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37

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

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

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 ...


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 ...


7

ユニオン(or [生協]{せいきょう}?/大学生協?)へサンドイッチを買いに行きました。 sounds fine to me. It literally translates to "I went to the union to buy a sandwich." Its casual version would be: ユニオンへサンドイッチを買いに行った。 Your second sentence; ユニオンへサンドイッチを買って行った。 sounds a bit awkward to me. It sounds to me like "I bought a sandwich and went to the union." (parsed as ...


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)


6

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


6

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] ...


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.


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

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 ...


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 ...


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

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'. ...


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 ...


2

Disclaimer: I'm neither a native speaker nor a linguist so this answer of mine is entirely my opinion and theory as a beginner, which may not be appropriate here but I wanted to share it anyway. To me ではないです or じゃないです is like turning a negation statement into polite: Xではない (a negation statement) + です (make it polite) While ではありません or じゃありません is like a ...


2

As something of a fossilized and archaic term, 何卒{なにとぞ} comes across as more formal and stiff. This would not be used in everyday talk. Possible use cases in the closing of formal correspondence might be: ご質問{しつもん}等{とう}がございましたら 何卒 ご連絡{れんらく}ください。 何卒 宜{よろ}しくお願{ねが}い致{いた}します。 何卒 どうぞ宜{よろ}しくお願{ねが}い致{いた}します。 Some folks consider this last one to be redundant or ...


2

I go by the definitions & examples below which I based on the explanations in 日本語能力試験 完全マスター N3文法. As Darius says, formality is another neutral form which would used to write academic papers for example which focus on being both concise and precise. Definitions 尊敬語 : Respectful language: refers to the actions of superiors 謙譲語1: Humble language1: ...


2

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 ...


2

I would use メール(を)拝見(いた)しました。 I saw your email. メール(を)拝読(いた)しました。 I read your email. メール(を)拝受(いた)しました。 I received your email. for "I saw/read/received your mail". Using 電子メール is fine, but not really necessary. Maybe 電子メール is similar saying "electronic mail" in English. A more humble way of phrasing the first two would be ...


2

This kind of question is very good because it puts us on the spot in exactly the same way we often find ourselves in real life. Unfortunately, just like many questions on this site, we need to know a bit more about the context: Is it someone you deal with on a daily basis? If so then you will use the "politeness level" you use with them all the time - ...



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