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suddenly being called -chan? 2010/4/3 06:02
What does it mean if someone suddenly starts calling you by your name + "-chan"?

I teach English part-time. One of my male students, who I've known for a few months, started calling me "(my name)-chan." He's never done that before. When we're speaking in English, we don't add suffixes to each others' names, but when we speak in Japanese, I add "-san" to his name. Somehow, he's never said my name when we're speaking in Japanese, until today.

He also started speaking in the "-masu/desu" form for a few minutes but then returned to "futsuu-kei." I thought this was weird since he's always spoken in "futsuu-kei" except when he introduced himself for the first time and said "(name) desu."

Is he trying to distance himself from me, or is he just trying to be polite?
by appletea (guest)  

He called you -chan? 2010/4/4 07:10
Your post is a bit confusing to be honest...

He called you -chan? How much older are you than him? Either way, as the teacher in this situation and you referring to him as "-san", I see it as him being extremely disrespectful and not taking you seriously.

If you guys have been speaking in "tame-guchi" (or as you referred to it futsu-kei) from the beginning, it may not be THAT disrespectful but it is disrespectful nevertheless. I personally think that it's important to keep a normal student-teacher relationship especially when it comes to teaching. Calling you -chan completely undermines that and your ability to be a good, effective teacher.
by Bean (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2010/4/4 11:02

He sounds like one of those typical guys who aren't very hesitant about being friendly to everybody. Some people may call it "impolite" and some may call it "casual." At least I'm pretty sure his intentions aren't bad.

In real life, Japanese daily conversation goes back and forth between keigo and futsuu-kei and suddenly calling someone -chan is like suddenly calling a "Thomas" "Tommy" (instead of "Tom," of course).

Maybe he's just a type of a guy who prefers to act casually in order to hide his shyness. You know, some people are simply uncomfortable about using terms like, "Yes, madam, I certainly do understand." and go for the "Okay, lady, I gotcha." kind of conversation.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2010/4/4 15:02
Thanks for answering, Bean & Uco!

Bean--I'm not older than him; he's older than me by several years.

Uco--I think you're right that he doesn't mean anything bad about it and that he just wants to be casual. At first I thought it was strange that he would switch to keigo, but now that you pointed it out, I remembered that some of my friends have switched back & forth, too.
by appletea (guest) rate this post as useful

Sensei 2010/4/5 03:29
I would tell him & others to call you "Sensei". Otherwise you are sized up by him and others will follow and you won't be able to manage the class soon.
by ay (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2010/4/5 05:31
You can let your students call you whatever you feel comfortable with; just by your first name, -chan, or "sensei". I prefer to be called by my first name.
by Ikuyo Kuruyo (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2010/4/5 07:13
Thanks for your advice, Ay & Ikuyo.

I don't teach a class; I teach private lessons so it's one-on-one. I don't mind him calling me "-chan," but I was just wondering if it was unusual or anything.
by appletea (guest) rate this post as useful

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