Female Character Speech Pattern Compendium

The way an anime character speaks makes a lot of impact on his/her popularity. Suiseiseki wouldn’t have been this popular if she hadn’t ended all of her sentences with “desu,” and Wilhemina would have been just a forgetable character if she hadn’t expressed her militarist trait with “dearimasu.” This entry attempts to identify various speech patterns of anime/manga characters and compile a growing list of charectors using them. The reason why I’m doing this: well, categorizing is fun, of course, and I’m bored.

Methodology

Speech patterns are identified by the following components:

  1. The way the character conjugates verbs, adjectives, and copula.
  2. The usage of pronouns.
  3. Accent on particular words.
  4. The type of personality/social status it implies.

I add a character to the list of the pattern if he/she uses the pattern most
frequently.

A Bit of Terminology

I learned Japanese from Japanese: the Spoken Language series. According to
the books, there are two major styles of speech: direct and distal. In direct style, you use verb in its dictionary form and use copula “da” without changing it to “desu.” Direct style speech is casual, and, as such, should only be used to address your close friends or people who has to respect you. In distal style, you use verbs in their “-masu” form and use “desu” instead of “da.” Distal style is polite and formal, and so can be used to address people with
high social statuses than yours.

The List

The Casual: She speaks in plain direct style addresses herself by “atashi” or “watashi,” but never adds “wa” to the end of any sentences she speaks. This is probably the most common pattern. It gives the impression that the character is non-assertive.

Examples: Yuuma (Magical Pokaan), Yuzuhara Konomi (To Heart 2), Shirogane Souju (Futakoi Alternative), Tsukamoto Yakumo (School Rumble)

The Self-confident: The same as the normal pattern except that she occasionally adds “wa” to the end of sentences to make herself sound more feminine. Very common, but a little less so than the previous. I associate this pattern with characters that are self-confident and assertive, so they use “wa” to make their speech sound less asssertive.

Examples: Suzumiya Haruhi (The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi), Saegusa Matsuri (Kamichu!), Shirogane Sara (Futakoi Alternative), Kousaka Tamaki (To Heart 2), Sawashika Eri (School Rumble)

The Feminine: Direct style with a lot of “wa” thrown in at the end of sentences. The character either (1) is genuinely feminine, or (2) carries themselves with a lot of either pride or charisma and uses feminine “wa” to soften their tones.

Examples: Shinku (Rozen Maiden), Takano Akira (School Rumble), Kalua Majorum (Galaxy Angel II)

The Polite: She speaks in distal styles to her friends and even to underclassmen, and call others by the name suffixed by “-san.” The character appears formal and non-assertive. Docility is often implied.

Examples: Asahina Mikuru (The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi), Aiko (Magical Pokaan), Fuyou Kaede (Shuffle!), Ayase Yue (Mahou Sensei Negima)

The High-class Ojou-sama: She speaks in distal style, ends a lot of sentences with “wa,” calls herself by “watakushi” instead of the common “watashi.” Characters who speak in this pattern either are genuinely from a well-to-do family, or just aspire to be an ojou-sama.

Example: Kanzaki Sumire (Sakura Taisen), Kannazuki Megumi (Muteki Kanban Musume), Mint (Galaxy Angel), Houjou Satoko (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)

The Boku-ko: Speaks mainly in plain direct style with no “wa” or other suffixes, and addresses herself as “boku.” As a result, she sounds tomboyish (or shota-ish), but in fact can be very feminine.

Examples: Shigure Asa (Shuffle!), Sakuraba Anju (Gacha Gacha), Furude Rika (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)

The Strong: Speaks in plain distal style and call friends and underclassmen, girls and boys alike, “omae,” but addresses herself by “watashi” or “atashi.” These characters see herselves as an equal of men in terms of physical strength.

