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So you want to study Japanese?

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Old June 5th, 2012, 1:01 pm
lucky charms  Female.gif lucky charms is offline
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Re: So you want to study Japanese?

Hi, ibishtar!

I haven't read GoF in Japanese, so I looked online for Rita Skeeter quotes to see what your friend was talking about. I found a Japanese language twitterbot (@RitaSkeeter_bot) that posts a lot of her lines from the books.

The first thing I noticed was that she uses "wa ne" and "wa yo" at the end of her sentences, which a long time ago used to be the refined, feminine way of saying "ne" and "yo" in the Tokyo area. But now, the only people who use it are either upper-class old ladies, or young girls who are trying to be super-duper girly/cutesy/princessy.

The other thing I saw was that she ends a lot of her sentences with "zansu", an ending which I had never seen before. I googled it and found that it's a shortening of "de gozaimasu" (so basically, like "desu") that was trendy among aristocratic ladies in Tokyo around the prewar period. Nowadays it seems to be used in manga and other media to give the impression that the speaker is old, feminine, and a snobby wannabe socialite who looks down on people, yet hides her sarcasm behind girly, sugary-sweet language (I wonder if they chose the same way of speaking for Umbridge!) She might be the Japanese equivalent of a lady who drinks with her pinky up, and links arms with a new acquintance as if they were best friends and squeals "Dahling, you simply MUST come and see me for tea!"

The problem with this way of speaking for Rita is that it doesn't fit with her age (she's only supposed to be in her forties IIRC) or her social class (I don't see her as a pretentious social climber, but rather as someone who is crass and doesn't necessarily try to hide it - she'll use her low-brow frankness to try to cozy up to her interviewees instead). But the reason I think this way of speaking was chosen for her is because 1) she is pretentious - not in a social-climbing way, but in thinking she's much cooler and well-liked than she really is. This way of speaking communicates this because it sounds girly and high-class to her, but annoying and disingenous to others; much like the English Rita no doubt sounds trendy and buddy-buddy and coquettish to herself, but annoying and disingenous to others. It also fits because 2) it makes the reader instantly dislike and distrust the character. They know that her apparent sweetness is only on the surface.

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Old June 5th, 2012, 1:23 pm
ibishtar  Undisclosed.gif ibishtar is offline
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Re: So you want to study Japanese?

Thank you so much for the in-depth answer, that is really interesting. I'm guessing that the pretentiousness also works where she would like to give the impression to her interviewees that she's a flattering and classy writer, when in truth her stuff is all very low-brow and catty.

It does sound like that type of speech would suit Umbridge, but I think my friend was still on GoF when we met.

Last edited by ibishtar; June 5th, 2012 at 1:25 pm.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 8:47 am
Aniks_Dono  Male.gif Aniks_Dono is offline
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Learn the intriguing language of japanese. I find it fun.

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