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31

On a basic level, すみません is to apologize for something that you have a "right" to do, such as when passing through a crowd or getting a waiter's attention at a restaurant. ごめんなさい, on the other hand, is for when you have done something inappropriate. So on the way through a crowd, you would say すみません to ask people to let you through, but if you accidentally ...


20

Japanese has a curious unwritten rule which states, in essence, that you cannot presume to know the intimate details of a third person's mental state. This is quite an unfamiliar concept in English-land: ○ 私【わたし】はDSが欲【ほ】しいです。 I want a DS. × 息子【むすこ】はDSが欲【ほ】しいです。 My son wants a DS. (OK in English, NG in Japanese) Even if your son has been begging ...


18

The thing to keep in mind is that this isn't a ritualized situation, such as the 只今{ただいま}/お帰{かえ}り, "I'm back" / "welcome back", call and response pattern. When you come and go from the office or home, there are set patterns. This restaurant situation isn't like that. Specific to your questions, there is no usual exchange between customer and cashier when ...


17

ちょっといいですか is a casual expression. Depending on the relation between you and your boss, you may not want to use the phrase to your boss. One of the formal and polite expressions is お時間をいただいてもよろしいですか (おじかんをいただいてもよろしいですか). If you want to state an estimate of the length (say five minutes), you can say something like 五分ほどお時間をいただいてもよろしいですか. お時間をいただく literally ...


17

Here there's a nice explanation, but I'll quote it here for easy reference, with some additional info: ください and お願いします are both used when making a request. ください (kudasai) is used: After the particle "o" を, for example when ordering food: "水をください" (Mizu o kudasai - Please, water.); When asking something that involves an action, along with the ...


16

氏名 always refers to a person's full name, both family and given. It also has the connotation of "legal name." 名前 also refers to a person's full name--but it can also mean their given name, in the right context (for instance, "We gave the baby a name" or "I want you to call me by my name"). 名前 can also refer to the names of objects, while 氏名 cannot.


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 ...


14

It can be. The most common usage of this term is as follows: A) Hey, I'm going skiing with Jack, together with his brand new girlfriend. 今度ジャックと、ジャックの新カノとスキーに行くんだよ。 B) Why? He has never been skiing and he sucks at sport. なんでスキーなの?あいつスキーやったことないし運動おんちじゃん。 A) Yeah! It will be a 見物! hahaha だから見物なんじゃんw When you say 見物, it implies that you are ...


14

Refinement is a reflection of the speaker, not the listener. While an opposing baron would use 「貴様」, a thug would use 「手前」.


14

Politeness and Keigo are strongly related, but they are not necessarily the same, neither does one contains all cases of the other. Politeness (丁寧語 teineigo) is a general term that is used for gauging the acceptability of different forms in different situations. Polite forms are expected to be used in formal situations, with most strangers, with peers you ...


13

Matt's answer is a good practical approach for learning how to deal with this issue, but I thought it might be helpful to offer a suggestion about why this is happening to you. I attended a lecture at Temple University on this very topic, and the professor giving the lecture had the theory that not only are politeness and closeness inversely correlated, but ...


13

As others have said, this is a really hard question to answer because it is always so context-dependent. This is the sort of thing that Japanese people themselves struggle with, to an extent, especially when people from different generations or backgrounds (Tokyo vs Osaka etc.) are speaking with each other. All those "introduction to keigo" books in the ...


13

Not a bona fide answer, in that I am not confident enough to provide you with a reliable example of what you should be saying, but I can definitely tell you how you should not be saying it (despite some suggestions in the comments to your question): Any sentence that starts by a word expressing disagreement. Anything that hints at an actual error made by ...


13

Both parties can use 失礼します at the end of a phone call, and in fact it is usual that both parties say 失礼します in turn. I think that a phone call is considered to be similar to a conversation between two people who met on the street in this regard. After such a conversation, both parties leave the place, so both say 失礼します. Similarly, after a phone call, both ...


12

The simplest one is 「いいえ」, "not at all". The next one up is 「どういたしまして」, "would do the same". Another one you may come across is 「とんでもない」, "don't mention it", or one of its more polite variants (replacing 「ありません」 or 「ございません」 as appropriate). There are even more polite responses, but as a 外国人 you will not be expected to have to worry about them.


12

Japanese here. I find it fine to say ありがとう for the first two, although どうも is more common. Not saying anything is perfectly acceptable. You can also nod, which is very common. When you leave the restaurant, it is common to say ごちそうさまで~す or ごちそうさまでした. If you are female, ごちそうさまでした would be more common. It is perfectly ok to leave without saying anything. ...


11

The main difference is that onegaishimasu assume some action/favor by the other person. It's also a meaning of "I trust this to you". ください Kudasai (and the more familiar chodai ちょうだい) it's used when you did a request you are entitled to do. You want something or you want someone of same/lower status to do something for you (verb-te+kudasai).


10

That guy who said that こんばんは isn't heard in everyday conversation is flat out wrong. I really hate when people get up on their high horse about Japanese, especially when they're wrong. Golden rule is, never "heckle" someone over their foreign language ability, because yours will never be perfect either. I've been at this for 11 years and have lived here ...


10

I'm not sure if there's a real answer to that. At least not something that will help you learn which is which. Some 形容動詞 take な, some take の, and some take both. How did that happen? That's quite simple. All 形容動詞 are in fact a special class of nouns. In academic English material, they are often called "adjectival nouns" or even "descriptive nouns", to ...


10

I would say the expression お世話になりました is spot on. Especially since you are trying to express gratitude for guidance, which is contained in the word 世話 "looking after; help; aid; assistance". Moreover, お世話になりました is formal and certainly suitable for a corporate environment. To adapt it to your situation, you could say, e.g. 長い間お世話になりました。


9

いただきました is past tense of いただく, which is a polite version of もらう, which means 'to receive'. 下さいました is past tense of 下さる, which is a polite version of くれる, which means 'to give'. They are different words but can be used in the same context as long as you correctly assign who is the giver and who is the receiver. But do take note that the emphasis of the ...


9

AFAIK, it means more or less the same thing as お疲れ様 (おつかれさま). But the nuance is to whom you say it. お疲れ様 is used for colleagues or superiours ("highers"), ご苦労様 I believe is only used from superiours to subordinates ("highers" to "lowers"). So you'd probably only say it if you have people "working" under you, such as direct subordinates at a job, if you're ...


9

There are a couple of ways to say this. 体に気をつけてください → Please look after yourself 体をお大事に → Take care of yourself However, given the severity of her illness, these sound casual, a little "flaky", and somewhat insincere. Here are a few that are better. ご自愛を祈ります → Please take good care of yourself / your health. ご全快の一日も早いことをお祈りいたします → I hope you ...


9

Nowadays 外人 and 外国人 are similar in meaning, with the latter seeing less usage. However, traditionally speaking 外人 is a derogatory word that shouldn't be used towards foreigners. 外人 actually doesn't mean foreigner as much as it means "outsider" to a group. So one could technically refer to people in a different social class/group as you as 外人 and ...


9

In short, your waiter said what he said because it is the "in" thing to do for young workers (mostly part-time) at inexpensive restaurants, fast food places, convenience stores, etc. This speech style is called 「マニュアル[敬語]{けいご}」, 「コンビニ[言葉]{ことば}」、「ファミレス言葉」, etc. and it has been very common the last 20 years or so. (マニュアル = "manual", ファミレス = "family ...



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