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Strange grammer in a video game...

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Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby prep_girl_Nessa » Tue 12.19.2006 8:50 pm

I decided to try to play the Japanese version of Chrono Trigger, since I played some of the English version, to see if I could figure it out...

But most of it seems extremely casual, grammer wise. I thought that people used the -masu and desu form (I think it's called 丁寧語 (teineigo)) alot, but in the game, even when characters meet for the first time, they use a really casual form.

I was wondering if this was because this is a game, or is the casual form only used for teachers or people older than you?

And, for those who have played the game, it really seems like strange grammer, even in the casual form (I don't have the game with me, but I'll try to get some examples when I get home). It almost seems like they are talking in with an accent (kind of like Kansai but... not exactly). Is this just me now being too familiar with casual Japanese?

Edit - Like, when Chrono first meets the princess:
少女: いったー / ゴ、ゴメンなさい!だいじょうぶ? / ア、アラ?ペンダントが。。。
*the pendent falls, Chrono gets it and returns it*
少女: ありがとう!!そのペンダント私のよ。古ぼけてるけどとっても大事な物なの。
It seems so casual, even though Chrono just met her. Is that just because it's a game, or it that how it really is when people first met each other?
Last edited by prep_girl_Nessa on Tue 12.19.2006 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby Sachi » Tue 12.19.2006 9:24 pm

I've heard that peers often use casual forms around each other, even the first time meeting. But if she's a princess, I would think they'd be a bit more polite... No idea, really. Personal preference?

Hopefully someone will clear up my very unhelpful words of advice xD
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby Harisenbon » Tue 12.19.2006 9:39 pm

Peers will often use casual form with each other, and to be perfectly honest, ます form really isn't used that often in normal conversation. Only when you're trying to make a point of being polite.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this is a game. And like most all fantasy/escapist works of fiction, people are not bound by the same cultural laws that Japan is. Which is why you see manga and game characters always referring to themselves as 俺, and to others as てめ or 貴様. It's all about creating the mood of the character / world. Not that that's what's going on here, but just something to keep in mind.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby tanuki » Tue 12.19.2006 9:47 pm

In context, Vanessa, don't forget that Chrono doesn't know she is a princess when he first meets her. Thus, he thinks he is speaking with a "peer".

EDIT: Also, his name is "Crono". I know, I made that mistake, too, hehe.
Last edited by tanuki on Tue 12.19.2006 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby adam » Tue 12.19.2006 11:25 pm

I hear 俺 alot in casual speech between friends, so it's not limited to just fantasy/manga, etc. However てめぇ you don't hear much in real speach. Though you will hear おまえ occasionally in a jesting tone between friends. Or depending on if you live in Kansai area, much more often.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby prep_girl_Nessa » Wed 12.20.2006 9:27 am

Harisenbon wrote:
Peers will often use casual form with each other, and to be perfectly honest, ます form really isn't used that often in normal conversation. Only when you're trying to make a point of being polite.


Really? I thought it was mostly masu form... Wow, I really need to watch more Japanese dramas and such, I didn't even pick up on that.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 12.20.2006 9:33 am

prep_girl_Nessa wrote:
Harisenbon wrote:
Peers will often use casual form with each other, and to be perfectly honest, ます form really isn't used that often in normal conversation. Only when you're trying to make a point of being polite.


Really? I thought it was mostly masu form


This is a hard question to answer -- it depends a lot on who the people talking are, the region of Japan, what you mean by "normal conversation" and "isn't used that often". I would not say that speech is "mostly" masu form but I would not go so far as to say that it isn't used that often.
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Wed 12.20.2006 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby LordOfTheFlies » Wed 12.20.2006 10:14 am

I'm playing Chrono Trigger in japanese too right now :)

And to be honest I'd say most of the grammar is pretty easy, I'm just missing alot of vocabulary. And alot of words are written in kana instead of kanji too, maybe it's because SNES games had such limited space?

When you get further into the game you'll notice that the guards and royalty speak in 丁寧語(thanks for teaching me a new word ;D).

I've also tried playing another great game by square in japanese, 聖剣伝説2(せいけんでんせつ, the holy sword legend) known as secret of mana in english. Most of the text is incomprehensible because like 95% of all words are written in kana whether or not they should be. And they use waaaay more casual speak in this game than in Chrono trigger.

