Gender Difference in Spoken Japanese

Japanese is a language in which the speech of women collectively differs from that of men in a very high degree. A man using feminine speech might be considered effeminate, but his utterances would not be considered grammatically incorrect. In general, the words and speech patterns considered masculine are also seen as rough, vulgar or abrupt, while the feminine words and patterns make a sentence more polite, more deferential or softer.

There are no gender differences in written Japanese, except in quoted speech, and almost no differences in polite speech, but that women may be more likely to use polite speech in the first place.

Non-native male learners who inadvertently pick up a feminine speech may sound awkward or cause embarrassment, and they may also sound feminine in casual situations if polite speech is overly used.

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