Examples: Kurogane Otome (Tsuyokiss), Suou Mikoto (School Rumble)

The Rude: Very similar to the strong pattern, but has propensity to conjugate verbs and adjectives to “e” sound (for example: jya nai -> jya nee, yawarakai -> yawarake), and/or often ends sentences with the masculine “ze.” Call others “omae.” She sounds rough, rude, and very masculine.

Examples: Hasegawa Chisame (Mahou Sensei Negima), Kanisawa Kinu (Tsuyokiss), Kirisame Marisa (Touhou Series), Forte (Galaxy Angel)

The Princess: Speaks like an old man. Uses “jya” in place of “da.” Addresses herself by “warawa,” “ware,” or “waga,” and addresses others by “sonata” or “onushi.” Most characters using speech patterns are princesses, and hence the name.

Examples: Lymsleia (Suikoden V), Melissa Seraphy (Wagamama Capriccio), Kiku (Raimuiro Senkitan)

The Militarist: Conjugates copula “da” to “dearimasu.”

Examples: Wilhemina Carmel (Shakugan no Shana), Yuzuhara Konomi (To
Heart 2)

The Chinese: Uses “aru” in place of “da,” ends a lot of sentences with “ne,” and doesn’t seem to be able to pronounce words like “datta” and “nakatta” right.

Examples: Ku Fei (Mahou Sensei Negima), Chao Lingchen (Mahou Sensei Neigma)

The Traditional Warrior: Conjugates copula “da” to “degozaru,” and addresses herself as “zessya.”

Examples: Nagase Kaede (Mahou Sensei Negima)

The Eccentric: These characters mostly end their sentences with weird
and annoying suffixes.

  • The “desu”: Examples include Suiseiseki (Rozen Maiden; speaks in
    direct style), Chisa Tsukamoto (Comic Party; speaks in distal style),
    Chanohana Tamami (Mahoraba), and Yue Ayase (speaks in distal style).
  • The “desuno:” Mikage Subaru (Comic Party), Myu (Tales of the Abyss)
  • The “desunii:” Nia (Dears).
  • The “nano:” Hina Ichigo (Rozen Maiden).
  • The “nanoda:”Tomoka Lana Jude (Girls Bravo), Nano-nano pudding.
  • The “kashira:” Kanaria (Rozen Maiden).
  • The “yo:” That nameless character in Mahoraba.

List of Uncommon Interjections

  • Pagyu: Mikage Subaru (Comic Party)
  • Fumyo: Ouba Eimi (Comic Party)
  • Hanyaan: Kinomoto Sakura (Cardcaptor Sakura)
  • Hoe: Kinomoto Sakura (Cardcaptor Sakura)
  • Gao: Kamio Misuzu (Air)
  • Uguu: Tsukimiya Ayu (Kanon)
  • Nipaa: Furude Rika (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)
  • Mii: Furude Rika (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)
  • Kyaha: Nakayama Chinatsu (Sensei no Ojikan)
  • Maho: Katagiri Himeko (Pani Poni Dash!)

Yeah, I’m tired. More on this later…

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5 Comments

  1. Lenners
    Posted October 6, 2006 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting, boku! (Boku is my “weird ending”)

  2. Kurisu
    Posted October 6, 2006 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Wow, thanks! Nice list

  3. wontaek
    Posted October 6, 2006 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Try ‘uchi’ and ‘chya’ by Lum in Uruseiyatsura.

  4. Posted December 15, 2006 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    hey nice site

  5. Tyetheczar
    Posted January 23, 2007 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    If I had control over the dub for Negima, oy. I’d shock fans by giving each character various accents in English.
    Nagase Kaede, Narutaki twins-Canadian
    Ku Fei, Chao Lingshen- Black or Mexican
    Naba Chizuru- Yiddish or Swedish or New Yorker
    Murakami Natsumi- Scottish
    Asakura Kazumi- Brooklyn
    Tatsumiya Mana- Jamacian accent or Spanish or German

    You dig, oy? Oh, and I’d leave in ALL the formalities and crap, oy. including the endings.

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