Just have a dictionary ready and be ready to look up radicals T__T... If you don't know that WWWJDIC has a multiradical search system I'd recomend you to take a look at it, it's helped me alot of times http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1R. Also searching [url]http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/クロノトリガー[/url] might help you find words you don't know.

Anways good luck with playing CT, it's a great game. And I've already spotted some small differences between the english and japanese versions.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 12.20.2006 1:16 pm

And alot of words are written in kana instead of kanji too, maybe it's because SNES games had such limited space?


It's more likely for stylistic reasons -- there are a lot of words that technically have kanji representations, but are conventionally written using kana instead. By that time in the SNES development cycle they weren't restricted in that way. The ability to display kanji takes only a miniscule amount of space on a cart the size of Chrono Trigger's. Earlier games like FF4, which were in all kana, were done that way because developers were still working in an NES mindset and hadn't really learned to exploit the full power of the SNES.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby CajunCoder » Wed 12.20.2006 2:32 pm

I managed to learn quite a lot playing through Chrono Trigger in Japanese. Just wait until you get to the prehistoric era, everyone speaks like cavemen, with no particles and very short, simple sentences :p

Apparently even cavemen knew kanji though :o
Last edited by CajunCoder on Wed 12.20.2006 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby Rounin T » Wed 12.20.2006 2:58 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
And alot of words are written in kana instead of kanji too, maybe it's because SNES games had such limited space?


It's more likely for stylistic reasons -- there are a lot of words that technically have kanji representations, but are conventionally written using kana instead. By that time in the SNES development cycle they weren't restricted in that way. The ability to display kanji takes only a miniscule amount of space on a cart the size of Chrono Trigger's. Earlier games like FF4, which were in all kana, were done that way because developers were still working in an NES mindset and hadn't really learned to exploit the full power of the SNES.

In Super FamiCom games, some kanji are also not represented because they would have to be huge in order to display in enough detail to read. There are a few very common kanji that are pretty complex. The text in Tales of Phantasia, if I remember right, didn't use kana except where conventional, but the characters were bigger than I was used to seeing in an RPG. Of course, sometimes they try to cram intricate characters into a tiny space anyway. Japanese people can probably read those, but I sure can't.

As for Crono's lack of politeness, I remember his age being significantly less than one would expect from his character portrait. 16, maybe? Not that Japanese teenagers aren't taught 敬語 in school, but as others have noted, it's a fantasy world.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby tanuki » Wed 12.20.2006 4:50 pm

Rounin T wrote:
As for Crono's lack of politeness, I remember his age being significantly less than one would expect from his character portrait. 16, maybe? Not that Japanese teenagers aren't taught 敬語 in school, but as others have noted, it's a fantasy world.


Again, Crono didn't know she was a princess when they first met.

B-b-but wait...are we discussing Crono's lack of politeness? He's mute! :@
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby LordOfTheFlies » Wed 12.20.2006 5:05 pm

tanuki is right, Chrono doesn't say a single word... Marle on the other hand though isn't acting very royally though >__>;;

RouninT: You may have a point, when in battles the commands for fighting and using skills are called たたかう and わざ instead of 戦う and 技. Same goes with all equipment and items in the game(or so far at least), since kanji wouldn't fit in in the item and equipment screens(without being distorted beyond recognition).

However I don't see why they have to write 今日 in hiragana since the kanji aren't really detailed anyway. Now that I think about it, it might be a kanji or jukugo I don't know with lots of details in it.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby Harisenbon » Wed 12.20.2006 9:50 pm

I would not say that speech is "mostly" masu form but I would not go so far as to say that it isn't used that often.


I have a bad habit of exagerating, but I feel that masu isn't really used that much in normal (or what I would think of as casual) coversation. I was curious once and spent a conversation between my wife and her friend counting how many times they ended words in masu. I think it was like 3...

Of course, when entering into any formal/semi-formal/business transaction/buying things masu is definately the default.
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RE: Strange grammer in a video game...

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 12.20.2006 10:55 pm

Well, definitely between friends you won't see -masu forms used very often, and it's not a casual speech feature...coworkers (at least some coworkers) and people who aren't well acquainted will use it with each other, though.
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