Addressing family

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Cyborg Ninja
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Addressing family

Post by Cyborg Ninja » Mon 12.06.2010 10:43 pm

I have strangely never bothered to pay much attention to the topic of "kazoku" in Japanese. There are so many words for family members, that I need help sorting them out. I realize there's a difference in the words used to address one's own mother and addressing another person's mother, etc, but I don't know which is which. Please help me figure it all out here.

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chikara
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Re: Addressing family

Post by chikara » Tue 12.07.2010 11:57 pm

Is this what you are after?
Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there

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Cyborg Ninja
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Re: Addressing family

Post by Cyborg Ninja » Wed 12.08.2010 7:48 pm

No, because that does not describe the different terms to use compared between your own family and another person's.

NileCat
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Re: Addressing family

Post by NileCat » Wed 12.08.2010 10:17 pm

Well, maybe I/we am/are not quite sure what you are referring to specifically. :think:
Mom is mom and mother is mother. Your mom is your mom and my mother is my mother even in Japanese, basically. I don’t know if you use “mater” or “old cheese” when you want to address your matriarch, though. :wink:

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chikara
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Re: Addressing family

Post by chikara » Wed 12.08.2010 10:52 pm

Cyborg Ninja wrote:No, because that does not describe the different terms to use compared between your own family and another person's.
It doesn't? :?
kazoku (describing one's own)
go-kazoku (describing someone else's) family
otto/shujin (go-shujin) husband
.....
kodomo (o-ko-san) child(ren)
.....
shujin 主人 - one's husband
goshujin ご主人 - someone else's husband

kodomo 子供 - child; children
okosan お子さん - (someone else's) child

You must have a different understanding of "describing one's own" and "describing someone else's" than I do. :think:
Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there

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Cyborg Ninja
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Re: Addressing family

Post by Cyborg Ninja » Wed 12.08.2010 11:10 pm

I didn't see what was in parentheses. Not the best way to design a chart... Maybe if it said near the top:
  • one's own family (another's family)
    kazoku (gokazoku)
I would've understood it better. Sorry for not noticing.
I've also noticed that words like "okaasan" are used within one's own family at times and would like to understand why.

NileCat
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Re: Addressing family

Post by NileCat » Wed 12.08.2010 11:56 pm

It’s kind of tough to generalize the usage.
What did you address your mother when you were a baby? Ma? Mummy? Do you use the word to your boss in your office? Like “How is your mummy, boss?” Or, do you use the word to your close friend in the casual conversation? How about among your brothers?
Thus, the “appropriate term” is not decided by grammar but according to the social relationship.
For instance, the word okaasan(お母さん) is considered a relatively casual term. It’s like something between mother and mom. I mean, it would be natural to mention your friend’s mom saying きみのお母さん. We don’t have any specific rules for that. It's just a matter of politeness and your personal preference, so to speak.
Another example is what you wrote above. Kazoku vs gokazoku. The only rule here is that gokazoku is more polite. That’s all. You can use kazoku for another’s family as well.
ママ
母さん
お母さん
お母様

母親
母上
All the words above can be used in any situation if you want to as a translation of the word “mother”. But I have no idea which one is “the best to use”. It depends.

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