Julie (jesuslovesbono) wrote in linguaphiles,

Japanese question

What are the plural forms of "haiku" and "senryu"?
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August 2 2014, 00:33:19 UTC 9 months ago

Japanese nouns don't typically have plural forms.


August 2 2014, 00:38:32 UTC 9 months ago

Oh , I didn't know that . Thanks


August 2 2014, 00:45:59 UTC 9 months ago

No worries :) There are a few irregular cases where a plural form is possible, but mostly they don't modify nouns that way.


August 4 2014, 10:03:57 UTC 9 months ago

Now I'm curious about the exceptions. Care to give examples?


August 4 2014, 10:32:41 UTC 9 months ago

The only one I know is adding ~tachi to the end of certain words referring to people.

Watashi = I
Watashitachi = we
Hito = person
Hitotachi = people
Boku = I (male)
Bokutachi = We (males)


August 4 2014, 17:56:00 UTC 9 months ago

Interesting. Thanks.


August 5 2014, 14:18:35 UTC 9 months ago

This is better viewed as a collective suffix rather than a plural. That is, senseitachi is a particular group of teachers acting together rather than "teachers" in general. It can even be added to personal names, in which case it means "so-and-so and their associates" rather than "people named so-and-so".

In short, the usage is comparable to Standard Chinese 們/们 -men or (to a lesser degree) Korean 들 deul.


August 6 2014, 00:50:20 UTC 9 months ago

Yeah, I actually knew about -tachi, though I didn't realise it was restricted to a certain set of nouns.


August 6 2014, 00:59:46 UTC 9 months ago

It's a pragmatic rather than a lexical restriction. That is to say, it's prototypically animate but it can be applied to semantically inanimate nouns when they are personified. For instance, you could say kuruma-tachi if you were talking about, say, the characters in the movie Cars.


August 6 2014, 03:15:35 UTC 9 months ago

Okay, yeah, that's definitely interesting.