Uchi-soto - Language Examples

Language Examples

For detailed information, see Honorific speech in Japanese.

Japanese honorific language ("keigo") is divided into three forms: polite, humble and respectful. Within these forms, there are specific words and prefixes.

For example, the verb "to eat" may be given as

  • taberu (plain: "I/we/you/they eat" or "he/she/it eats")
  • itadaku (humble, literally "to receive", used to refer to oneself or one's in-group), or
  • meshiagaru (respectful, used to refer to one's superior)

and the noun "a drink" may be given as

  • nomimono (one's own drink), or
  • o-nomimono (someone else's drink)

Nouns involving the family, the household, or familial relations normally take honorific prefixes when denoting an out-group and not when denoting an in-group.

Some nouns change completely for the same reasons, such as chichi and haha ("my father", "my mother") versus o-tō-san and o-kā-san ("your father" and "your mother", and also used when addressing one's own parents respectfully).

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