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Gendered language...

I was watching some Japanese kind of soap opera or whatever it was yesterday (Sakura Gakuin, quite unwillingly, I might add), and the realization of my shounen anime-inspired ignorance hit me like a lightning bolt; most of the time, the girls (there were only girls, except for one male teacher) spoke quite 'impolitely', so to say. There were no "desu" at the end of every sentence, or "masu". Instead, many spoke in quite a typically masculine way (and it was not the kind of show where they would be doing that for fun only); there were much more "nan da" than "nan desu ka" and "janai" instead of "dewa/jaa arimasen". So this one goes out mainly to the natives of Nihon who might read this (or someone else with formidable knowledge about everyday Japanese life): just how much more polite, linguistically, are women/girls than boys/men in Japan? (and also, is there a substantial difference between the younger generation (girls) and the older generation (women)? I believe there is a large difference between the ones aged roughly 60+ and the ones below that).

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Nono, you're making perfect sense :D you answered my question right to the point: girls are often only a little less casual than boys, but you learn to speak more politely as you progress through the years. Thanks a lot, again!

Another related question, also about speaking patterns: Is it so that, often, formal speech sounds very monotonous compared to informal language? For example, the pitch-accent rule about going up on the penultimate syllable seems to me to be quite often ignored in informal language, for examle:
Formal: a-na-TA
Informal: A-na-ta

I'm not saying it's always like this in informal language, but my impression is that this rule is often more an option than a real rule in informal language, at least a lot of the time, if not always. Am I right?
And also, how is it with words (often shorter ones, I think), that do not utilize the pitch-accent on the penultimate syllable? I'm thinking mainly about the "かみ triumvirate": god/God, paper, hair. Now, for "god/God":
KA-mi
And for paper and hair (which I think are basically of the same pronunciation):
ka-MI, or even sometimes rather:
ka-mi

Sorry if it's an odd question... ^^

Okay... so is it with stress you are more free to work with in informal language? (and also, HOW free are you?)

I guess this is one of those things it's usually better just to learn through experience (Sakura Gakuin, here I come D:   ), but I think I do have a better grasp of the thing anyway now, thanks, Haru :D

 

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