Words for "man" and "woman" in Japanese (1)

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Nov 22, 2009 17:52 Japanese man woman 日本語 男性 女性 Roomy
The basic Japanese words for "man" and "woman" are 男 (otoko おとこ) and 女 (onna おんな) respectively.
Since Japanese lack any definite plural forms of words, both of these expressions for "There were a lot of men in that room." are correct, as follows:
「その部屋にはたくさんの男がいた。Sono heya ni wa takusan no otoko ga ita.」
「その部屋にはたくさんの男たちがいた。Sono heya ni wa takusan no otokotachi ga ita.」

These words, however, must be replaced by other words according to circumstances:
man: 男 (otoko おとこ); 男性 (dansei だんせい); 男の人 (otoko no hito おとこのひと); 男子 (danshi だんし)
woman: 女 (onna おんな); 女性 (josei じょせい); 女の人 (onna no hito おんなのひと); (ご)婦人 (go-fujin ご-ふじん); 女子じょし (joshi じょし)

First of all, I'll talk about "男性 and 女性",
These can be used for both literary and polite colloquial expressions.

「一般に男性は女性より腕力が強い。Ippan-ni dansei wa josei yori wanryoku ga tsuyoi.」 [Generally, men have more physical strength than women.]
「男性(女性)心理 dansei (josei) shinri」 [male (female) psychology]
"Male" and "female" of the human beings are usually translated as "男性(の)" and "女性(の)".

For the main, the news media tends to use "男性 and 女性", but as far as the suspects of the crimes are concerned, "男 and 女" are preferred to use because of their lack of politeness.

In the same way, "男性 and 女性" are received as more polite than "男 and 女" in colloquial Japanese.
If I want to say, "I like a broad-minded man", I would say in Japanese: "わたしは心の広い男性が好きです。(Watashi wa kokoro no hiroi dansei ga suki desu.)";
But if I met an unpleasant men, I might say: "なんていやな男なの!(Nante iya na otoko nano!) [What a rude guy he is!]"
Of cource, "男 and 女" can be used in a good sense among very close friends, though.

So, if you are not so familiar with Japanese. I recommend you to prefer "男性 and 女性" to "男 and 女".
「あなたの好きな女性歌手は誰ですか? Anata no sukina josei-kashu wa dare desuka?」[Who is your favorite female singer(s)?]
「彼女はその若い男性に話しかけました。Kanojo wa sono wakai dansei ni hanashikake mashita.」[She talked to the young man.]
「わたしの姉は日本人男性と結婚しました Watashi no ane wa nihonjin-dansei to kekkon shimashita.」[My (elder) sister has married a Japanese man.]

To be continued.