January 02, 2016

Honorific "chi"

Is "chi" an honorific? It's not listed in the Wikipedia page about honorifics. And as I was looking at that, I suddenly realized that I had heard it several times, but only in various parts of the Nanoha canon.

In the second episode of Strikers, when the aces are helping to fight the fire at the airport, at one point Hayate is going to put out the fire in a big section by using her magic to freeze it all. Obviously she can't do that if there's anyone in it, so she recruits a couple of guys who are in her unit to make sure it's clear. One of them calls to her, "Yagami-chi, onegaishimasu!"

In the Vivid manga, during the investigation in the Infinity Library, it gets used twice that I noticed: once for Corona and once for Vivio. Both times, the girls are being treated with respect.

Which makes me wonder if it's a variation on "chan" which is more respectful. And it also makes me wonder if it's something the author invented.

So is it a real thing, or is it unique to the Nanoha canon?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 12:51 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 191 words, total size 1 kb.

1 It's a diminutive. "-chan" is the regular one, but you get people who use alternatatives like "-pon" or "-ran" or "-nyan".

Nyanta in Log Horizon uses this when talking to Shiroe and Naotsugu, who are old friends and comrades, even though he addresses the actual kids with -san. (Of course we're talking about a cat-person who liberally peppers his speech with "nya" here.)

Bit weird for underlings to use it to a superior, but given the relative age and Hayate's... unique management style, I can buy it, heh.

It's not standard Japanese. Think of it as a variant of "-chan" where the speaker is getting across affectionate familiarity.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at January 02, 2016 01:55 PM (v29Tn)

2 I think Hayate was 16 when she was helping to put out that fire, so it's easy to see why those guys (probably early 20's) would have that reaction. And though she isn't movie-star beautiful like Fate, Hayate is definitely girl-next-door cute.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 02, 2016 02:30 PM (+rSRq)

3 In Neo Ranga, one of the sisters had a friend she called "Aya-chi". The translator's notes explained that "-chi" was short for "-chin", which was a version of "-chan".

Posted by: muon at January 04, 2016 01:41 AM (IUHrD)

4 "-chin" is another variant of the above, yeah. (That said, the Neo Ranga translation is just about as bad as it can possibly be, so don't take language lessons from it.)

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at January 04, 2016 10:18 AM (v29Tn)


V Julie F in Yozakura Quartet tends to use -chin for nearly everyone.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 04, 2016 11:53 AM (+rSRq)

6 In AsoIku, Wasn't Manami's nickname for Kio "Kiocchi"?

Posted by: J Greely at January 04, 2016 06:03 PM (ZlYZd)

7 Yeah, you're right!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 04, 2016 08:09 PM (+rSRq)

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