Japanese Language and Culture

Feminine and Masculine Language in Japanese

General aspects of feminine speech:

  • Speaking in a higher register and using more inflection.
  • Using generally more polite language in more situations, including between themselves, including more use of the prefix "o-".
  • Adding "cuteness" by elongating certain vowel sounds.
  • Increased use of the contracted form of "-te shimau" >> "-chau"

Feminine Language Masculine/Neutral Equivalent
"wa" or "waa" as an ending, especially "wa yo" and "wa ne" (or "wa nee")
"yo" or "ne" (both neutral)
"no" as an ending, especially after a polite (e.g. "-masu" or "desu") form.
Use of "no" as a question marker after a plain verb form is neutral.
"na no" as an ending.
"na n da".
"yo" directly following a noun, na-adjective, or particle
Kore ha anata no hon yo.
Kono hana kirei yo.
Ashita yasumi na no yo.
"da yo"
Kore ha kimi no hon da yo.
Kono hana kirei da yo.
Ashita yasumi na n da yo.
"kashira" used at the end of a sentence to mean "I wonder"
Yaki-imo-ya-san tte natsu ni naru to nani shite iru no kashira ne?
"ka na" or "ka naa"
Yaki-imo-ya tte natsu no aida, nani shite iru no ka na?
"ara" used to indicate surprise
"are" (neutral)
"maa". Can be neutral, but "ara maa" is feminine.
"atashi" in place of watashi
"atai" in place of watashi (has a little-girl-like quality).
"watashi", "watakushi" (neutral), "boku" (informal male), "ore" ("tough" or juvenile male)
"choudai" in place of kudasai
"kudasai" (neutral)

Masculine Language Feminine/Neutral Equivalent
"yo" directly after an i-adjective.
Kono hon omoshiroi yo.
"wa yo"
Kono hon omoshiroi wa yo.
"zo" in place of "yo" "yo" (neutral)
"ze" in place of "ne" "ne" (neutral)

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