Japanese Reading Question

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#1 by aliennation843
2020-10-06 at 01:07
< report >Hello, I am currently reading my first japanese visual novel with texttractor/textaggregator and jmdict, and was wondering, what's the deal with different alphabets. For example, one of the heroines may use わたし in it's hiragana, the principle may use 私 in it's kanji and one of the teacher's may use ワタシ in katakana.

My question is, why is this done, as i personally have no idea.
#2 by tahu157
2020-10-06 at 01:34
< report >Kanji vs hiragana is often just a stylistic choice of whoever wrote that line, so it may or may not mean anything. Especially for extremely common words like watashi. Idk if this is true but my impression is the contrast between the two can also be used as an indicator of formality, tone of voice, and maturity of the speaker. 私 being formal or more mature, vs わたし being more laid back or youthful. I guess you would have to analyze who is using what form to determine if that is what's going on in what you're reading.

Switching to katakana I believe is supposed to be analogous to using italics.
#3 by fuukanou
2020-10-06 at 02:25
< report >#2 has it down. It is common for the common route and the heroine routes to have different ways of writing the same word.
HoshiOri comes to mind. 綺麗 is rendered as all three of 綺麗, きれい or キレイ depending on which route you're playing (they were written by different people)

When it comes to actual pronouns, there can be slight nuance to it... for example a girl using ボク as opposed to 僕 and a known crossdresser being referred to as カノジョ etc. These are to let you in on the fact that they're being used for convenience but not for strictest meaning.

There's also intonation/pronounciation. If they're speaking properly then words will be more often rendered in kanji rather than if their intonation/pronounciation is off (for example for emphasis, slurring, being foreign) where they'll use hiragana or katakana instead (depending on severity)

A pragmatic reason for this is that you can tell who's talking much more easily. When you're reading actual book novels, there's no "blah blah blah", said Alice. "blah blah blah", replied Bob. It's "blah blah blah" "blah blah blah" with no identification. You can really do with whatever elements (speech patterns, use of keigo/kudaketakotoba, use of da/desu, personal pronouns) you can get to identify who's speaking. The use of it in VNs may be a holdover from that.Last modified on 2020-10-06 at 02:35


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