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ぼく and おれ

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ぼく and おれ

Postby japanesegryffindor » Wed 05.08.2013 12:17 am

I know that ぼく is only used by men, and that おれ is supposed to be used only by guys (bit unsure of my understanding of the use of おれ so maybe it's only commonly used by guys...), but is there any difference? I've noticed in Japanese conversations I read online and in anime, sometimes guys will use just one or the other all the time, or they may switch like... every other sentence. Is it only personal preference, or is there a difference in context or meaning?
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Re: ぼく and おれ

Postby Shiroisan » Wed 05.08.2013 1:52 am

boku can be seen as more humble/kid-like, and ore the opposite. It varies greatly depending on the participants of the conversation.
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Re: ぼく and おれ

Postby SomeCallMeChris » Wed 05.08.2013 1:54 am

僕・ぼく originally means 'servant', but the meaning as 'servant' is antiquated and so nobody uses it literally anymore. Still, it carries a somewhat humble sound to it because of its origin. (Think of Victorian letters signed 'Your Servant' ... and then it becomes a normal part of speech. That's 僕.) In the present day, it's used as 'I' but it can also be used to mean 'boy', or 'young man'. That is, an older person may refer to a young male by ぼく meaning 'you' as a sort of second person pronoun. It's also sometimes used by women to mean 'I', especially young tomboyish women. Perhaps even just young women in general - the use of 僕 by women is sometimes considered 'cute'.

俺・おれ ... I don't actually know where this derives from (unless it's actually a word that has -always- meant 'I' ? ... hmmmm.) In any case, even when not used as おれさま it still carries a tinge of arrogance with it. It's used pretty much exclusively by males, although it's been used by certain female manga/anime characters... I suppose it's probably used in real life somewhere by a handful of women involved in violent occupations. For all practical purposes though, it's male-only - if a woman did use it I think it would be considered 'weird' not 'cute'. Being less humble it's also sometimes considered less polite than ぼく. Some people call themselves 俺 with family and close friends, but as 僕 to the rest of the world.
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Re: ぼく and おれ

Postby japanesegryffindor » Wed 05.08.2013 2:09 am

Thank you both for clearing that up! :D I figured there was some kind of a context, so now I'm glad I asked XD Looking at where and how I've seen them both, that now makes complete sense! But I say that every time I learn something new about Japanese. xD

The derivation of 僕 is also interesting :33
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Re: ぼく and おれ

Postby Ongakuka » Wed 05.08.2013 4:04 am

俺・おれ ... I don't actually know where this derives from (unless it's actually a word that has -always- meant 'I' ?)

Just for anyone who is interested..

おれ seems to be a derivative of the word おのれ as it used to have the same meaning of 'I' (or 'you') and the same kanji (己)。To that extent, the root meaning is 自分。

It was used by both men and women until the latter part of the Edo period, where usage by women apparently dissipated. However, even in modern Japan there are elderly women of the countryside known to refer to themselves with this word.
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Re: ぼく and おれ

Postby spin13 » Wed 05.08.2013 4:43 am

I've seen two theories for the origin of おれ. One says that it is a corruption of われ, the other says it is a corruption of おのれ (which in turn is related to われ through the ending -れ).

Use of these pronouns - by males and females - is all about context. A little girl using ぼく because she watches a lot of Mickey Mouse and Anpan-man? Sure. A tough chinpira switching to ぼく because he's talking to an elderly man? Why not? The captain of the women's Judo club using おれ with her teammates? Not that strange.
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Re: ぼく and おれ

Postby baskerville » Fri 05.10.2013 7:10 am

The only explanation I knew was the one regarding おのれ. That it may have also originated from the corruption of われ is really interesting. Because come to think of it, if you keep on saying われ several times, it begins to sound like おれ :)

BTW, just out of curiosity, what occupations would be considered violent?

I've learned something new today. Thanks for all your inputs!
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Re: ぼく and おれ

Postby pauro03 » Fri 05.10.2013 2:02 pm

Just a follow up question, would this be the same for the woman's "あたし”、And, "きみ”。。お願いします!
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