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41

I read an interesting paper on this very topic a few months ago. Let's see…ah, here it is: A Discussion of the Polite Negative Verb Forms masen and nai desu (PDF, Japanese) This paper by Kayoko Tanaka was presented at the eighth annual conference on Japanese language education research at Nagoya University in 2010. Ms. Tanaka, using sentences drawn from a ...


15

You can't just gloss words like that with Japanese (i.e. Thank you = arigatou, go = iku etc.) To express thankfulness, there is a whole palette of expressions that Japanese people use. For example: yoroshiku: said after you have asked someone a big favor and they haven't done it yet but have promised to do it. tasukatta: means like "thanks man I ...


11

Taking "formally" to mean 丁寧語 here, I think it depends. Chatting/Twitter/BBS If you use your real name, I think the usual rules apply (which are too complex to fully describe here, but I'll mention some aspects). Use 丁寧語 with people you don't know well and people older than you. If you aren't talking at someone (say, a non-@ tweet, or saying something ...


8

I do not know if 凄い (すごい) is slang or not, so I will skip that part. The word has an interesting origin. Daijirin explains the original meaning of the word as follows: 心に強い衝撃を受けて、ぞっと身にしみるさまの意が原義。平安時代から見える語で、良い意味でも悪い意味でも用いられた。近代以降、心理的圧迫感を伴わない用法が生じた I do not think that I can translate this accurately to English, but anyway here is my attempt: The ...


8

The standard formal opening, equivalent to English "Dear Sir/Madam", is 拝啓. The closing, equivalent to "Sincerely Yours", is 敬具. I don't see why you couldn't put in the Chinese greeting as well, along with a little explanation. The teacher might find it interesting/charming, and there's nothing wrong with a little cross-cultural exchange.


8

(Even though I will be correcting many parts because that is how I make my living, I could guarantee you that every native speaker will understand your sentences as are. So, what is the point of making only this part of your whole letter sound like it was written by a native speaker?) 「[難]{むずか}しい[頼]{たの}みであることをわかっています. ...


7

I'm surprised no one mentioned すみません yet. See this answer to another question about thanks.


7

A page I linked recently had it schematised, I'll report it here in a better way: There are different ways to thank someone in Japanese depending on who you are speaking to. Just like other phrases in Japanese the politeness levels change in different settings. どうもありがとうございます [dōmo arigatō gozaimasu] Most polite; ありがとうございます [arigatō gozaimasu] ...


7

I've taught すごい to friends as their first or second word too, it's very useful. I wouldn't say that it means "cool" though, more like "wow!". You can't use it to say "a cool guy". On its own as exclamation it means "cool" (like when you're looking at some great scenery). It's a little informal when used on it's own like that. You can definitely use it in a ...


6

This phrase is definitely too informal for using with a colleague at work, for three reasons: It makes the assumption that the listener's mind is fuzzy from drowsiness, which (unless this detail is offered by the listener) is kind of a rude thing to assume. It uses a strong negative command form (~んじゃない), further emphasized by the sentence-ending よ. The ない ...


6

All of them are syntactically correct, but they are semantically strange as explained below. Depending on the situation, もらう may not be polite enough. いただく will be even more polite. In the second one, 泊める is just about the night, so it is unnatural to mention 8日から9日まで, which means the whole two days (unless you are talking about both nights of 8日 and 9日, ...


6

I think there's definitely lots of truth in that tendency. 漢語 was essentially the Latin of Japan for a long time; i.e the language of the elites. In fact, Chinese poetry is still compulsory in Japanese education, a bit like Latin I guess. Because of this history, 漢語 is associated with art, science, government etc. and is thus generally more formal.


6

In addition to what @Sjiveru said, it's probably also OK to use ○ 読ませていただきました ; ? お読みしました ○ 目を通しました (this might require some discretion, as it may make the email sound unimportant) ○ メール、確認させていただきました ; △ メールが届きました ○ 拝見しました (again, depending on how high up this superiour is)


5

To put it in a more of an English equivalency you can compare them to the following: •Thanks - どうも (domo) •Thanks a lot (or much thanks) - どうもありがとう (domo arigato) •Thanks (more polite than domo) ありがとう (arigato) •Thank you ありがとうございます (arigato gozaimasu) •Thank you very much - どうもありがとうございます (domo araigato gozaimasu) From my experience and understanding ...


5

I would use どうもありがとうございます/ました at speech ありがとうございます/ました to superiors, and business Other threes to colleges and my juniors, to some friends. ありがとうございます's slang form あざーっす to some close friends/colleges


5

Trust yourself. If you have to apologize for being too casual, that's fine. That's just how you learn what's appropriate. Everyone here is just guessing at what they would do, etc. You're the only one who was there and really felt the atmosphere. Also, it may be hard to tell if he was insulted or if he was just surprised that you would use that ...


