Forum Rocket Japanese Japanese Vocab What are the proper family member titles?

What are the proper family member titles?

JohnB232

JohnB232

Hello all. In the new Lesson 1.7, お兄さん is used for “older brother." In the line that follows, the statement given is お兄さんは車が好きです, with the translation, “(My) older brother likes cars.”

 

From what I've seen, Japanese has separate titles/words for one's own family and the families of others. Isn't お兄さん the word for someone else's family? If so, why is お兄さん being used here? I could be mistaken, but I thought I've heard this same thing in anime on numerous occasions--someone referring to their own sister or brother with a term seemingly reserved for the members of other families.

 

Thanks for the help!

EarleyGrave

EarleyGrave

I'm sure Emma will come along to teach us all soon (thank goodness), but I think you can add さん just to be more polite or respectful.

It's not like the differences between 父 / お父さん and 母 / お母さん, which aren't pronounced anything alike.

JohnB232

JohnB232

I don't just mean adding お or さん to a name/title for the sake of politeness. For example, I've seen charts/family trees that show titles such as おばあさん and おじいさん for the someone else's grandmother and grandfather, respectively, but for one's own family the words used are そぼ and そふ, respectively.

In my mind, since the statement in my initial comment said “(my) older brother,” it would seem that the word should not have been おにいさん but あに.

EarleyGrave

EarleyGrave

I found this link: https://www.thejapanshop.com/blogs/news/family-words-and-terms-in-japanese-explained

Pretty nice table to it (scroll down the page), and it seems you can say ONIISAN for your own brother, but it's actually the casual form and should be ANI when speaking to people you aren't friends with. 

This seems to hold true for most of them; the form you can use to speak to them ends up being a casual form you can use to speak about them.

JohnB232

JohnB232

Thanks for the link. That explanation helps.

And slight change of subject, but I guess I'll ask while I'm here…

How do people actually refer to certain family members with regard to their names? For example, in English, if I wanted to talk specifically to my Uncle Dave, I'd address him as just that. Would a Japanese speaker say, “[Family Title] [Given Name],” or is there some other form to use?

Thanks again!

EarleyGrave

EarleyGrave

I'm not 100% on this, but I'm pretty sure they don't call their family members by their names. However you bring up a good question about differentiating (like if you had two uncles in a room or something) that I've no idea about!

Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor

Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor

こんにちは (Konnichiwa) JohnB232 and EarleyGrave,

Thanks for the question! 

You're absolutely correct about there being different titles for your family members depending on who you are speaking to. Luckily, we have a whole Survival Kit lesson explaining how this works! You can check it out here:
https://members.rocketlanguages.com/members/japanese/lessons/5228

If you're interested in learning more about titles and being polite, you can also check out this lesson on talking about people:
https://members.rocketlanguages.com/members/japanese/lessons/5067/3-5-Talking-About-People

I hope this helped. Please let me know if you have any other questions! 

勉強を頑張って下さい! (Benkyō o ganbatte kudasai!)
 

 
JohnB232

JohnB232

The links were helpful… I think…! :-) … Let me make sure I have this right…

Is it correct to say that (at least generally speaking) the whole category of family naming that includes words such as おにいさん and おねえさん is used to refer to/call both one's own family as well as the families of others except when speaking humbly to others in a formal situation in which one would shift to speaking of one's own family with words in the category which includes あに and あね? This is to say, I wouldn't ever call my older brother or older sister あに or あね, respectively, as those are reserved for speaking about them to others in a formal situation.

Also, a question remains unanswered: In a reply above I said: “How do people actually refer to certain family members with regard to their names? For example, in English, if I wanted to talk specifically to my Uncle Dave, I'd address him as just that. Would a Japanese speaker say, “[Family Title] [Given Name],” or is there some other form to use?” EarleyGrave followed this up saying, “I'm pretty sure they don't call their family members by their names. However you bring up a good question about differentiating (like if you had two uncles in a room or something).” 

If a Japanese person has two (or more) uncles (or brothers, sisters, etc.) in the same room and the person wanted to speak only to a particular one, how would he address that uncle to get only his attention? In English, I might say, “Hey, Uncle Dave,” since “Hey, Dave,” would be considered rude and, “Hey, uncle,” would cause every uncle in the room to turn his head.  What would the proper Japanese address be for such a situation?

Thanks a lot!

Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor

Emma-Rocket-Japanese-Tutor

こんにちは (Konnichiwa) JohnB232 and EarleyGrave,

You've got it JohnB232, 100% correct! 
Also, sorry for missing your question above. 

Most people would say their family member's first name (e.g. Dave) followed by their relationship (e.g. uncle). So to say Uncle Dave, you would say デーブおじさん (Dēbu ojisan). 

I hope this helped! Please let me know if you have any more questions.

勉強を頑張ってください! (Benkyō o ganbatte kudasai!) 
ClaudiaR-sc5G

ClaudiaR-sc5G

I learn so much by reading these forums!  Thannks for the questions and answers.

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