1-10 Honorific and Disdainful Language


1-10-1 Honorific Language

Kyoto's peculiar honorific language, for example「おいでやす」etc. is being affected by the standard honorific language and is thus become uncommon in usage.

Given that, the only thing currently still in common use is the auxiliary verb「はる」. Let us begin our explanation from「はる」.

1-10-1-1 Auxiliary Verb「はる」

It is believed that this came into existence via the following sound change:「読みなさる→読みなはる→読みやはる→読みゃはる→読まはる」.

The conjugation is godan:「はる・はった・はって・はります・はらん/はらへん」excepting that there is no imperative form. The negative is more often「はらへん」than「はらん」.

Among the Kyo-kotoba honorific expressions, this「はる」is the least heavy, so it at times used as in「お父さん会社行かはった」「お姉ちゃん、外で遊んだはる」etc. and sometimes when referring to one's friends' and relatives' speech and conduct to an outside party.

The usage of this sort of「はる」seems to appear strange to people of other prefectures, and some of those seem to combine it with disordered language in their heads, but this is not likely the case.

The so-called "display of respect" in Japanese is essentially considered the same as "placing a set distance between oneself and one's addressee." Given that, failing to use honorifics with one's superiors or upon meeting someone for the first time, the speaker will be thought of as being "overly familar and shortening the distance willfully", the result being evaluated as a "rude person".

And in Kyoto, there is a tendency to set such a distance even with one's own family members. Due to this, it is believed that「はる」is used to speak of one's friends' and family members' activities.

「はる」attaches to verbs as shown in the table below.

Table 1 「はる」Attachment
Verb ClassAttachment MethodExample
Godan Verbattach to imperfective form言わはる(言う)、書かはる(書く)
Ichidan Verb(3-mora+)attach directly to conjunctive form起きはる(起きる)、食べはる(食べる)
Ichidan Verb(2-mora)add「や*」to conjunctive form見やはる(見る)、いやはる(いる)
* This「はる」is probably a vestige of the「やはる」era. Refer to the above "evolution process". To say why this rule only applies to 2-mora ichidan verbs & カ-/サ-irregular, it is because attaching「〜はる」directly to the conjunctive form causes them to become 3-mora words:「いはる・きはる・しはる」.
To a Kyoto person's senses, this does not sit too well, so「や」is inserted to create 4-mora words.

Precisely because this resembles the same evolution process, one can also see its resemblance to the negative「へん」attachment to verbs (ref. Attaching「へん」).

Furthermore, though not shown in the graph above, when「はる」is attached to「〜て」expressions e.g.「して」「言うて」「見て」etc., the「て」often changes to「た」to become「したはる」「言うたはる」「見たはる」.

The "あ" sound often precedes「はる」as seen in「言はる」「書はる」「しはる」etc., so it is believed that the「て→た」change is probably mimicking this.

1-10-1-2 Auxiliary Verb「(お)〜なはる」

The origin of「はる」is the honorific expression「(お)読みなさる・(お)読みなはる(both○●●○○)」. With an old history, it appears in literature from the middle of the Edo period.

 The conjugation is godan just like「はる」, but in this case there is imperative「なさい/なはい」. It is not said「なされ/なはれ」as in Osaka.

In the standard dialect, there is a tendency to avoid using this「お〜なさる」「お〜なさい」with verbs that have only 1-mora conjunctive forms e.g.「見る」「出る」「いる」, but in Kyo-kotoba it can also be used with such 1-mora verbs.

Table 2 「お」+1-mora Conjunctive+「なさる」
Original Verb Kyo-kotoba
(Used as is)
(Replaced with a different word)
「見る」 「お見なはる・お見なはい(おみない)」 「ご覧なさる・ご覧なさい」
「いる」 「おいなはる・おいなはい(おいない)」 「いらっしゃる/おいでになる・

 Recently, this honorific expression is becoming less used outside of polite imperative (request)「しなさい・しなはい(both ●●○○)」and polite prohibitive「しなさんな・しなはんな(both ●●○○○)」.

1-10-1-3 「お〜やす」

With respect to Kyo-kotoba, this is the highest honorific expression.

It is used by inserting the conjunctive form in between, as in「お見やす(ご覧になる)」「おしやす(なさる)」「お書きやす(お書きになる)」.

As for place of usage, in addition to store employees saying「おいでやす」or「おこしやす」as a polite request upon receiving visitors, it is also used for questions as in「お食べやすか?」.

The conjugation is shown below.

Table 3 「やす」Conjugation
ExamplePresentPastImperative (Request)(Negative)

Thus, it is like an incomplete godan conjugation (however, negative form is very seldom used).



1-10-2 Disdainful Language

There are auxiliaries to show spite or scorn that attach to verbs:「よる(おる)」「やがる」「くさる」「さらす」「けつかる」. These are roughly ordered in descending level of dignity.

「よる」is a variation of godan verb「おる/●○」, and is used by attaching to other verbs' conjunctive forms:「しよる/●○○」「言いよる/●●○○」「読みよる/○●○○」. That is not to say that「しおる」「言いおる」「読みおる」are impossible to pronounce, but nowadays saying「よる」sounds more natural.

Furthermore in other western Japanese dialects「しよる」「降りよる」are progressive forms, but it is not so in modern Kyoto-kotoba.

「やがる/●●●」「くさる/●○○」「さらす/●○○」also attach to verbs' conjunctive forms in the same way:「しやがる/●●●●」「言いやがる/●●●●●」「しくさる/●●○○」.

「けつかる/●●○○〜●○○○」does not attach to the conjunctive form, but instead the「て-form」:「して‐けつかる/●●‐●●○○」「言うて‐けつかる/●●●‐●●○○」.

1-10-2-1 「おる」

In addition to the above spiteful meaning, the original form of auxiliary「よる」 (that is,「おる」) can also be used to mean the same as the ichidan verb「いる(居る)」e.g.「誰々がおる」「何々しておる」, but even when this「おる」is used independently, usually the feeling there includes that of spite.

For example「何してるの?(←「何しているの?」)」is a simple neutral question, but saying「何しとるの?(←「何しとおるの?」←「何しておるの?」)」, it appears to often carry a partly shocked, and sometimes angered, nuance.

Because「おる」has this inherent scornful sense, as a general rule honorific auxiliaries do not attach to it. For particles「はる」and「お〜やす」, they always attach to「いる」:「いやはる」「いはる」「おいやす」。「おらはる」「おおりやす」are certainly not said.

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