Japan[ese],  Q&A,  Queer[ness]

Q&A: “So using “jibun” can work as a personal pronoun?”

anonymous said:

hey i saw your post about how to say you’re NB in japanese and that’s super cool but i have a question. So using “jibun” can work as a personal pronoun? because i’ve seen it as such but i also thought it was closer to use it for the word “oneself” rather than a simpler “i” or “me”. Also it might mean “yourself” in kansai dialect or something? Could you expand on that if it’s not too much trouble? please and thanks

( re: this post )

自分 (”jibun”) is a reflective pronoun that generally refers back to the person using it. how it translates into English is simply a matter of grammar (ie. what grammatical role it’s serving within a sentence).

例 / example:

※ 自分は別に納豆が嫌いなわけじゃないけどさ…

JP: jibun wa betsu ni nattou ga kirai wake janai kedo sa…

EN:it’s not like particularly hate natto or anything, but…



JPjibun no tanjoubi sae mo wasurechatte, chou hazuashii.

ENi can’t believe i forgot my own birthday. how embarrassing!



JP: yuka ni enpitsu wo mitsukete, dare no ka tte omotetara, yappari jibun no datta.

EN:i found a pencil on the floor and wondered whose it was, but it was mine after all.



JP:eeh, chotto matte. shiken ni zurushita hito ga itteta tte, jibun no koto desu ka?

EN:whaa, hold up. you mentioned someone having cheated on the test, were you talking about me??



JP:mukashi no jibun wa ima no jibun to chigauzo!

EN:i’m not the same today as was in the past! (lit. “the old me is different from current me!”)

as for 自分 / jibun being used to mean “yourself” etc in Kansai-ben, i’m not familiar enough with Kansai-ben enough anymore to really comment on that, but in general it’s sometimes used that way (or as a general, collective “themselves”) when it refers back to the subject of a sentence. in such cases, it’s not really a dialectal thing, it’s just a standard feature of Japanese. again, it really just depends on grammar, and in this case context.

例 / example:

※ 明日の遠足ですが、みんなはそれぞれ自分のお弁当や水筒を忘れないように。

JPashita no ensoku desu ga, minna wa sorezore jibun no obentou ya suitou wo wasurenai you ni.

ENabout tomorrow’s excursion, don’t forget to bring your own lunch / water bottle. (or “…don’t forget everyone needs to bring their own lunch and water bottle.”)


※ なんでカムする度に相手はいつも自分のことしか考えないのだろう。

JPnande kamu suru tabi ni aite wa itsumo jibun no koto shika kangaenai no darou.

ENwhy is it that every time i come out to someone, the person i come out to only ever thinks about themself??

TL;DR: 自分 / jibun is a really flexible pronoun, which is why out of all of the various first-person pronouns in Japanese, it’s probably the one i use the most.

YouTuber and Blogger, Vesper is an American expat currently living in Japan.

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