Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I work in an American subsidiary of a Japanese company. I met a few Japanese colleagues while working at the home office on an exchange. Do I need to use Keigo for:

Colleague A: 1 year younger in age than me and joined the company at a later time. It seems like I could use the desu/masu form without Keigo, but since we belong to different departments, different branches, etc., I'm not sure whether he is in-group or out-group.

Colleague B: Not 100% certain about age and seniority, but probably the same age and seniority as me or my junior.

Colleague C: 6 years younger than me and much less seniority. Should I use plain forms to talk down to him? I decided not to since I wasn't sure whether we were all in-group or considered out-group.

share|improve this question
1  
By "desu/masu form without keiko", are you using keigo in the narrow sense, namely the honorific form and humble form, but not the polite form? –  user458 Jul 26 '11 at 0:34
1  
i talk in the polite form because I don't know whether I need to speak using honorific and humble forms to these colleagues. –  pingish Jul 26 '11 at 1:28
    
Talk to a higher-ranked member of another department, and see how (s)he answers :) –  Axioplase Jul 26 '11 at 4:37
    
+1 Great question! –  istrasci Jul 26 '11 at 14:24
1  
@千里ちゃん: My managers don't ever use desu and masu when talking to their subordinates and they use 君 alot too when speaking to them. –  Mark Hosang Jul 27 '11 at 9:20

1 Answer 1

I think in general you are safe using plain form with people in your group who are younger than you and in lower position (usually the same at a Japanese company though).

the tricky part is someone who is younger than you in a different dpt. I would just use Teine-go which is what desu/masu can be referred to.

In general, you don't need to use keigo in your office while talking to people unless there is a huge gap in level. Like talking to a dept manager/CEO or what not.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.