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In the context of chatting with someone whom you have never met before, Japanese always give you the courtesy of complimenting your language skills. In a non-business context, my response is sometimes 「いやいや、不束者{ふつつかもの}です、私。」That almost always gets a smile out of the person that I am addressing.

I'd always assumed that using the word 「不束者」 demonstrated that, while my grammar is extremely poor, I have made the effort to memorize strange vocabulary. It is a backhanded self-compliment (if your Japanese were poor, then you would not know such a word), and that causes the smile. But, now I am thinking that my usage of 「不束者」 is so wildly out of context, it just sounds ridiculous.

So, is saying 「いやいや、不束者です、私。」 a clever sounding way to decline a compliment? Or, does it just sound comical?

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「不束者ですが、よろしくお願いします。」is the classic line used by the bride when agreeing to a marriage proposal. – Igor Skochinsky Aug 20 '14 at 23:42
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Lovin' the question!

That is a very funny reply that only Japanese-learners could use. Trust me, you will get an instant laughter everytime you say that to a Japanese-speaker in your life from now on. You are lucky!

「不束者」 is a humble expression pretty much reserved for marriage-related greetings by and about a girl. That is what you, as a bride, call yourself or what your parents call you when greeting your broom's family.

Its nuance, believe it or not, is something like "I am (Our daughter is) such an big, fat, uneducated and unrefined country girl."

Keep using it and bringing a smile to our faces!

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It is a relief to hear this. Helping someone to laugh is always a good first impression (as long as they are not laughing at me in a negative way). Demonstrating that I don't understand nuance is also useful. thanks. – user312440 Aug 21 '14 at 3:43
Well, I mean "appearing to not understand nuance". After all, misusing the nuance is what makes that expression funny. – user312440 Aug 21 '14 at 3:54
So given that it is used by brides, is this expression reserved for females? Or what would it mean if used by males? – helix Aug 22 '14 at 1:55
God that made me laugh so much to learn that you guys have a word that means "I'am a big, fat, uneducated and unrefined country girl". Thanks 非回答者, great answer :) – Alox Sep 4 '14 at 19:32

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