This lesson shows you how personal pronouns are used in a common Japanese family dialogue.
In the following dialogue, Mr. Hayashi got back home in the evening, and he is going to have dinner together with his wife Eriko, his son Kazuya and Kazuya’s younger sister, Kayo. Note that everyone uses casual Japanese.
和也： (on the mobile phone with his friend)
和也： (Being irritated)
(To Kazuya) お兄ちゃん、わたしのお菓子も食べたし。
恵理子：(From the kitchen)
Kazuya: A, oyaji ga kaette kita. Mata na.
Eriko: Okaerinasai. Kyoo wa isogashikatta?
Hayashi: Un. Shachou no musuko ga kitanda.
Eriko: Ooki shachou no koto?
Hayashi: Iya. Uchi no shachou no koto da yo.
Kazuya: Ore, hara hetta yo.
Kayo: Watashi mo. Oniichan, watashi no okashi mo tabetashi.
Kazuya: Omae ga hayaku tabenai kara da yo.
Eriko: Chotto, antatachi, taberu koto de kenkashinai de yo.
Hayashi: Sou da zo. Tonikaku, okaasan no okashi wa tabenai hou ga ii, hahaha.
Eriko: E? Nanka itta?
Hayashi: Nani mo. Okaasan no ryouri wa itsumo oishiitte itta dake da yo.
林： I’m home.
加代： Hello, dad.
和也： Oh, dad got home. See you!
恵理子：Hi. Were you busy today?
林： Yeah, the son of the president visited us.
恵理子：Do you mean Mr. Ooki?
林： No, our president, I mean.
和也： I’m hungry.
加代： Me too. Besides, you ate also my sweets.
和也： Because you don’t eat them quickly enough.
恵理子：Come on, don’t argue about eating.
林： Yes. Anyway, you’re better off not eating her sweets, hahaha.
恵理子：What? Did you say something?
林： Nothing special. I just said that your cooking is always good.
|Kanji ||Roomaji||English |
|林||Hayashi||Hayashi (family name)|
|加代||kayo||Kayo (female name)|
|お帰りなさい||okaerinasai||Welcome back! Welcome home!|
|和也||kazuya||Kazuya (male name)|
|帰ってきた||kaettekita||Came back, returned back.|
|またな||mata na||See you again, see you later.|
|社長||shachou||President (of a company)|
|恵理子||eriko||Eriko (female name)|
|大木||ooki||Ooki (family name)|
|腹へった||hara hetta||(I’m) hungry|
|はやく||hayaku||immediately, quickly, in a hurry|
|ちょっと||chotto||hey you, come on|
|そうだぞ||sou da zo||you’re right, exactly, indeed, certainly|
|とにかく||tonikaku||anyway, at any rate|
|A の こと||A no koto||about A, referring to A|
|〜し||〜shi||and, furthermore |
(used in the end of a sentence, compared to “and” used in the beginning of the following sentence in English)
|‥ないほうがいい||… nai hou ga ii.||it would be better not to…|
Notes on the Dialogue
This dialogue shows a common family conversation. It may seem odd to you, but lots of Japanese couples use the word お父さん / お母さん, otousan/okaasan, when addressing each other. If the couple doesn’t have any children, they use each other’s names instead of お父さん / お母さん though.
In this dialogue, the children, as well as the parents themselves, use the words お父さん / お母さん, otousan/okaasan, to address the father and mother of the family. But other families might choose 父さん/母さん, tousan/kaasan, or 父ちゃん / 母ちゃん, touchan/kaachan, instead. There are several ways to address a brother, and a younger sister calling her older brother お兄ちゃん, oniisan, is one example.
Kazuya uses 親父, oyaji, which means dad, to his friend, but this word would usually not be polite to address his father directly. However, some boys might prefer using this word because younger boys tend to avoid more polite and even normal words. His closer friends might say お前の親父, omae no oyaji, to Kazuya to say “your father,” but it can be a rude word. Women sometimes use this word 親父 to an unpleasant and nasty man, and this can hurt him definitely.
A similar word for one’s mother is お袋, ofukuro, and this is used by men alone. As you can see in other articles, we say 父/母, chichi/haha, when talking to someone about our own father and mother. But when a man talks about his parents to people he is close to, he will often use 親父 / お袋, oyaji/ofukuro. Men tend to want to avoid more polite expression as I mentioned, so they need the third way which is not used by women, it seems.
Kazuya uses 俺, ore, here, and it’s quite common to use this word for man in the family and among close friends. He might use 僕, boku, in front of his teacher (at least his parents expected him to), but the words used to address people at school are often similar to those used in the family. But it’s different in adult social life. Perhaps Mr. Hayashi uses 僕 at work, and possibly he might say 私, watashi, in front of the president. At any rate, he doesn’t say 俺 in front of the president and his boss because it’s rude. Of course he should say 俺 in the family. Using 私 in the family (and friends) with a man is ridiculously polite.
In modern life, maybe the most formal word is わたくし. It’s used for written expression or formal speech by politician, chairman and the members of the important meetings etc etc. But even in such a formal situation, some men can use わたし because this word is polite enough to use for men.
Kazuya calls Kayo お前, omae, and this is common. But Kayo doesn’t call him that, because you don’t use this word to someone who is older than you. Furthermore, a female person is expected not to use this word. Eriko uses あんた (たち) to her children, and the usage of this word is similar to お前 as well. お前 is rougher and more arrogant than あんた, but the sense of these words sometimes give an opposite impression by the person. For example, when your teacher (male), father and your close friend (male) use お前 to you, you might feel more friendly impression to him.
In the dialogue, Eriko says 大木社長, Ooki-shachou. 社長, shachou, means a company president, and this is one of Japanese customs – a person’s name (family name) + the title or other word which expresses the social position.
Mr. Hayashi is only called 林さん, hayashi-san, because he doesn’t have special title at the company, but he may be called another word if he will have a title or so.