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Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby bethschlueter5055 » May 29th, 2015 10:25 am


Can someone please help me out? I just cannot understand the difference between she and girlfriend. I understand the difference between kare (he) and kareshi (boyfriend) but I cannot understand girlfriend. Also what is kanojyo? Sometimes I see this form as well.

Re: Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby thegooseking » May 29th, 2015 8:02 pm


bethschlueterさんYour second question is actually easier to answer, so I"ll begin with that. The Japanese word is the same in both cases: かのじょ. It"s simply that some romanisation styles render じょ as "jo", while others render it as "jyo". The sound is made up of the character "ji" and a small "yo". In the case of other consonants, this would normally be written as +yo (e.g. きょ - a "ki" plus a small "yo" would be romanised "kyo"). Therefore "jyo" is consistent with that.Other romanisation styles, however, treat "j" as a special case, since "jo" (and, for that matter "ja" and "ju") are perfectly adequate roman renderings of the sound anyway, without the need to introduce a "y". I"d be tempted to say that "jyo" is orthographic - i.e. based on how the sound is written in Japanese - while "jo" is phonetic, based on how the sound, well, sounds.Ultimately, though, which style you choose is, 99.9% of the time, just down to personal preference - the other 0.1% would be maybe if you work for a newspaper or publisher that insists on a specific style.So, onto your main question. The real difference is context. "She" is a pronoun. You may have heard the English phrase "Who is "she", the cat"s mother?" That phrase applies when you use the pronoun without a referent. That is to say, in English, you should only use "she" after you"ve introduced who you"re talking about. It"s the same in Japanese. If you"re already talking about a woman, it"s likely that "kanojo" means "she". If, however, "kanojo" comes out of nowhere, it probably means "girlfriend".This is maybe better explained with a few examples of how context can be established.Kanojo wa Gurazugō ni sunde imasu. means "My girlfriend lives in Glasgow." There is no-one for "kanojo" to refer to as a pronoun, so it means "girlfriend".Jūshi ga imasu. Kanojo wa Gurazugō ni sunde imasu. means "I have an elder female cousin. She lives in Glasgow." I"m already talking about a woman, so "kanojo" probably means "she".Imoto wa kumo ga suki desu. Demo, kanojo wa kumo ga kirai desu. means my little sister has a love/hate relationship with spiders.Imoto wa kumo ga suki desu. Demo, kanojo ga kumo ga kirai desu. means my little sister likes them but my girlfriend hates them. Using "ga" instead of "wa" implies a comparison, which in turn serves as context that we"re talking about two different people.Kanojo wa bengoshi desu ka? Kanojo wa umai deshō. means "Your girlfriend is a lawyer? She must be smart." In the first sentence, "kanojo" doesn"t have a referent, so it means "girlfriend". In the second sentence, its referent is, well, "kanojo".Kanojo wa bengoshi desu ka? Watashi no kanojo ga umai deshō. means (loosely translated) "Your girlfriend is a lawyer? You know, my girlfriend is smart..." We use "watashi no" to indicate that we are talking about my girlfriend, because "my she" doesn"t make sense.I"ve probably made that far more complicated than it needs to be, but I hope that helps.小狼
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Re: Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby bethschlueter5055 » May 30th, 2015 3:20 am


It really does help a lot. I am just starting my journey to learn Japanese.
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So to make sure I understand this, there really is no difference between kanojyo and kanojo except preference. And she and girlfriend is the same words but with different context. So if someone wanted to say "she is my girlfriend" it would be something like "Kanojo wa no kanojo desu" right?Also one more quick question. Why does ga change the meaning of the sentence you used as an example? I haven"t seen that yet
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Re: Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby Murius » May 30th, 2015 6:11 pm


I guess it depends on the specific norm your country adopted for transliteration of non-roman characters. I like japanese chess, and so far I have seen syougi, shôgi and shougi. Here"s an example for a Russian name: Chostakovitch (français)Schostakowitsch (allemand)Shostakovich (anglais)Sjostakovitj (danois, suédois)Sjostakovitsj (finnois, néerlandais)Šostakovič (tchèque)Şostakoviç (turc)Sosztakovics (hongrois)Szostakowicz (polonais)

Re: Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby thegooseking » May 30th, 2015 9:20 pm


bethschlueterさん、Unfortunately the difference between wa and ga is not a "quick question". It"s quite complicated and I"m typing on my phone right now so I can"t give as detailed an explanation as I"d like. Suffice to say, when you use ga where you"d normally use wa, or wa where you"d normally use ga, it has a mild implication of comparison, sort of like emphasising that you"re talking about a new thing rather than still talking about the previous thing.Muriusさん、It"s certainly true that transliteration can change by country. For instance the ら column is normally transliterated with an "r" in English, but it sounds nothing like a French "r", so France transliterates it with an "l". Recently I"ve been looking at old Portuguese transliterations of Japanese, from the early days of European contact with Japan. They say the past is a foreign country, so those transliterations are doubly foreign. You can still make out what they say, but they look very unfamiliar.But even within English there are two or three main transliteration styles. Hepburn is the only one I can ever remember the name of, but it"s not the one I personally use.小狼

Re: Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby Murius » May 31st, 2015 1:31 am


I"ll do a quick answer and then you can correct my mistakes thegooseking!wa is the marker for the "thematic" subject and ga for the grammatical oneThe first sentence - Imoto wa kumo ga suki desu - introduced the "thematic" subject: "imoto", so subsequent references would use wa to imply this "thematic" subject. So if ga is used for the second part when wa should have been used to refer to this "thematic" subject, a new subject is implied.However most of the time the locutor takes pains to make sure the subject is clear. I even remember a line from the Girls & Panzer anime that went something like this:"Mako and her mother quarelled the day before she died. She never had a chance to make peace, Mako."It must have been the first time I heard something like this, I was amazed. Don"t even rework your sentence so it gets clearer, just drop the subject at the end like so much dead weight. Talk about pragmatic!

