Saturday, July 30, 2016

Moteru, Motenai and Motetai - Meaning in Japanese

One word that comes up in anime from time to time in moteru モテる. Most of the time it's conjugated as motenai モテない, which is its negative form. Thus, any person is their moteru or motenai, but what does that mean exactly?

The verb moteru モテる means "to be popular [with girls or guys]." Someone who's moteru-ing in anime is someone surrounded by wannabe girlfriends/boyfriends. that receives a dozen of love letters a day, and that most likely is either a bishounen 美少年 or a bishoujo 美少女.

(do not mistake moteru モテる with ninki 人気 that's used for things that are "popular", like popular mangas, animes, and games)

Just in case you have some doubt of what it means to motenai, in the anime Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い! a.k.a. WataMote ワタモテ, a.k.a. "No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys' Fault I’m Not Popular," the character Kuroki Tomoko 黒木智子 does not moteru, that is, she motenai, she's not popular.

Character Kuroki Tomoko 黒木智子 from the anime WataMote next to the text motenai モテない written in Japanese

Not everyone wants to be moteru, but those who do "want to be moteru" motetai モテたい. That is, a way to say "I want to be popular with girls (or boys)" in Japanese is just the word motetai. The -tai is a conjugation form that means "I want to [verb]"

Transcript Japanese-English from the manga and anime Mob Psycho 100. "e? motenai no? mobu-kun." "Eh? Do you want to be popular? Mob-kun." "iya... betsu ni..." "No... not really..."

That said, just because you motetai doesn't mean you will moteru..

Panel from the manga Mob Psycho 100 with the text bubbles "モテねーよ。" and "え?"

(motenee モテねー is another way to say motenai)

Lastly, if you've ever had the excruciating disappointment pleasure to watch Aldnoah Zero you might have noticed someone saying kimi ga motenai riyuu wo oshiete agemashouka? 君がモテない理由を教えてあげましょうか? which can be translated as "should I tell you why you don't have a boyfriend?" More literally, what it actually says is "should I tell you the reason you motenai?"

1 comment:

Leave your komento コメント in this posuto ポスト of this burogu ブログ with your questions about Japanese, doubts or whatever!

Comments made in bad faith or containing spoilers or language inappropriate for the post will be removed.