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18186Re: [SCA-JML] Speaking of O- (was: Name help)

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  • Solveig
    Mar 2, 2005
      Noble Cousin!

      Greetings from Solveig! Late Muromachi is the sixteenth century. If I was being
      more exact, I would have mentioned the azuchi-momoyama period.

      >I do have a question about that. In watching some Japanese
      >dramas/movies set in the Edo period, there seemed to be a habit where
      >women's names would have the O- added to the front as a sign of respect
      >(or affection??). For example, a girl named Masu was called Masu-san or
      >Masu-chan by most people, but O-Masu by a guy who admired her. Or say,
      >the lord's sister, Ichi, would be referred to as O-Ichi, although the
      >subtitled hiragana when they introduced her simply said "Ichi". What
      >was the rules of that usage, and when did that start? Is it within SCA
      >period?

      This gets a bit messy. You need to understand that dropping name parts is
      an easy way to make nick-names. -san is a fairly recent honourific.
      Technically,
      the O- is also an honourific, but it functions more as part of the name. This
      busines about O- pretty much dissappeared in the early Meiji period. Many
      years ago there was a Taiga drama called O-?? I forget her name at the moment.
      Regardless, she is born sometime around the Meiji Restoration and makes up
      to sometime around Taiheiyou Sensou.

      >A second question also: it seems like the Kyoto folk kept saying "-han"
      >when the Edo people were saying "-san". Was I mishearing things, or is
      >that a regional variation?

      Kansai-ben (Osaka area dialect) is supposed to be softer sounding than
      Kantou-ben (Toukyou area dialect). Kyouto is supposed to pretty much
      have its own distinctive women's speech. However, except when explicitly
      writing dialogue, you will see Kansai people writing -san.

      >(Note: didn't hear the Osaka folk saying
      >"-han" so I didn't think it was Kansai-ben). When did "-san" come into
      >usage? I know "-dono" and "-sama" were in use for the Good People, but
      >was "-san" being used amongst the commoners at an earlier time?

      Knowing when -san came in may be difificult. However, I believe that it is
      simply an informal variant on -sama. You see -sama as early as the late
      Muromachi, but I think that is about the earliest I have seen it and only
      rarely in those cases. The same document may show several people with
      different honourifics attached to the ends of their names. Just to complicate
      things, you can also see the kanji for uji attached to peoples names. This is
      fairly common in newspapers. In modern Japan, you encounter -<sama>
      -<dono> and -<uji> fairly frequently. Here I wrote forms by which you can
      easily tell which character is being written, I am not saying that they are
      read in this way when used as honourifics.
      --

      Your Humble Servant
      Solveig Throndardottir
      Amateur Scholar

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