September 11, 2013
There's an interesting pronunciation drift that I don't really understand.
Watakushi means "I, a ritzy person" approximately. It's used by royalty and by people who fancy themselves to be VIPs. It's pronounced wah-tahk-shee.
Watakushi-tachi means "We, ritzy people". And it's pronounced wah-tah-koosh-tah-chee. Why would it be different like that?
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at September 11, 2013 08:47 AM (RqRa5)
It's more of a case where an older usage persisted among a better-educated class and thus became a status signifier after the fact. Definitely does have the connotation that you noted though, that the speaker had an upper-class education.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at September 11, 2013 09:34 AM (GJQTS)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 11, 2013 02:09 PM (+rSRq)
The Emperor rarely needs to be really, really formal since he outranks everyone he speaks to. If he spoke to you it would probably be in plain speech.
The generally rule about which characters can be unvoiced seems to be "shi, chi and any non-compound -u character." So you typically hear "Watash'-tachi", "Watak'sh'-tachi" or "Watakush'-tachi" depending on how fast the speaker is talking.
Posted by: jtappan at September 11, 2013 04:21 PM (IgcpA)
On second thought I take that back. Assuming that you are not Japanese the Emperor would probably choose a formal but not obsequious level of speech. Uchi/sota (in-group/out-group) distinctions usually override distinctions in rank. The dignity of the Japanese nation would probably require addressing a foreigner formally.
Posted by: Jonathan Tappan at September 12, 2013 06:29 PM (IgcpA)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 12, 2013 07:12 PM (+rSRq)
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