Sentence-Final Particles in Japanese
In his speech Yoda uses strongly masculine particle zo, SFP yo, and copula ja. Historically ja has been used mainly in Western part of Japan. When the capital of Japan was relocated from West to East (Kyoto to Edo ) in 1868 during Meiji Restoration the young generation started to use Eastern variation but the Western variation (the Kansai dialect) was retained by the older generation. Therefore, this speech style is stereotypically associated with elderly people.
We all have learned knowledge of how particular group uses language, even though that group may be fictional. We often acquire the knowledge concerning the speech of a particular group from conversations in the media. Japanese linguist Momoko Nakamura also argues that most Japanese learn women’s language as knowledge from the media. The speech of non-Japanese heroines are often translated into women’s language. Here is a Japanese translation of Hermione Granger talking to Harry Potter and Ron Weasley when she first appears in J.K. Rowling’s book ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’. Her speech is translated into women’s language with feminine final particles wa ne, wa, and no. Hermione, at this time, is 11 years old, and it is hard to imagine any Japanese 11-year-old girl who would use so many feminine particles throughout her speech.
English: Well, it is not very good is it? I’ve tried a few sample spells just for practice and it’s all worked for me. Nobody in my family’s magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter… (Rowling 1997, p.117)
- English Language Dialects
- Film Translation with Special Reference to Stylistic and Cultural Aspects
- Sentence-Final Particles in Japanese
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