Language: The Devil's Tongue

Misunderstandings can create both obstacles and insulation

The first-person pronoun I is a basic starting point: ego, je, ich, io, ya. In Japanese, where nothing is that simple, the word has two dozen or more forms, depending on who is talking, and to whom, and the social relationship between them. An elderly man might refer to himself as washi, but his wife would say watashi, or, for that matter, atakushi, or atashi; their daughter might say atai and their son boku. Then there is temae, which means both you and I. But the Japanese often...

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