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NATLANG: Re: QUESTION: types of plurals, few/many

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Friday, June 21, 2002, 6:21
En réponse à "Karapcik, Mike" <KarapcM@...>:

> > What I thought of was a cycling or change of pronouns. > There is a similar case in Japanese. The 2nd person pronouns > tend to > change in how honorific / pejorative they are over time. For example, > "kimi" > was very honorific about 100-80 years ago. Then, it slid down and > became > respectful. When I took Japanese about 11 years ago, the sensei (who > worked > in Tokyo for 7 years, and his wife was from Hokkaido) said that "kimi" > was a > step down from the speaker. It's something people use when speaking > with > custodians, menial laborers, or someone they are annoyed with. A friend > of > mine is taking Japanese now (starting level 5 in the fall, and his > sensei is > from Japan), and he says "kimi" is very informal and casual, often > used > among young friends (*not* a superior).
Really? I have on my computer the episodes of the sentai series currently aired in Japan (which began in February of this year) in the original Japanese, and in Episode 3 "kimi" is distinctively used by a 40-year-old producer to talk to a young girl (18 or so) who wants to do an audition to become an idol. It fits perfectly with what I had been taught of its use: as a 2nd person pronoun used by adult males to refer to young girls, often with an ironic tone (but not always). I'm positively sure that it's not used by young people, except maybe by boys when talking to a younger girl. The fact that the speaker must be male and the listener female for the use of this pronoun is an extremely strong requirement as far as I know. Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.