Japanese Slang Used by Young People – 若者言葉 Wakamono Kotoba

Posted by on July 19, 2019 – Japanese Study

What is Wakamono Kotoba? (Japanese Slang used by Young People)

 

In Japanese, there is a phrase for words and expressions young people talk, that is 若者言葉(Wakamono kotoba). It literally means “words of the young people”. The concept is similar to slang but differs in terms of the user. As such words are not frequently heard, you won’t see them in any types of Japanese textbooks

We have introduced some Japanese slang in our previous articles. Today, you will be learning some wakamono kotoba that are short forms of Japanese words and phrases.

っす(っす)

You may have heard this from a conversation among a group of high-school students in Japan. っす(ssu) is the short form of the Copula”です” in oral Japanese. It is usually used by young men.

Do be misled by its origin “です”. “っす” strictly speaking is not considered as a form of polite speech. Although “っす “itself does not have any negative meanings and shows a certain level of respectfulness to the listener. To some people, “っす” sounds rude. So, why would young people still use it?

Neither too casual or polite

When talking to people of similar ages who you are not too close with, it may be too formal to speak in Keigo. It may also be inappropriate to use タメ口 (Tameguchi, casual Japanese). Therefore, っす, a word in-between Keigo and tameguchi can be used to avoid these problems. Moreover, you may also use it when talking to a superior whom you are really close with and is easy-going.

Some examples of how to use “っす”

Your senpai: “このあとゲーセンに行こう。”
Konoato ge-senni ikou。
Let’s go to the game center later

You: おお、いいっすね!
Ooh, iissune!
Sounds great!

 

アザッス / オザマス / オナシャス

There are other wakamono kotoba that are short forms of some word phrases.
Such as:

アザッス(Azassu) is the short form for ありがとうございます(arigatougozaimasu).

オナシャス(Onashasu) is the short form for お願いします(onegaishimasu).

オザマス(Ozamasu) is the short form forおはようございます(ohayougozaimasu).

These phrases appeared a few years ago on the internet and were used only on SMS. Today, not many but some young people have started using them in daily conversations with friends.

Because they are literally “words of the young people”. It is generally inappropriate to use them when talking or messaging to your superiors. However, you can use these words to your close friends and they will make you sound more like a native!

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