And kanji with manga
Monday, August 22, 2016

atashi あたし

In Japanese, atashi あたし is a first person pronoun used mostly by women.

It's also spelled atashi アタシ, or atashi 私.

離れろよオイ!! 命って呼んでよぉ~ アタシ強い男好きなんだよね~~♡ 超ドMだしィ~~ 知らねーよ!いいから離れろ!!
Manga: Saiki Kusuo no Psi-Nan, 斉木楠雄のΨ難 (Chapter 163, オーラΨ(サイ)トをかいくぐれ!)

Nuances

The word atashi アタシ is a corruption of, a relaxed way to pronounce, watashi ワタシ, which in turn is a corruption of watakushi ワタクシ.

With pluralizing suffixes, it becomes "we," atashi-ra あたし or atashi-tachi あたしたち.

All these three words can be spelled with the same kanji, as 私. To avoid ambiguity, watashi 私 is sometimes spelled with kanji, while atashi あたし and watakushi ワタクシ are not, or furigana ふりがな is added in their case.

Feminine

Although in the past both genders used to use atashi あたし, nowadays it's mostly used by women, making it a feminine pronoun.(デジタル大辞泉)

The word watashi 私 is also considered rather feminine in casual contexts where men would typically use ore. However, watashi 私 also has the nuance of formality, so one may understand a man uses it to sound formal.

Since atashi あたし is a corruption of watashi 私, it lacks this formality nuance, so men would sound even more feminine using atashi あたし than using watashi 私.

Effeminate Men

In anime, men that use atashi あたし are generally effeminate, gay characters (okama オカマ). It's a type of onee-kotoba オネェ言葉.

See female language for details.

  • In "Black Butler," Kuroshitsuji 黒執事, Grell Sutcliff グレル・サトクリフ uses atashi as first person pronoun, as well as other feminine language, like the ~wa ~わ sentence ending particle.

Since the pronoun was used by both genders in the past, it's possible that male character who speaks archaically, or is from a period series, would use atashi あたし without it being a hint he's expressing himself femininely.

あたくし

The word atakushi あたくし is a formal variant of atashi あたし.

Typically, people use atashi あたし in casual contexts because it's easier to pronounce, but would switch to watashi 私 in formal contexts to speak properly.

For someone to use atakushi ワタクシ, they would have to want the femininity of atashi あたし and the classy-sounding, rigid formality of watakushi ワタクシ in one word. This is very deliberate, and not something anyone would normally do.

As such, its usage is limited mostly to fictional characters.

Examples

For reference, some examples of characters using atashi あたし.

エドガーさんこいつあたしの想像以上にヤバイヤツです!! 格好といい言動といいこいつは規格外の変態だ・・・・・・!!
Manga: Kemono Michi けものみち (Chapter 3)
  • Edogaa-san
    koitsu
    atashi no souzou ijou ni
    yabai yatsu desu!!

    エドガーさんこいつあたしの想像以上にヤバイヤツです!!
    Edgar-san, this [guy] is more dangerous than I imagined!
  • kakkou to ii
    gendou to ii
    koitsu wa kikaku-gai no
    hentai da......!!
    格好といい言動といいこいつは規格外の変態だ・・・・・・!!
    (Citing) [his] appearance, the things [he] said and did, (conclusion) this guy is an unparalleled pervert......!!
    • Given how he looks, and what he says and does, this guy is way worse than the average pervert......!!
    • ~to ii ~to ii ~といい~といい - used to cite examples before a conclusion.
    • kakkou
      格好

      Appearance. Looks. Outfit.
    • gendou
      言動
      What one says and does.
    • kikaku-gai
      規格外
      Outside of the standard. Like no other. Without compare. Unparalleled.
離れろよオイ!! 命って呼んでよぉ~ アタシ強い男好きなんだよね~~♡ 超ドMだしィ~~ 知らねーよ!いいから離れろ!!
Manga: Saiki Kusuo no Psi-Nan, 斉木楠雄のΨ難 (Chapter 163, オーラΨ(サイ)トをかいくぐれ!)
  • hanarero yo oi!!
    離れろよオイ!!
    Let go of [me], hey!!
  • Mikoto tte yonde yoo~~
    命って呼んでよぉ~
    Call me Mikoto~~
  • atashi {tsuyoi} otoko suki nanda yo ne~~♡
    アタシ強い男好きなんだよ~~♡
    I like {strong} men~~♡
  • chou do-emu dashii~~
    ドMだしィ~~
    ]After all], [I] am a ultra, super masochist~~
  • shiranee yo! ii kara hanarero!!
    知らねーよ!いいから離れろ!!
    [I don't care!] [Just] let go of [me]!!

References

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