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Uses for かしら

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Uses for かしら

Postby Cyborg Ninja » Sat 01.08.2011 8:34 pm

The word is used to mean the top of the head and "I wonder." But I feel it has other meanings too, or can be used in many common phrases that give it a slightly different meaning. Can you list some here and their translations?
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Re: Uses for かしら

Postby Ongakuka » Sat 01.08.2011 10:00 pm

It has exactly the same meaning/use as かな (at the end of a sentence) and I cannot think of any other meanings it might have, though its translation into English may depend on the context of the sentence. かしら as you may know is generally used by females all though in certain parts of Japan it is common for males to use the word also.
なぜなら、おまえは・・・・・・人形だ
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Re: Uses for かしら

Postby Cyborg Ninja » Tue 01.11.2011 5:36 pm

Thanks for the reply. I just found out that kashira can also mean "chief." Do men in Tokyo use "kashira" as in "ka na" at all?
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Re: Uses for かしら

Postby Ongakuka » Tue 01.11.2011 8:34 pm

I just found out that kashira can also mean "chief."


Yes, the word 'kashira' which uses the kanji meaning head, 頭 , is used to mean chief, boss, top-dog and has all the connotations of the word 'head' as used in English in the same context.
This is technically a different word to 'kashira' of the other meaning previously discussed.

Do men in Tokyo use "kashira" as in "ka na" at all?


I can't remember in which region it is normal for men to use kashira, I spent a few minutes searching online but so far found nothing :( I'm sure someone else on the forum is likely to know though. Since Tokyo is 標準語 I suspect that it is uncommon for men to use kashira.
なぜなら、おまえは・・・・・・人形だ
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Re: Uses for かしら

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 02.09.2011 5:55 pm

Nilecat,

isn't kashira similar to the usage of deshou vs darou? By that, I mean to soften the question a bit and not make it sound so harsh or abrupt?
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Re: Uses for かしら

Postby NileCat » Thu 02.10.2011 9:09 am

Exactly.
But unlike the difference between the two, かしら has more complicated nuance in ultramodern Japanese.

In the historical context, the etymology is か知らぬ. It had altered to かしら and came to be used mainly by women in Tokyo area in 19th through 20th century. The usage was very similar to the English tag questions’. There also was a comparable expression かしらん which was used mainly by men.
In the late 20th century, かしら came to be considered a typical women’s speech pattern around the country because it was very useful and easy to specify the gender difference in pulp novels or light literature, even though the population that actually used it was small. However, in etymology, since it was originally a softened か知らぬ, it was totally fine when men or male writers had used the expression. Nonetheless, it might have sounded kind of strange to people who were ignorant about the original usage and only recognized the word as a feminal expression.
Since the late 20th century, for the gender differences in speech have been dwindling, many women have stopped using the expression because they ‘think’ it sounds too feminine. On the other hand, the “original usage”, which is a role as a smoother/softener, seems to have been getting relatively popular amongst men.

In short, in the ultramodern usage, it can add some sensitive, sophisticated, and androgynous nuances when men use it if they don’t mind some people could find it “girly”. And it MIGHT sound like out-of-date to some people when women use it too much. In fact, you could find many manga or anime characters use it. That’s because those “innocent” girls are expected to sound “girly”.

Interesting, isn’t it?
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