Re: Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby community.japanese » May 31st, 2015 7:30 pm


MuriusKonnichiwa.Japanese native speakers often drop subjects in sentences so I agree with you. Talk about pragmatic!bethschlueter5055san,konnichiwa.Thank you for the questions.Regarding jo and jyo, what 小狼 san said is right.Then regarding the word kanjo ‘彼女’ and ‘ga and wa’. When you use a sentence structure including suki first time in a conversation, you should use “person wa something ga suki desu.”For example, A: Imouto wa kumo ga suki desu. (my younger sister like a spider.)B: soudesuka. (I see.) chou wa doudesuka. (How about a butterfly?)A: kanojo wa chou wa suki janaidesu. (She doesn’t like butterflies.)Person A starts the topic whether his younger sister likes a spider or not. Then person B asks about a topic similar to spiders. (A spider is not an insect however, both a spider and a butterfly are arthropods.) Afterwards person A uses wa before suki. This ‘wa’ indicates comparison. It compares a spider and a butterfly here. And person A also uses ‘kanojo’, it is one of pronouns as 小狼さん said and it refers to imouto (my younger sister). Therefore, it means ‘she.’However, Japanese native sparkers often drop that ‘kanojo’ and just say ‘chou wa suki janaidesu.’Now let’s see other example.Suppose person A and person B are native Japanese speakers and they are close friends. Person B knows that person A has a girl friend.B: imouto san wa kumo ga sukidesuka.(does your younger sister like a spider?)A: hai, Imouto wa kumo ga suki desu. (yes, my younger sister likes a spider.) Kanojo mo kumo ga sukidesu. (my girlfriend also likes it.)Here ‘kanojo’ person A uses means ‘girlfriend.’ Because it doesn’t refer to anyone in this conversation.Regarding sentencesKanojo wa bengoshi desu ka? Kanojo wa umai deshō.First, umai is used for skillful in something so it must be used likeKanojo wa ryouri ga umai desu. She is skillful in cooking.Kanojo wa piano ga umai desu. She is skillful in piano.Just ‘umai’ is not used for people as smart.The sentence must be ‘kanojo wa atama ga iideshō’ here.Then about ‘kanojo’ here, unfortunately it could mean ‘girlfriend’ and it could not mean ‘girlfriend’ either.It depends on people in this conversation know each othe,what they talked before, the circumstances and situations.For example, person A and person B are close friends and person A knows about person B has a girlfriend. There is no lady around them. Then suddenly person A starts using ‘kanojo.’Person A: kanjo wa bengoshi desuka? (is your girlfriend a lawyer? )Person B: hai soudesu.In this case that ‘kanjo’ is person B’s girlfriend because there is no lady and this ‘kanjo’ can’t refer to anyone.I hope it could be helpful.Yuki 由紀Team y2kcenter.org

Re: Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby bethschlueter5055 » June 1st, 2015 5:20 am


Thank you everyone so much for all your help!!! I am still a beginner at this and am learning more everyday with everyone help! I think I understand now the difference! The last thing I am trying to figure out is rather 小狼 is hiragana or katakana lol. I am still learning that as well
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Domo arigato gozaimasu

Re: Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby thegooseking » June 1st, 2015 9:16 am


bethschlueterさん、小狼 is kanji. It"s a rather loose translation of what my surname means rather than how it sounds. 小 means "little" and 狼 is the character for "wolf". 小 is jouyou kanji, which is the set of around 2000 kanji the Japanese government expects everybody to learn, but 狼 is jinmeiyou kanji - the set of kanji that is used in names, but not normally in general writing. (Although it means "wolf", it"s common in Japan to write animals in kana.)Don"t be put off by the prospect of learning 2000 kanji. After the first 100, you get a good feel for how kanji "work", and learning more becomes a lot easier!由紀先生、Thank you for the corrections. I should use my print dictionary for finding Japanese words - online dictionaries all seem to be better at translating Japanese into English than the other way round.小狼

Re: Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby community.japanese » June 3rd, 2015 5:19 pm


bethschlueterさん、konnichiwa.You are really keen about studying Japanese.Sugoidesu! Great!小狼 san,どういたしまして。Online translation doesn’t work well sometimes…It should be improving.
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Yuki 由紀Team y2kcenter.org

Re: Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby NihongoWaBenkyotte_500383 » June 8th, 2015 12:39 am


bethschlueter5055 wrote:Can someone please help me out? I just cannot understand the difference between she and girlfriend. I understand the difference between kare (he) and kareshi (boyfriend) but I cannot understand girlfriend. Also what is kanojyo? Sometimes I see this form as well.
I had the same question, and I was told that Japanese people are often using someone"s name when they are talking about them rather than this particular pronoun. Context matters, but if you"re worried about it, just use their name.

Re: Difference between she (kanojo) and girlfriend (kanojo)

Postby community.japanese » June 8th, 2015 11:42 am


san,Yes, that’s right.Japanese people often use others’ names.I agree with you.Yuki 由紀Team y2kcenter.org


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