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Words for family members

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Words for family members

Postby Nihongo No Gakusei » Thu 09.17.2015 3:48 pm

I'm not sure that this is really the right forum since it isn't about grammar exactly but I couldn't find a better one for it, so here I go.

I was taught that there are basically two words for every kind of family member: one you use for someone else's family members or when talking to your own, and one you use when talking about your own but not to them (examples: お父さん/父, お姉さん/姉), and that the idea was that the longer one was honorific while the shorter one was humble, and you want to be honorific/respectful when talking about someone else's family or when talking to your own, but you wanted to be humble when talking to someone else about your own family.

However, since I was taught this, I have never encountered the short forms, instead seeing things like 私のお母さん. I have also seen other types of words like 親父 that are neither the long nor the short forms I was taught. So what's the deal? When are the short forms used, and how does 親父 fit into things?
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Re: Words for family members

Postby bunalz3 » Mon 10.05.2015 6:13 am

Nihongo No Gakusei wrote:I have also seen other types of words like 親父 that are neither the long nor the short forms I was taught. So what's the deal? When are the short forms used, and how does 親父 fit into things?

  • http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/people
  • http://www.learn-japanese-adventure.com/japanese-family.html
The sites that I've listed above should answer your question. Once you have a better understanding on them, you could read on some more specific materials.

IHowever, since I was taught this, I have never encountered the short forms, instead seeing things like 私のお母さん.

That sounds like the ones used by children/teen (usually in the anime/manga world). If you broaden your experience to the real-life situation, you will start hearing them more often. Still, I've watched various anime/shows myself, and those "short forms" do come out a lot.
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Re: Words for family members

Postby Veejay » Sun 10.11.2015 6:09 am

I recall listening to a discussion on one well-known e-learning podcast saying that if it's JLPT, follow the textbook explanations for using terms describing family members to other people, but in real life, it's not so simple.

In theory, you use the "chichi/haha ..." etc terms to deprecate your in-group (family) members to out-group (non-family) members. However, if the person you are talking to is a close family friend, that might (depending on context) sound a bit cold and distant. Showing some respect to the senior family member, then perhaps softening it with "-chan", might help show that you are respectful, kind, and wanting to include your listener ....
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Re: Words for family members

Postby waynelam8 » Tue 12.01.2015 7:42 am

bunalz3, thanks so much

the links you provided are really helpful
I've been learning Japanese for around 5 years.
Since I am a self-learner, I always search for any tools that can help my learning.
I love learning Japanese through mobile app because I can learn it anywhere, anytime without books.
My favorite apps are Memrise and Ohayou (japanese listening)
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