Friday, January 25, 2013

Kore, sore, are

When the referred object can be seen/sensed:

kore/kono = near the speaker
sore/sono = near the listener
are/ano = far from both the speaker and the listener

When the referred object is abstract, or something which cannot be seen/sensed, the nuances are different:

sore/sono = the speaker doesn't know about OR the speaker thinks that the listener doesn't know about it (at least one person is unfamiliar with the object)
are/ano = the speaker knows that the listener knows about it (both are familiar with the object)

A: きのう「るろうに剣心」という映画をみました。
Kinou "Rurouni Kenshin" to iu eiga wo mimashita.
I watched the movie "Rurouni Kenshin" yesterday.

B1: あれは面白い映画ですね。
Are wa omoshiroi eiga desu ne.

B2: その映画はどうでしたか。
Sono eiga wa dou deshita ka?

B1 has already watched the movie and so both A and B1 are familiar with it. That's why he uses あれ. On the other hand, B2 hasn't watched the movie yet, so その is used.

Reference: Essential Japanese Vocabulary by Akira Miura, Tuttle Publishing.

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