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If you're a guy, do you tend to refer to yourself as "boku"?

#1
If you are male (rather than female) do you generally refer to yourself as "boku" rather than "watasi"?
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#2
Yes, almost always. I only use 'wata(ku)shi' in formal situations. I personally never use 'ore'.
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#3
When first learning Japanese, I didn't realize how many different ways there were for a person to refer to themselves in the first-person. Watakushi, watashi, boku, ore, atakushi, atashi.

I think there's more, but I can't recall them. Same with referring to another person with anata, kimi, kisama, temee, kochira (I think) and I'm sure many others that I can't think of.

One think I've learned (although not through experience) is that you don't refer to yourself as "ore" when introducing yourself to the Emperor of Japan or the Prime Minister of Japan, and you don't refer to either of them as kisama.

Nor do you refer to the Emperor of Japan as "Daimaou-sama," (Great Devil-King) while mistaking it for a respectful way to refer to royalty when trying to show off your Japanese language ability.
Edited: 2014-12-26, 5:50 am
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#4
I use 'boku' for myself most often, but I try to use 'watashi' at work or in moral formal situations, and I use 'ore' with my girlfriend or when joking around.
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#5
我輩 or 拙者 would be my choice.
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#6
TsugiAshi Wrote:When first learning Japanese, I didn't realize how many different ways there were for a person to refer to themselves in the first-person. Watakushi, watashi, boku, ore, atakushi, atashi.

I think there's more, but I can't recall them. Same with referring to another person with anata, kimi, kisama, temee, kochira (I think) and I'm sure many others that I can't think of.

One think I've learned (although not through experience) is that you don't refer to yourself as "ore" when introducing yourself to the Emperor of Japan or the Prime Minister of Japan, and you don't refer to either of them as kisama.

Nor do you refer to the Emperor of Japan as "Daimaou-sama," (Great Devil-King) while mistaking it for a respectful way to refer to royalty when trying to show off your Japanese language ability.
Dammit. That's why I never got a second invite.
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#7
Yes, I use 僕 almost exclusively. In my experience it is not inappropriate in formal settings; the association of 僕 with children seems to have lent the word a humble quality that makes it usable by adult men in more formal discourse. Of course this sort of thing is going to depend a lot on the situation (region of Japan, age of speakers, etc.)
Edited: 2014-12-26, 11:36 am
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#8
I wildly and inconsistently change between watashi, boku, and ore because I really have no idea what I'm doing.
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#9
I would use 僕, but I feel it is too bold and informal, so I prefer the more polite 私.
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#10
俺 with friends, kohai, girlfriend etc. or if it just slips out; 僕 with teachers I'm familiar with, senpai etc.; 私orわたくし for situations which require more formality...
This is pretty normal at least for guys my age (university) I think.

Definitely something native Japanese think about and discuss as well though → google search
Edited: 2014-12-26, 10:03 am
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#11
I almost exclusively call myself 僕 now, but almost all of conversations with natives are informal written or the occasional skype. I originally used 私 but this got me mistaken for female several times so I switched. Even in voice chat, I was told it was strange to hear a guy call himself 私. I don't use 俺 just because I'm not entirely sure when it would be okay.

This is certainly situational - men use 私 - as わたし or わたくし - in formal cases. I think it may also be regional, but I'm not sure what the regional differences are.
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#12
My feeling is that わたくし is extremely rare outside of a few specific situations (self-introduction is the most common one, but other very formal speeches or addresses may call for it as well). わたし tends to be taken as feminine when it's used outside of more formal/polite speech.
Edited: 2014-12-26, 11:40 am
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#13
In doramas I sometimes hear おじいさん達 using あたし, too.


About 僕/俺 this is how I see it
僕 has a shounen feel, and it's good to use it with girls or senpais.
俺 is good between (rough?) male friends, but it could be felt as swaggering so it's 禁物 in almost all situations that don't require to show off oneself's virility.
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#14
To my mind わたくし can also be used:
1. jokingly
2. offensively - together with honorifics - to mark sudden distance
3. higher classes still use it

By the way, I met two teenage girls who used boku when talking about themselves, and even among themselves. (Both from Toukyou, educated families.)
Edited: 2014-12-26, 12:28 pm
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#15
i think it sounds stupid when foreigners use ore. it's like a mild curse word, and i'm sure you know how awkward it is when someone with bad english tries to sound cool by cursing.

boku is good for pretty much any situation. talking to your boss or clients you might switch to watashi... but wareware really sounds better if you can use it, referring to your group inclusively.
anyways i rarely use watashi because boku is passable anywhere... it's like a no-brainer.
what really made me stick with it is when I saw very respectable, masuline men use boku around both colleagues and friends.

one thing i was told a long time ago is that ore is good for pulling girls... making one sound masculine in a country devoid of masculine men.
but when talking to japanese women i found that not to be true exactly.
maybe to some extent it is, but according to my female friends boku is much more "受け入れやすい"... which can be translated to meaning that it's easier to warm up to a new person if they use boku vs. ore.

