When we hear a Japanese sentence like Washi-wa idai-na hatsumeika ja ‘I am a great inventor,’ we can imagine an elderly man as the speaker of the sentence. Expressions that invoke a specific personality of the speaker, such as washi and ja, are called yakuwarigo ‘role language.’ This study examined how role language is processed by native Japanese speakers. We recorded the event-related potentials of native Japanese speakers as they judged the compatibility between a picture of a character and a sentence containing role language. Compared with matched pairs, mismatched pairs showed an N400 effect. This suggests that the lexico-semantic process plays a major role in determining the appropriateness of the use of role language, parallel to the use of honorific forms.