Male and female Japanese: How males and females speak differently in Japanese : In speech there are subtle differences between the spoken language of both men and women. Whether it’s certain vocabulary choices, sentence patterns or the use of particles, natives of a language can pick this up very easily.

Women speak a different language than men in Japanese? For those of you new to the language, this may come as a surprise. However, it is important to understand that there are certain words and sentence enders reserved only for women and those reserved only for men. Today, we’re going to talk about the differences between masculine and feminine Japanese and how not to sound strange when speaking!

Learn Japanese Online with BondLingo

Male and female Japanese: How males and females speak differently in Japanese

Before we begin, we understand that some readers are gender-neutral, and some of you wish not to adhere to a specific gender role. Remember that it’s not essential that you speak in a masculine or feminine way. Just be aware that defined gender speech patterns exist in Japan, and you may come across these patterns when conversing with Japanese people.

We are going to look at these differences in Japanese. Be it male or female, this online Japanese lesson will give you some real insight into how to use to right, gender specific, Japanese and not end up sounding to manly or too womanly. Let’s dive in and start learning everyone!

How females speak in Japanese

Onnarashii, 女らしい, which means, Ladylike or “like a lady” is the perfect word to describe how most Japanese women speak. Women in Japanese firstly tend to speak with a much higher pitch and tone, much like most of the world.

Generally, women tend to be much more polite in Japanese as opposed to males who are more direct and straight to the point. We are now going to look and break down some specific grammar and vocabulary features used by females in Japan.

〜のよ (~no yo).

This can definitely make you sound feminine Japanese and is used by women throughout Japane. If you use this after a na-adjective you can add a “na” before “no yo” too.

~かしら (~kashira)

This sentence ending comes from ”か知らない” which has the same connotations as な in Japanese. It is extremely 女らしい and you would never catch a male using this expression. Only perhaps if he was fooling around.

〜の

The “no” particle can be used instead of か to change a sentence into a question and it can also be used as an exclamatory. The use of this is definitely leans more towards the female side as it somewhat softens the sentence.  

〜ね (~ne)

Women tend to use this more than men and especially lengthen it to ねええ. I’m sure males can get away with using this too but they should maybe stick with the shortened version.

Women often drop the coupla “da” and use “wa” and “na” to end their sentences. If you are a guy this is definitely something you want to try and avoid. Rather than pronouns such as “ore” and “omae” women tend to use pronouns such as “watashi” and “atashi”.

Women also more frequently use honorific prefixes such as “O” and “Go”. I guess it could be said that women are just more polite in general? I’ll leave that to your interpretation.

How males speak in Japanese.

So just like with lady like speech there is also manly ways to speak, or as the Japanese say, otokorashii 男らしい. In general, the way men speak is less polite, shorter and snappier.

One of the biggest things to pick up on with male speech is the sentence ender “da”. Males often use “da” instead of “desu” as it is much more informal and cool.

In Japanese, males often use the pronouns “お前” Omae and “俺” Ore. They could be thought of as quite rough and aggressive however when used between friends they are actually quite endearing.

Males often change い adjectives to an ええ sound. So instead of たかい they will say たけええ. This is heard often in anime by the boisterous male protagonists. You will also hear the use of あいつ and こいつ to mean “this and that person”.

ぞ and ぜ are used by males in Japanese speech to add emphasis to the end of their sentences and they will also use な much more than ね。

Talking about Yourself

Unlike English, there are a few different ways of saying “I” in Japanese. The most common words are 私 (watashi), 僕 (boku), and 俺 (ore). However, depending on what pronoun you use, it will affect how feminine or masculine you sound. Below is a chart for how to say “I” for both genders.

MENWOMEN
JapaneseUsageJapaneseUsage
私 (watakushi)Neutral; only the most formal situations私 (watakushi)Neutral; only the most formal situations
私 (watashi)Neutral; formal situations私 (watashi)Neutral; formal situations
自分 (jibun)Ultra masculine; formal; militaristic, almost archaic あたし (atashi)Ultra feminine; informal; used to sound cute and innocent
僕 (boku)Masculine; informal; used by younger boys 僕 (boku)Masculine; informal; in recent years women are using it to sound tomboyish
俺 (ore)Ultra masculine; informal; used when talking to only close friends and lovers; can come off as hoity toity or vulgar in certain situations
ASK any questions about Japanese!

Talking about Others

As with “I,” there are different ways of saying “you” in Japanese. Below is a chart of common ways of saying “you” for men and women. 

