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Kinship terms in the Japanese and Dutch language

Kinship terms in the Japanese and Dutch language

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Published by Guan van Zoggel
This paper presents a comparison between the usage of kinship terms of address and reference in the Japanese and Dutch language. In the first part of the paper, an outline will be given regarding the uses of kinship terms in both Japanese and Dutch, emphasizing the former one due to its complex nature and dependence on the context. In the second part, an attempt will be made to compare kinship terms from both languages in order to determine to what extent respect in attitude towards kins in its terminology can be distinguished. The scope of this paper will be limited to kinship terminology within families, disregarding related terms used in companies.
This paper presents a comparison between the usage of kinship terms of address and reference in the Japanese and Dutch language. In the first part of the paper, an outline will be given regarding the uses of kinship terms in both Japanese and Dutch, emphasizing the former one due to its complex nature and dependence on the context. In the second part, an attempt will be made to compare kinship terms from both languages in order to determine to what extent respect in attitude towards kins in its terminology can be distinguished. The scope of this paper will be limited to kinship terminology within families, disregarding related terms used in companies.

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Published by: Guan van Zoggel on Jun 03, 2010
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Japanese Studies BA2 | Leiden University
Kinship terms in the Japanese and Dutch language
Guan van Zoggel (0822507) Instructor: dr. R. J. Länsisalmi
 
KINSHIP TERMS IN THE JAPANESE AND DUTCH LANGUAGEThis paper presents a comparison between the usage of kinship terms of address andreference in the Japanese and Dutch language. In the first part of the paper, an outline will begiven regarding the uses of kinship terms in both Japanese and Dutch, emphasizing theformer one due to its complex nature and dependence on the context. In the second part, anattempt will be made to compare kinship terms from both languages in order to determine towhat extent respect in attitude towards kins in its terminology can be distinguished. The scopeof this paper will be limited to kinship terminology within families, disregarding related termsused in companies.When the Japanese language is discussed in this paper, it refers to Standard Japanese(
hyōjungo,
), as it is taught in schools and used in official communication, anddisregards regional differences which may affect the terminology of relationships. Theforemost reason why Dutch will be used as the second language is because it is my mother tongue and a language I am utmost familiar with as I have been raised in a Dutchenvironment. In addition, Dutch has a 54 percent correlation with English regarding identicalkinship term-types, which can be considered relatively high (Edmonson, 1957: 402). It might be relevant to include my own experiences with Dutch kinship terms, for I do not have todepend solely on data collected in researches conducted by other scholars.JAPANESE KINSHIP TERMSBefore moving on to the topic of discussing the kinship terminology in Japanese, one should be aware of the Japanese perception of social groups. The Japanese make a distinction between people that are in their so-called
in-groups
(
uchi
うち
 ,
inside), which in most casesrefer to family members, and
out-groups
(
 soto
, outside, or 
 yoso
, another place), people outside the family. Another distinction within the terminology of kinship that oneshould take into account is
address terms
, which are used by the speaker to address thelistener, and
reference terms
, used by the speaker to refer to someone who is not present atthe time of the conversation.In her book 
 Japanese Language in Use: An Introduction
(2007), Toshiko Yamaguchidivides this system of terminology in five basic relationships, illustrated by additionalscenarios to support her examples: “(i) out → in (R), (ii) in → in (R), (iii) in → out (R), (iv)out → in (A), and (v) in → in (A),” (Yamaguchi, 2007: 139) in which (R) refers to referenceterms and (A) to address terms. In order to enhance the meaning of Yamaguchi's scheme, I2
 
shall be introducing the kinships terms of
ather 
next (see Table 1).
In OutIn InOut InMeaning
ちち・おやじ
father 
はは・おふくろ
mother 
あに・
elder brother 
あね・
elder sister 
そふ
grandfather 
そぼ
grandmother 
おじ
uncle
おば
aunt
おとうと
[name]
おとうとさん
younger brother 
いもうと
[name]
いもうとさん
younger sister 
むすこ
[name]
ごしそくさま・むすこさま・むこさん・
son
むすめ
[name]
おじょうさま・むすめさん・おむすめさん
daughter 
おい
[name]
nephew
めい
[name]
niece
しゅじん・おっと・だんな・ていしゅ・ハズ
*
あなた・
おとうさん・
[name]
ごしゅじんさま・ごしゅじん・
husband
かない・つま・ワイフ
*
おまえ・
おかあさん・
[name]
おくさん・おくさま
wife
Table 1: Kinship reference and address forms in Japanese
1
Bold
indicates both (R) and (A); plain indicates (R) only; * asterisks indicates (A) only.
In the case of (i) and (iv), a person from the out-group will address or refer tosomeone's father with either 
otōsan
(
お父さん)
or o
tōsama
(
お父様),
the latter more politethan the former. In (ii) and (v),
otōsan
will be used for either addressing and referring to thefather. Finally, in the case of (iii), the speaker shall be using
chichi
(
)
or 
oyaji
(
)
torefer to his or her own father, the former more polite than the latter one. In other words, thekinship terms for 'out → in' and 'in → in' can basically be used for both addressing andreferring, while the terms for 'in → out' can only be used for reference.If we move on to the second table (Table 1, below the horizontal line) published byYamaguchi, a remarkable difference can be found in the list for 'in → in' terms. The wordsused for addressing or referring to younger brother and sister, son and daughter, nephew andniece, and husband and wife (group B) are being replaced by his or her name, in contrary tothe more formal and less personal terms used to indicate father and mother, elder brother andsister, grandfather and grandmother, and uncle and aunt (group A).
1Yamaguchi, Toshiko, 2007.
 Japanese Language in Use: An Introduction
, p. 141
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