feel in it. I don't think this んです discussion is related to my question, right?
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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby furrykef » Mon 10.26.2009 2:29 pm

yellowboots wrote:I don't know where this thread is leading to and I am confused why we are talking about んの suddenly.


That's just 'cause threads almost always drift off-topic here. :mrgreen:

The reason んですか may be suspicious-sounding is because it seeks an explanation. Compare asking "What are you doing?" -- in English, it can have different shades of meaning depending on the social context and how you say it. If you ask your buddy, "Hey, what'cha doin' today?", it's a straight question and not really seeking an explanation, just a simple answer. But if you see him doing something strange, like pounding nails into a table, you might say something more like, "Um, what are you doing?" -- you actually know what he's doing, but you want an explanation for it. In this case, んですか may have a suspicious tone just like the English sentence might. But I don't think んですか is always suspicious.

I'll leave the question of whether の? and んですか? are the same thing to someone else, 'cause I'm really not sure. ^^;

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Re: A few questions especially on male and female speech

Postby astaroth » Mon 10.26.2009 2:40 pm

yellowboots wrote:I don't know where this thread is leading to and I am confused why we are talking about んの suddenly.

That was my fault, sorry.
I jumped into the thread because I was confused by Chris's use of んの which I learned it's just a conversational contraction of verb+の.
Again sorry for the thread drifting I generated.

As for the suspicious feeling mentioned in the MnN, I think it's because 〜のですか can have the nuance of asking something because there is an indication of it. For instance, 帰るのですか can be asked because you're seeing someone packing their stuff ...
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