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For Example:

那个人是我的友人

vs.

那个人是我的朋友

In Japanese 友人 (pronunciation: yūjin) is a more formal term than 友達 (pronunciation: tomodachi), where the latter is more suited to be used in Japanese spoken language.

When I say 那个人是我的友人, does 友人 have the same formal nuance in Chinese?

I'm a native Chinese speaker, in my opinion 友人 is more affectionate than 朋友. I would use 友人 to describe how close is our friendship.

Related question: https://japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/18312/what-is-the-difference-between-友達とも-だち-and-友人ゆう-じん

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  • 1
    Why is it off-topic? We deal with loanwords all the time. In fact, a huge amount of modern Chinese words were imported from Japanese. Some Chinese speaking regions even use Japanese coined Kanji terms directly
    – Tang Ho
    Feb 25 at 20:10
  • 1
    If you think the phrase "how do Chinese people feel" makes it "opinion-based" then I agree, just change it to "do Chinese use this term?" the answer can only be we do or we don't. And I do see people use the term 友人 instead of 朋友 in some instances and reader should have no problem understanding it because it is a very literal term, 友人 --> 與我有朋關係的人 = 朋友
    – Tang Ho
    Feb 25 at 20:16
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    I’m voting to close this question because by stating it is an off-topic question right off the bat, the OP has created a controversy unnecessarily. You can edit your question to make it on-topic again
    – Tang Ho
    Feb 25 at 20:37
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    I don't think asking about the nuance of a term is off-topic. Talking about nuances may come with some degree of subjectivity, but that's by definition. @TangHo I edited the question to make it clear what is being asked, please reopen.
    – blackgreen
    Feb 25 at 21:30
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    @blackgreen I didn't think it was off-topic in the first place, it is an interesting question IMO, however, the OP stating it was an off-topic question and encourage people to down-vote and flag before answering. It sounds like the OP thought questions about loan-words form Japan are all off-topic and he/she is here to seek confirmation. That's why I didn't edit out the first line and make it a normal question. Now you have done it, I am re-opening this question
    – Tang Ho
    Feb 25 at 23:26

3 Answers 3

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We don't use 友人 in daily conversation in my neck of woods. 友人 is only used in the circumstance where it describes the foreigners in the formal context. E.g. 她是我们中国的友人。or 她是我们中华民族的友人, 不是敌人. Note that 友人 is opposite to 敌人 in this sense.

In daily usage, if you say你是我的友人, that sounds very weird. Instead, we'd expect to hear 你是我朋友, which sounds quite normal.

3

When I say 那个人是我的友人, does 友人 have the same formal nuance in Chinese?

I do see people use the term 友人 instead of 朋友 in some instances. Readers should have no problem understanding it because it is a very literal term, 友(friend)人(people) --> 與我有朋友關係的人 = 朋友.

友人 sounds more literary than 朋友 which is more colloquial. Since literary terms are generally more formal, you can say it has the same formal nuance in Japanese. I have never heard it in colloquial form though

Japanese and Chinese languages have been influencing each other for a long time. Many Japanese-originated terms have found their way into the Chinese vocabulary, especially in nearby regions like Hong Kong and Taiwan. Stright Japanese terms like 親子(父母子女),職場(工作場所) and 不倫(婚外情) can be seen in Chinese writing quite often

0

To add to Dan's answer.

友人 is usually only heard in the context of foreigners, i.e.:

  • 外国友人
  • 国际友人

Starbucks China even seems to have taken to writing 友人 on the paper cups of foreigns' in lieu of writing (or even asking for) their actual names. Guess it makes it easier than trying to figure how to spell names in foreign languages.

(Although it does maybe seem more colloquially acceptable in Cantonese? As a neutral term for a friend?)

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