第85課: 語尾 II: わ, な, と, の, さ, ぞ, ぜ, & え
語尾, as we have learned, are interjectory particles that show all sorts of emotions.
The Final Particle わ
わ is colloquial – used in casual speech – than よ with gender restrictions based on tone. If high, it is associated with standard feminine speech. If low, it is associated with 関西弁 in which both men and women use it frequently. It may also list things with exclamation; this isn’t necessarily feminine.
I’m really troubled.
Well, that’s great.
Usage Note: ～わよ is very feminine. Extremely feminine and extremely masculine expressions are in somewhat of a decline in favor of more gender neutral ones. They are also not going to be used in polite speech.
The van broke, I got stranded, and I’ve had a day!
Particle Note: The sentence above is a great example of the usage of particles as filler words after clauses mentioned in the last section.
I’ll talk about that once I’ve gone and met (with him).
From 門 by 夏目漱石.
Contraction Note: ～らあ is a contraction of ～るわ and is equivalent to ～るなぁ in this context.
Historical Note: わ is an evolved form of は.
The Final Particle な
1. な is for the most part the masculine version of ね. However, females have begun to use it as well, particularly those that are seen as being stronger than the average woman. This should not be used in polite situations.
I, uh, this time, will win.
Um, you mustn’t drink sake here, you know.
What a pain!
If you don’t come, it’ll be boring.
Someone came, didn’t they?
The sinner is you, isn’t it!
2. Placed after the 終止形 (the end form) of a verb to show a strong negative command.
Don’t do such a thing!
Don’t do it!
Contraction Note: ～るな is often contracted to ～んな. Even if a verb doesn’t end in the sound, ん is often inserted before な. So, things 話すんな are becoming more common. Again, don’t use these contractions in polite situations.
3. Used as a contraction of ～なさい,. Don’t confuse this with Usage 2!
Come here for a moment.
The Final Particle と
There are three very different usages of the final particle と.
- In a question with a high intonation, it presents a demanding question. This is used in casual or vulgar speech.
- In っと it is used to declare something with a light tone. It is used in plain speech.
- とさ is used with polite endings in story-telling.
You say no!?
21. 知らねーっと。（Vulgar; slang）
I don’t know.
And they lived happily ever after.
You want to quit!?
Grammar Note: だと is allowed here because it is acting as a final particle.
The Final Particle の
The final particle の is becoming more unisex in appeal, but guys should be careful with their tone of voice. As said earlier, it can show a decisiveness/confirmation, reasoning with a low pitch, and question with a high pitch. Patterns that are particularly feminine include （な）のよ, のね, and の！.
I don’t want to do it!
It’s a break!
You forgot your homework?
27. ああ、そうだったの。（A little feminine)
Ah, is that so?
It was bad as expected, wasn’t it?
You’re not coming tomorrow?
Didn’t you have work?
Strong guys don’t cry.
32. おお、まことか、よく来たの。（Old person)
Oh, it’s you Makoto; good of you to come.
Speech Style Note: The last sentence sounds like it came from an old person. よく来たな is a more masculine yet more common way to say it. よく来たね is more gender neutral. As you can see, it’s different from the other sentences above.
The Final Particle さ
さ is a signature feature of Tokyo speech and is the Japanese equivalent to the overuse of “like” in English. Don’t use this in polite speech. This is very casual, and the usage is rather random based on region and age. The people most likely to use it are young people in and around the capital area （首都圏）.
Tokyo is like really pretty.
Tomorrow is, um, cause it’s Saturday, we’re going to be on break.
What the, that guy!
Grammar Note: さ is typically not placed after だ as the first example demonstrates. However, many speakers don’t follow this.
The Particle ぞ
ぞ is very casual and at times harsh. ぞ, which is associated with masculine speech, creates a casual yet strong assertive emphasis. It may also be used to make a rhetorical question. Its role as being strongly masculine is in decline, but it is still used frequently, just not with as much of the gender baggage. You should not use this in polite speech.
If you don’t do it now, you’ll fail!
Anyway, I’m going home.
It’s because you didn’t study that you didn’t pass your test!
40a. あれは何者ぞ。 (Very old-fashioned)
40b. あいつは何者だ？ (More natural)
Who is that?
Phrasing Note: Using ぞ in making a rhetorical question is rather archaic.
The Final Particle ぜ
ぜ rudely and or forcefully pushes an idea. Due to this, it is only appropriate in casual conversation and should never be used with your superiors (in a typical situation). Only if you and your superior(s) are drunk should you ever use it; that is unless you’re quitting.
ぜ has historically been extremely masculine, but it is now not completely out of the norm for female speakers to use it among themselves. This, though, may make them look unfeminine. Strong female bodybuilders can use ぜ just like a rough playing boy child in a schoolyard.
It is because of these reasons why experience in hearing them used is the best way to truly know the full realm of their usage.
Origin Note: ぜ is the contraction of ぞえ.
The Final Particle え
Although no longer common, え is used to either to call for someone or push an idea for questioning something. It’s often in the pattern ぞえ. You might hear something with this in it in some old-fashioned drama.
44. お上さんえ (Old-fashioned)
Spelling Note: ぞえ and ぞぇ are both common spellings, and the pattern is still common among many speakers. It’s just that using the particle in any other situation is very uncommon.