many words for WOMAN/GIRL and MAN/BOY

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many words for WOMAN/GIRL and MAN/BOY

Post by OlgaD » Fri 04.22.2011 4:22 pm

Hello everyone!

Recently when I was studying Japanese I saw many different words being translated as GIRL/WOMAN and MAN/BOY in my textbook. There must be some difference between them but I can't tell it. The more intermediate I become, the more similar words appear :)

So I obviously know 女 and 女の子.

But I found many more and I have a small problem with them.

女の方 (is it a polite equivalent of 女の人?)
女の人 (I don't know how to differ it from simple 女 - I assume it is more polite)
彼女 (かのじょ) (it means SHE, or GIRLFRIEND depending on a context)
女性 (じょせい)(I know it is a polite word which we can use when we generally speak about women, for example FEMALE DRIVER, WOMEN's RIGHTS or WOMEN's HORMONES, so maybe it means "female" or "feminine gender"?)
女人 (にょにん) (well... I know nothing about it. But it is not a common word, right?)
女子 (じょし)(used in "schoolwords" such as 女子高生 or 女子校)
ふじん ("lady", "wife", ) but if it means WIFE, what about つま or かない??? And I know two KANJI - 婦人 and 夫人 - which one is better?
しゅくじょ (also "lady"???)
女後 (おんなご)(I know nothing about it)
じょうじょ (this word was only in one dictionary, so I don't know if it's still used by the Japanese :) )
女児 (じょじ) (baby girl; primary schoolgirl )
ようじょ (little girl)

And the same thing with MAN/BOY.

I know the basic - 男 and 男の子
男の人 (more polite than 男)
男の方 ((more polite than 男の人)
彼 (かれ) (meaning "he" or "boyfriend" depending on a context)
男性 (だんせい) (the male equivalent of 女性)
男児 (だんじ) (the male equivalent of 女児)
男子(だんし)(the male equivalent of 女子)
おとこまえ (handsome man, good looking man)
紳士 (しんし)(gentelman)

Okay, I know there are lots of them but I really would love to know the usage and differences.

I would be very grateful for Your help!

Thank You very much!

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Re: many words for WOMAN/GIRL and MAN/BOY

Post by Ongakuka » Fri 04.22.2011 7:05 pm

I would say the differences are made very clear by the English translations... 女・男の人 is woman or man as oppose to 女・男の子 (boy or girl.)

Saying just 女・男 can be rude, although sometimes this is not the case. For example そんな男が好き (emphasis on the 'male' aspect. Of course, そんな男性が好き would be just plain weird.

I've never heard 女・男の方 and I'm guessing it is not so common, since the occasion where you need to be very polite whilst specifying gender is probably not a usual one. That's just my guess.

にょにん is just a contracted form of 'onna no hito.' I've never heard of 女後...  少女 is young girl and this *is* common.

家内・妻 is what a man refers to his wife as when speaking with other people. 婦人 I would say is a bit more ambiguous at tends to refer to a mature woman. Not necessarily wife.

You left out お譲様 which is 'lady' and emphasizing respect and usually a high status.

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Re: many words for WOMAN/GIRL and MAN/BOY

Post by amochan » Mon 04.25.2011 9:47 am

An interesting one is 令嬢(れいじょう), a respectful term for someone else's daughter.

The 令 here is a Chinese honorific prefix for someone's family members (e.g. 令尊 for one's father, 令慈 for one's mother etc. ... though one's daughter is usually 令愛 or 令千金 in Chinese). So to me, knowing this, the oft-seen ご令嬢 looks a bit like a double honorific prefix to me, but of course since there is no awareness of 令 being honorific in Japanese it doesn't quite count ^^

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