Extras Suffixes

I am snowed under with Leviathan, but there’s something on Wikipedia I’ve been meaning to show you guys.

Everyone always asks me about -wa and -la in the Uglies series. (The rule, by the way, is that you use -wa if you have an L in your name, and -la otherwise. So it’s Jane-la, Jose-la, and Maria-la, but Billy-wa.) Part of what inspired me to add these suffixes was my study of Japanese, which uses a complicated set of “honorifics.” These suffixes reveal how intimate you are with someone, how respected or famous they are, etc., so it made sense to put them in Extras.

Japanese honorifics are incredibly complicated (to us outsiders, anyway). So I kept it to just three: sama, chan, and sensei. Here’s how those suffixes work in Extras as opposed to modern-day Japanese:

In Aya’s world, sensei is used for anyone in the city’s top thousand most famous citizen.

But in Japanese (to quote this Wikipedia article):

Sensei is used to refer to or address teachers, practitioners of a profession such as doctors and lawyers, politicians, and other authority figures. It is used to show respect to someone who has achieved a certain level of mastery in an art form or some other skill. For example, Japanese manga fans refer to manga artists using the term sensei, as in Takahashi-sensei for manga artist Rumiko Takahashi; the term is used similarly by fans of other creative professionals such as novelists, musicians, and artists. It is also a common martial arts title when referring to the instructor.

In Aya’s city, sama is for people who are world famous—someone who comes up in your mind-rain history class, like Tally and Shay. In Japan . . .

Sama is the formal version of san. This honorific is used primarily in addressing persons much higher in rank than oneself and in commercial and business settings to address and refer to customers. It also appears in words used to address or speak of persons or objects for which the speaker wishes to show respect or deference, such as okyaku-sama (customer) or Tateishi-sama (a stone idolised as a deity). Additionally, Japanese Christians will refer to God in prayer as Kami-sama and Jesus as Iesu-sama. -sama is regularly used by the press to mention female members of the Imperial Family (as in Masako-sama). People will also affix sama to the names of personages who have a special talent or are considered particularly attractive, though this usage can also be tongue-in-cheek, exaggerated, or even ironic.

And finally, chan is for close friends and siblings (particularly if they’re younger), and cute devices like Moggle. This is pretty much the way it’s used nowadays, though there are more gender issues in present-day Japan than in Aya’s city. Here’s the full definition from Wikipedia:

Chan is an informal version of san used to address children and female family members. It may also be used towards animals, lovers, intimate friends, and people whom one has known since childhood. Chan continues to be used as a term of endearment, especially for girls, into adulthood. Parents will probably always call their daughters chan and their sons kun, though chan can be used towards boys just as easily. Adults may use chan as a term of endearment to women with whom they are on close terms . . . . ‘Pet names’ are often made by attaching chan to a truncated stem of a name. This implies even greater intimacy than simply attaching it to the full name. So for example, a pet rabbit (usagi) might be called usa-chan rather than usagi-chan. Similarly, Chan is sometimes used to form pet names for celebrities. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger gained the nickname Shuwa chan in Japanese.

Terminator-chan. Hmm.

Other than -wa and -la, do you guys use any weird forms of address with your friends?

2,290 thoughts on “Extras Suffixes

  1. hehe I love Japanese names, so when I started reading Extras(which was two nights ago) I was exited for Japanese-like culture! I love Extras is my all time favorite book, and in not even 24 hours I’m much more than halfway through! I love all your books! :DDD

  2. In my class there are these two girls that this teacher always makes fun of and today he’s like if you put thos to brains together you have less than half a brain. We all just laughed and one of the girls didn’t get it. She was clueless.

    I love Sukperman/Tom Welling

  3. Thanks for nuking Brian and his many personalities Scott-la!! 😀 and thanks for the e-mail.

    so i guess it turns out that me and Kenzie were right. Brian was the same person as: j-la, emo-la, kaylee-wa (there never were 2 Kaylees on here. I feel lied too. glad i’m the only one though.), and then they posed as a bunch of us. well thank god that’s all over. our little communittee is a much better place without whoever that person was.

    well i’m off to go chat on the other comment thread.

  4. Wait how did you find that out? And did Scott really e-mail you for reall? Sorry I like to keep an open mind for any possibilities.

    I love Superman/Tom Welling!!!!

  5. 1st i found out that they posed as all those people by looking up at the comment names and stuff….i keep track pretty good and with all the deleted comments it’s really easy for me to tell (b/c their comments are gone.) (plus i like to play investigator. for some reason it is just happy-making.) and 2nd yes he did i was one of the people who emailed him giving him a headsup about Brian so he emailed me to tell me Brians gone and to say thanks.

  6. hello
    ummm brian is not me im kaylee hoebbel and emo-la is my friend ok and j-la is my cousin brian wasnt posing as eathier one of us kay-wa

  7. well then why were all of their comments deleted? …the only comments that Scott-la deleted were ones that were using whatever email address that Brian was. even your comment was deleted well at least i think it was. i went back up and checked and couldn’t find it anywhere. and i have reason to believe he was posing as me b/c the comments that were entitled kay-wa that i didn’t post had all disappered. so the puzzle pieces pretty much fit.

    and sorry if i am wrong about him posing as you.

  8. i never said you were. i thought that Brian was posing as you. sorry for the misunderstanding. i wonder why your comments are gone then. that’s strange.

    and what meghan-la???

  9. oh haha. i thought that said omg kay-wa. like you were mad at me or something meghan-la. lol.

    guess what! one of my fave shows finally came back on the air! it like was never on for the longest time and now it finally is back! yipee!! 😀 it’s called I Shouldn’t Be Alive. it’s true survivor stories about like these extreme conditions and these amazing people that were against all odds but somehow managed to survive through it. it’s amazing. on the discoverey channel. watch it sometime.

  10. lol i havnet been on a computer for a while, and i was just reading all that stuff about Brian! im glad i wasnt here for the drama!

  11. HaHa, Kay-wa that’s so funny cuz I just watched the Nancy Drew Movie. I guess I’m a sucker for a good mystery. I like writing mysteries too. So…

  12. I don’t know if I was. I don’t really pay attention to that kind of stuff. I am not very good about noticing things like that. But my sister dose it all the time on myspace. She’ll change his password then put stuff like he thinks that his girlfriend is the most amazing girl the world.
    I love Superman/Tom Welling!!!!

  13. i don’t want to dis your guys whole la, ra, ka, and whatever
    but i don’t see the point in them
    i think there stupid to be honest
    and i feel real bad about saying it…
    wait no i don’t never mind

  14. Well, I have kinda turned Uglies into a private joke. We use -la and -wa, and have some other private jokes form uglies.

    Like in Pretties, when Peris goes “Double Vodka” i thought that was cool, so in my circle of friends, double vodka is synonymous with cool.

  15. Well, well, asympatheticmind, it seems you’re not so sympathetic. You have insulted us. And we don’t take that lightly. Learn from Brian, asympatheticmind! Learn from Brian’s mistake in insulting us! He has been wiped off the face of Westerblog!

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