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.