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Monday, August 22, 2016

waga 我が

In Japanese, waga 我が means "my," it's a possessive singular first person pronoun, that's rather archaic, but still has certain usage in modern Japanese. Sometimes, it means "one's own" instead.

It's also spelled , 吾が, 吾ヶ, 我, or 吾.

Usage

The pronoun waga 我が is literary and not normally used.

In anime, it's normally used by a character that sounds archaic, grandiose, epic, or some chuunibyou 中二病 trying to sound as such.

  • waga na wa Megumin! {aaku-wizaado wo nariwashi to shi, saikyou no kougeki mahou "bakuretsu mahou" wo ayatsuru} mono!
    我が名はめぐみん! アークウィザードを生業とし、最強の攻撃魔法“爆裂魔法”を操る者!
    My name is Megumin! The one [who] {makes arch-wizard [her] profession, and commands the most powerful offensive magic, explosion magic}!

In modern Japanese, waga is only used to refer to things one is related to, like family members, organizations, and so on.

  • waga kuni
    我が国
    My country.
  • waga kou
    我が校
    My school.
  • waga tou
    我が党
    My political party.
  • waga sha
    我が社
    My company. (in the sense of the business I represent.)
  • waga ya
    我が家
    My home. My family.

Some more literary and archaic sounding examples:

  • waga tomo
    我が友
    My friend.
  • waga kimi
    我が君
    My lord. (whom I serve.)

The word wagahai 吾輩, which means something like "my brethren," my nakama 仲間, is an archaic first person pronoun.

Exceptionally, waga-mama わがまま, literally "my way," is treated as an adjective meaning "egoist" instead.

See mama まま for details.

One's Own

In rare cases, waga 我が means "one's own" instead of "my." For example:

  • Aburahamu wa waga ko wo ikenie ni sasageta
    アブラハムは我がを生贄に捧げた
    Abraham gave his own child as a sacrifice.

Etymology

The word waga 我が is written with the same kanji as ware, "I," "me." Both words share the same wamorpheme, which was also a first person pronoun. Besides these, a 我 was even another first pronoun pronoun.(学研全訳古語辞典)

  • aga kimi
    吾君
    My lord.
  • waga kimi
    我が君
    (same meaning.)

The ga が is the ga が particle in its archaic possessive function.

  • waga ou
    我が王
    My king.
  • ware-ra ga ou
    我らが王
    Our king.

This ga が can also be spelled .

  • waga ya
    我ヶ家
    My home.

References

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