Learn Hiragana
Friday, October 7, 2016

Konata, Sonata, Anata, Donata - Meaning in Japanese

This time I'll talk about four Japanese words which you've probably never heard about: konata こなた, sonata そなた, anata あなた and donata どなた. Okay, maybe you've heard about anata, and maybe you've heard about donata, but what about the rest? What do they mean in Japanese?

Just like other kosoado pronouns in Japanese, we can divide the meaning of these words this way:
  • konata こなた
    This person here.
  • sonata そなた
    That person there, close by.
  • anata あなた
    That person over there, far away..
  • donata どなた
    What person?

However, the above are the words original meanings. In modern Japanese the first two, konata and sonata, are practically not used anymore. (if you're looking for anime that use these, take a look at Katanagatari 刀語, where Tomoko uses the word sonata a lot)

So if the two first words aren't used, what happens to the last two? Well, the word anata can be used as one of the many ways to say "you" in Japanese, which is kind of weird, because logically thinking that should be sonata since the guy you call "you" is usually close to you, but hey, who am I to argue with the language.

The phrase "anata yotsuba-chan! desho" from the manga Yotsubato! meaning "You're Yotsuba-Chan! Aren't you"

The last word, donata, is mostly used in phrases to polite ask "who are you?" For example:
  • donata desu ka? どなたですか?
    Who is it?

So this is the explanation behind these pronouns about people.

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