ore is a bit harsh and confrontational even if the formality level is appropriate... you sound like kenshiro.
if you don't have the seven scars on your chest my advice would be to use boku.
Edited: 2014-12-26, 12:52 pm
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#16
I guess my case is hardly typical as someone who's never been to Japan and who only started getting regular conversational practice in Japanese after having passed the N1, but I still tend to default to わたし, even when having informal conversations with acquaintances. I couldn't even bring myself to switch to 僕 when talking to a girl who insisted I stop using です/ます with her (it apparently had less to do with us being close and more with me being almost seven years older than her). I guess I should try to work 僕 into my vocabulary somehow. Oh, and in spite of my avatar image, I've yet to actually use 俺 outside of things like direct quotes. I just like how the character looks for some reason.
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#17
SomeCallMeChris Wrote:I almost exclusively call myself 僕 now, but almost all of conversations with natives are informal written or the occasional skype. I originally used 私 but this got me mistaken for female several times so I switched. Even in voice chat, I was told it was strange to hear a guy call himself 私. I don't use 俺 just because I'm not entirely sure when it would be okay.
Interesting. I've never been told that 私 sounds feminine.

I use 私 for です・ます conversations, and 僕 for more informal speech. More generally, I try and avoid using either word altogether, unless context demands it. Native English speakers have a tendency to overuse personal pronouns when speaking Japanese, and it sounds clunky and awful.
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#18
buonaparte Wrote:By the way, I met two teenage girls who used boku when talking about themselves, and even among themselves. (Both from Toukyou, educated families.)
Yes, it seems to have become very fashionable recently. Also, I've heard some of my female students, around 11 or 12 years old, use ore, too. I guess it depends on what they want to say about their personality. It's also relatively common for baachan to use ore to refer to themselves. I think that 'ore' being seen as exclusively masculine might be a fairly recent development, but admittedly this is purely based on my feeling that baachan wouldn't suddenly start using a masculine pronoun when they reach a certain age.
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#19
Am I the only person that ends up using 私 more than they should (as a male) because that was all that was used in school/classes and it just got cemented?
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#20
.
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#21
For the small amount I've actually spoken/written, I use 僕. As stated above, it's not particularly stiff or casual, and I've heard respectable men using it, so I prefer it. It means I'll only really need to worry about which pronoun I'll use when I'm in a situation where I'm being incredibly formal anyway.
Of course, as is also stated above, I don't really think of using a personal pronoun most of the time, unless it's necessary for context. Granted, I don't have the experience to know exactly how much is good, yet.
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#22
dtcamero Wrote:i think it sounds stupid when foreigners use ore. it's like a mild curse word, and i'm sure you know how awkward it is when someone with bad english tries to sound cool by cursing.
It's really not anything like a curse word.

I agree that a lot of non-Japanese sound dumb when they try to use 俺, but that's just because they have stilted Japanese and you can just tell they're using it because they're under the impression that they'll sound more masculine. When people who are actually good at Japanese use it I think it sounds fine. It's sort of the same thing as using dialect.
Edited: 2014-12-26, 8:11 pm
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#23
私 is appropriate for formal situations (real formal, like job interviews and written works) and everything else. It can sound a little stiff outside of those situations, though. Depending on who uses it. Which makes it a lot like the opposite of 俺.
僕 is appropriate for pretty much everything else and can be used by anyone from the most manly of men to the hair-as-hard-as-iron(thx-hairspray) girly boys in the host club. And tomboys.
俺 is appropriate for most anything else and really depends on how you use it. If you're using it to try and sound tough it sounds ridiculous. If you just feel like "an 俺 kind of person" then it can be used as smoothly as 僕. It's just slang-y.. maybe.. and, as with all slang and the like, sounds really odd and cheesy when used awkwardly by foreigners who don't know what they're doing.

I use 僕 because I feel like "a 僕 kind of person." Tongue
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#24
Tzadeck Wrote:
dtcamero Wrote:i think it sounds stupid when foreigners use ore. it's like a mild curse word, and i'm sure you know how awkward it is when someone with bad english tries to sound cool by cursing.
It's really not anything like a curse word.

I agree that a lot of non-Japanese sound dumb when they try to use 俺, but that's just because they have stilted Japanese and you can just tell they're using it because they're under the impression that they'll sound more masculine. When people who are actually good at Japanese use it I think it sounds fine. It's sort of the same thing as using dialect.
Are there reasonable English equivalents of these terms to give some idea of the "flavor" of watashi vs. boku vs. ore?

Incidentally, I can only think of one term that can replace "I" and only then in certain types of sentences. E.g., "Who wrote this wonderful report"? "Oh, it was yours truly...it was nothing!" (where "yours truly" = "I").
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#25
Here is how スネイプ先生 refers to himself on two different occasions:
1. 「これを投げ入れた者が誰かわかった暁には」スネイプが低い声で言った。「我輩が、まちがいなくそやつを退学にさせてやる」
2. 『、スネイプ教授は、本日クィディッチ競技場において、新人シーカーを教育する必要があるため、スリザリン・チームが練習することを許可する』

Harry uses 僕 almost exclusively.
Hagrid goes with 俺.

When Oliver Wood (Gryffindor quidditch team captain) argues with Marcus Flint (Slytherins' captain) about booking the pitch, he goes:
「僕が予約したんだぞ?」

And finally, I can't recall/find Dumbledore's using anything other than わし.

Of course, HP is a book from the wizardry world but something tells me that the translator, in order to reflect nature of the characters, used pronouns as they would be used in a non-wizardry world.
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