Japanese Particles Women Should Avoid Using

  • As a rule of thumb in Japan, the use of tough sounding ending particles in informal speech are only exclusive to men. Today, the expectations on women with respect to speech have relaxed as reflected in the J-pop culture such as manga, anime, and drama. However, some Japanese are still conscious about the use of ending particles in a sentence such as ne, yo, and ka.

    Women and the Japanese Language

    It is common knowledge that the Japanese language is greatly influenced by gender. Women are expected to speak in a more polite, feminine, subtle, and emphatic manner than men since they traditionally assume a subordinate position in the society. While deviations in the language norms are evident in the younger generation of women these days, the use of colloquial language is taken into consideration as this may still come as a shock to some Japanese who were raised in a very traditional setting.

    ZO, ZE AND NA: Ending Particles That Women Should Avoid Using

    In general, some people in Japan especially in the local areas, still pay attention to the nuances and usage of words. But since Japanese are also known for being polite and considerate, they will not immediately point out such mistakes. However, to avoid being embarrassed during a conversation here are some ending particles that women do not use often.

    1. Zo (ぞ)

    This tough sounding particle is exclusively used by men in colloquial language. It functions as an emphasis suggesting certainty of a certain topic in the sentence. This particle also suggests that the speaker is confident. The particle wa (わ) is the female counterpart of zo (ぞ).

    Metcha tsukareta zo!
    I’m all in!

    2. Ze (ぜ)

    This particle has a function similar to zo (ぞ) as an emphasis statement. However, the only slight difference is that it is used in extremely informal language. Ze (ぜ) is also used when making suggestions. Women on the other hand use wa (わ) as the counterpart of ze (ぜ) when it is used as an emphatic statement. At the same time, women also use ne (ね) to soften a suggestion.

    Are wa sen en da ze!
    Hey! that’s one thousand yen!

    Ippai asobu ze!
    Let’s have some good fun!

    3. Na (な)

    This particle is used similarly with zo (ぞ) and ze (ぜ) to add emphasis to statements. However, this particle has other functions that should not be confused: as a wish (something that is very difficult to do), and as a particle of the negative imperative (direct orders of prohibition).

    Amerika he ikitai na.
    I’d love to go to the US!

    Kore wo kowasu na!
    Don’t break this!

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