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-de gozaru

: ~でござる
-de gozaru is a phrase most Rurouni Kenshin fans will recognize. It is a somewhat archaic form of desu (to be). People who speak some Japanese will probably recognize a form of this verb from such expressions as omedetou gozaimasu (congratulations) and ohayou gozaimasu (good morning).

Because of its archaic style, -de gozaru is often associated with historical drama. As mentioned above, Kenshin uses -de gozaru continuously, and it can occasionally be heard in Akira Kurosawa's films, such as Ran and The Seven Samurai.

Use of -de gozaru is more or less similar to desu, for example: "Watashi wa Tanaka desu" (I am Tanaka) is equivalent to "Watashi wa Tanaka de gozaimasu". gozaimasu is a more polite form of the verb than the dictionary form, gozaru. Since desu is the all-purpose verb in Japanese, it is not surprising to hear -de gozaru coming so often from Kenshin.

As a final note, it's probably worth mentioning that -de gozaru and desu both mean "to be" in the sense of "equals", as in "I am Tanaka", above (me = Tanaka). They do not appear in the sense of "to become", such as "I want to be a teacher" which would be formed with naru (Watashi wa sensei ni naritai). They are not used either in the sense of location, such as "I am in Kyoto", which would be formed with iru (Watashi wa Kyoto ni imasu).

Since ANN is not a Japanese-language reference website, you should go to this page if you would like more information about archaic Japanese. Another worthwhile reference for older forms of Japanese is this website, which delves into even older aspects of the language.

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