On Mon, Sep 3, 2012 at 4:08 PM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 4 September 2012 00:47, Garth Wallace <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I didn't know about "kisama". We've got the euphemism treadmill;would
>> that be the sarcasm treadmill?
> Seems to be what happened in Norwegian as well, and I could very well see
> it happening to Dutch too :) .
> As for "kisama", it started as an honorific pronoun used by samurai to
> refer to their opponent. Loosen the respect for the enemy and the evolution
> of the pronoun is obvious :) .
>> "Omae" sticks in my head because of the shift from first to second
>> person along the way.
> Related to "omae" is "temee", originally "temae". It started as a humble
> first-person pronoun, and is now a very rude second-person pronoun. Its
> evolution parallels that of "omae", except that "omae" can still be used in
> some cases without sounding rude, while "temee" is an insult even among
> close friends.

I didn't even realize "temee" was a pronoun! I thought it was a
general insult, like "yarō".

>> > And don't forget that "otaku" was originally a formal second-person
>> pronoun
>> > (a polite way of saying "your house", again with the honorific "o-"), but
>> > has now become a noun referring to a specific type of geek hobbyist :)
>> (an
>> > example of Japanese's lack of formal distinction between plain nouns and
>> > pronouns: they tend to switch from one use to the other with time).
>> True. "Otaku" is interesting because it was already fairly archaic by
>> the time its meaning changed. Japanese geeks started using this
>> obsolete second-person pronoun amongst themselves as an affectation
>> (English-speaking geeks have been known to do something similar, I
>> think inspired by fantasy fiction and roleplaying),
> You mean using "thou"?

That and other archaisms.

>> and so other
>> people started using it as a (somewhat pejorative) term for them.
> And then the otaku themselves stopped using that word as a pronoun, but
> reappropriated themselves the word "otaku" as a self-description without
> the pejorative meaning, in a process not unlike the use of "queer" among
> gay people, or the use of the n-word among some black communities.
> Such words don't go full circle, they create spirals!

Though as I understand it, it's still pejorative when used by
non-otaku. Which is pretty consistent with other disparaging terms
adopted by the groups they were meant to insult: okay when used within
the in-group, but offensive otherwise.