5

I'll leave any definitive answers to our native speakers, but rather than formal–informal I've started to think that maybe poetic–prosaic might be a more apt duality. (And formality usually implies little poeticality.) One other example where both readings are common is 竹林 with チクリン being "prosaic" and たけばやし being poetic.


5

「どこかに[間違]{まちが}っているか[聞]{き}きたいんですが」 The problems with this sentence is multifold. 1) 「どこかに間違っている」 is ungrammatical. 2) There is no respect, politeness or humility expressed anywhere in it. 「聞きたい」 is something you would say to your close friend or someone much younger. When speaking to a person of a higher status, it is very important not to sound ...


4

Yes, you are right that "しょっちゅう" is not appropriate in a formal context. As others said, "度々(たびたび)", "頻繁に(ひんぱんに)", "よく" are good in formal contexts. I would like to add "繰り返し(くりかえし)" and "何度も(なんども)" as more options when you want to express that something happens repetitively. Let me give an example in which "しょっちゅう" sounds wierd. Suppose that a head of a ...


4

Wikipedia says: (あたくしは)あたしのきどった言い方である。一般的には昭和時代の漫画やアニメなどで使用された例があるが、平常的には聞くことはまずない言い方である。特に落語家が使用する。 In my opinion あたくし (not わたくし) is typically used by Kantō, classy, pompous, elder, female celebrities, mainly in fiction. Or by someone who impersonates such a person. I confirmed that 黒柳徹子 uses あたくし in her TV show 徹子の部屋 (video). Someone says that she ...


4

I think it is pretty hard to differentiate between slang and informal, but my guess would be that it would be considered informal because it is used across all of Japan AND there is another way to say "sugei" that is definitely slang. I don't think it would be considered vulgar, as there aren't many words in Japanese that would be considered vulgar. Sugoi ...


4

(now that the question is finally on-topic, I am happy to contribute my 2 yens ;-) The general use of 先生 (sensei) when addressing a professor/doctor/etc. is already discussed elsewhere on JLU... As for the particular case of writing to someone who is your peer (in rank and range of age), the answer is: No you do not have to use it. My colleagues/bosses ...


4

くださる is used when the -doer- is the one who needs honorifics, so that sentence makes it sound like you're exalting yourself above the listener. (It can be appropriate if you're talking about someone else having seen your email.) もらう has similar problems - -てもらう is used when someone else is doing the thing, so メールを見てもらった sounds like '[I] had [my] email read'. ...


4

Any clarification as to who exactly 研究者 is? Are they customers? Employees? Trainees? Also who are you addressing the email to? 彼ら is often quite brash to use when emailing your superiors (but this really does depend on them, mine let me get away with all sorts of things). I would stick with 先方 but really if all else fails just call them 研究者 - {Probably ...


3

凄い【すごい】in itself is neither colloquial nor vulgar, even somewhat literary, I believe... if you use it to mean that something is literally terrible/horrible (e.g. some mythological beastie etc.) The use you are referring to ("cool", "great"...) is very recent by comparison (no more than 20-30 years, definitely colloquial (though not particularly vulgar) and ...


3

It's important to realize that there are two dimensions at play here. One is the "heartfelt" dimension, and the other is the "formality" dimension. Both ありがとう and どうもありがとう are casual in the sense that you should only use them with people that you do not use 丁寧語 with. どうもありがとう shows more sincerity than ありがとう, but even (本当に)どうもありがとう would not be appropriate ...


3

Yes, a sarcastic use of this phrase is certainly possible (isn't it the case with almost any phrases?), but it won't have the opposite effect. One sarcastic use of this phrase that I can think of is: someone makes a nasty remark about you you say お礼を言わせてもらう because it reminds you why you hated him In other words, when anger works as a motivation. It's ...


3

尊敬語 is when the subject of the sentence is shown respect. 謙譲語 is when the subject of the sentence is being humbled. 丁寧語 is when the addressee is being shown respect. (Note that the subject is often not explicitly in the sentence.) From the definitions, it should be clear that it is possible to combine 尊敬語 and 丁寧語, or 謙譲語 and 丁寧語, but not 尊敬語 and 謙譲語 (in ...


3

Don't use さん in a formal email. I think "事務局の加島" means she is probably a clerical staff rather than a teacher. (Of course it's a good idea to check it using Google search) So the safe choice would be to address her as 加島様.



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