MENWOMEN
JapaneseUsageJapaneseUsage
あなた (anata)Neutral; formalあなた (anata)Neutral; formal
君 (kimi)Masculine; informal; used when talking to lovers 君 (kimi)Masculine; informal; used by women in recent times to talk down to men
お前 (o-mae)Ultra masculine; informal; used when talking down to people or to address close friends or lovers; can be rude or offensiveあんた (anta)Feminine; informal; used to talk down to men
てめえ (temee)Ultra masculine; informal (rare); used when talking down to someone; fighting words

Next is a chart of the different ways of saying “he” and “she” in masculine and feminine speech.

MENWOMEN
JapaneseUsageJapaneseUsage
あの方 (ano kata)Feminine; formal; literally means “that person”
あの人 (ano hito)Neutral; formal; means “that person”あの人 (ano hito)Neutral; formal; means “that person”
あの子 (ano ko)Feminine; informal; literally means “that child” but is used by women to mean “that person”
こいつ (koitsu)Masculine; informal; a shortened form of このやつ (kono yatsu); means “this thing”; used with close friends as a joke or to talk down to people 
あいつ (aitsu)Masculine; informal; a shortened form of あのやつ (ano yatsu); means “that thing”; used with close friends as a joke or to talk down to people

Sentence Enders

Apart from referring to yourself or others, sentence enders in informal conversations also dictate gender speaking style. Below is a chart of masculine and feminine sentence enders. If you notice, women often use わ (wa) and の (no) when ending their sentences, and men use んだ (nda). 

MENWOMEN
JapaneseEnglishJapaneseEnglish
外国人 (gaikokujin da)A foreigner外国人だわ (gaikokujin da wa)A foreigner
外国人だよ (gaikokujin da yo)It’s a foreigner外国人だわよ (gaikokujin da wa yo)It’s a foreigner
安い (yasui)It’s cheap安い (yasui wa)It’s cheap
安い (yasui yo)It’s really cheap安いわよ (yasui wa yo)It’s really cheap
安いんだ (yasui nda)Because it’s cheap安い (yasui no)Because it’s cheap
行く (iku) I’ll go行く(iku wa)I’ll go
行く(iku yo)I’m going now行くわよ(iku wa yo)I’m going now
行く(iku ne)I’m going, alright?行くわね(iku wa ne)I’m going, alright?
行くんだ(iku nda)I’m going行く(iku no)I’m going

Question Enders

And lastly, question enders also dictate whether you are speaking in the correct gender style. Below is a chart of question enders for masculine and feminine speech. Notice that men often use かい (kai) and だい (dai), and women use の (no) and なの (nano). 

MENWOMEN
JapaneseEnglishJapaneseEnglish
外国人かい? (gaikokujin kai)A foreigner?外国人? (gaikokujin)A foreigner?
外国人なのかい?(gaikokujin nano kai)It’s a foreigner?外国人なの? (gaikokujin nano)It’s a foreigner?
安いかい? (yasui kai)It’s cheap?安い? (yasui)It’s cheap?
安いのかい? (yasui no kai)It’s cheap?安い? (yasui no)It’s cheap?
行くかい?(iku kai) Are you going?行く?(iku no)Are you going?
行かない ?(ikanai ka)You’re not going?行かない?(ikanai)You’re not going?
だい?(nan dai)What?なの?(nan nano)What?
どんな人なんだい?(donna hito nan dai)What kind of person is s/he?どんな人なの?(donna hito nano)What kind of person is s/he?
何時行くんだい?(nanji iku ndai)What time are you going?何時行く?(nanji iku no)What time are you going?

Now that you have learned the different speech patterns of men and women, it’s time to get out there and practice! One of the best ways to sound like a native Japanese speaker is to get these gender speech patterns down, and the only way to make sure you have them down is to practice them!

Practice, practice, practice! 

How can I learn to speak like this?

Well in all honesty, this is certainly confusing to grasp at first. The best way to start speaking the way your gender speaks is to become conscious of it. Try taking some of your sentences and turning them into more male or female-like sentences. Listen to more casual and informal conversations as this is where these types of speaking patterns will really become apparent. You should talk with friends and try to shadow them.

To really integrate into Japanese society you should spend time around people your age too. It’s not just about gender as age plays a big part in the use of speech too.

Well guys, that brings our online Japanese lesson to an end. We hope you enjoyed learning about the differences of male and female speech in Japanese and hope you learnt a lot from todays lesson. If you have any more content ideas that you would like us to cover then please let us know.

Have an amazing day and see you in the next lesson. 

Learn Japanese Adjectives with BondLingo

Study in Japan?

blank

Recommend

Japanese verb conjugation chart
10 Japanese Adjectives You Probably Didn’t Know