Friday, July 22, 2016

yobisute 呼び捨て

WIP: this article is incomplete and might change in the unforeseeable future.
In Japanese, yobisute 呼び捨て means calling someone without a honorific suffix after their names.

For example, if there's someone called Tarou 太郎, people normally call him: Tarou-san 太郎さん, with the san さん honorific. If you call him by just his name, Tarou 太郎, then that's yobisute.

Usage

The yobisute is the opposite of using honorifics. It's a sign of informality, which can mean mean either of the two following things:
  1. Two people have a close, friendly relationship, and they don't care about using honorifics.
  2. One person is being rude by not addressing the other person with a honorific.

In either case, it's important to bear in mind that the default is using a honorific. This yobisute stuff is out of the ordinary, despite being overwhelmingly common in anime.

Sometimes you may see a sentence like this:
  • yobisute de ii
    呼び捨てでいい
    "Without honorific" is fine.

When a character has just been called with a honorific by another character. The sentence above just means they want to skip formalities, or maybe they don't care about honorifics, or maybe personally don't like all these stiff formalities, and so on.

Generally, yobisute refers to not using the san さん honorific, as it's the most normal honorific, but it can mean not using other honorifics, too, like sama.

For example, imagine two characters are close to each other, and they don't use honorifics, but one of them happens to be a Very Important Person somewhere, and everybody there calls that character with sama 様 given their importance.

Then, when these two characters go to that place, everybody finds it weird that this random dude is calling the Very Important Person without honorifics, and demand him to use sama 様 and refer to her with respect. (see: Mayoi-sama from Gyakuten Saiban 逆転裁判, Ace Attorney.)

In either case, the verb tsukeru 付ける, "to attach," means to use a honorific, literally by attaching it to the name.
  • chanto "san" tsukete ne
    ちゃんと「さん」付けてね
    Attach "san" properly, okay?
    Make sure to use "san" properly, okay?

The phrases san-dzuke さん付け, sama-dzuke 様付け, and so on would refer to the opposite: calling someone with the san, sama suffix, and so on.

Parents and Children

Some parents don't use honorific suffixes toward their own children. That's because every possible honorific either sounds embarrassing or outright wrong, so the only good choice is not using honorifics at all.

First, san さん and sama 様 imply an equal or inferior relationship to your own child, which doesn't make sense. To begin with, they're younger than you, so even strictly be seniority they're inferior to you, not equal or superior.

Next, chan ちゃん and kun くん are often used toward children, but they're normally used toward other people's children, as a way to add a minimum level of formality between you and somebody else's family.

Since that's not the case with your own family, it doesn't make sense to use those honorifics.

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