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30

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 ...


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

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

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

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 ...


15

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.


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

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 ...


14

'です' does follow i-adjectives. It's purpose is to add politeness. I see no problem with it, but maybe I am missing something. Was there a particular example that was discussed when the person said it is dangerous? The only thing I can think of is that the expression can be made milder by adding the sentence final particle ね, which indicates addresser's ...


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 ...


11

As you suspect and Nathan writes, softening the nuance may be one factor, but there is another factor. Without o-, the underlying form is te-araw-, which ends with a verb stem araw (later, the epenthetic vowel i is inserted, and wi changes to i , which is not crucial). Even though a verb stem can be used as a noun, it is often not stable as a noun. Addition ...


11

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 ...


11

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

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


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).


11

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

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 ...


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

In present Japanese, the usage is not limited to negative terms ど真ん中 'right in the middle', 'bingo!' ど根性 'strong guts' but does not seem to be productive either (i.e., usage is limited). When it is used with a negative term, that is surely impolite, but the words listed above are not particularly impolite. ど seems to have derived from the 18th ...


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

男 and 女 are neutral with politeness in formal contexts. In conversation or colloquial style, they may be (but not necassarily) used to imply rudeness, and 男の人, 女の人, 男性, 女性 are more polite. When you listen to Japanese news, you will hear both 男 and 女, and 男の人, 女の人, 男性, and 女性. That is a very ashameful aspect of the Japanese culture, and it reveals that the ...


9

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.


9

Oh my, a question by sawa! I suspect I have less of an idea than you do, even -- particularly since I've never even been to a Japanese school! -- but I'll write my thoughts anyway. These are just my feelings and hunches. I hope I'm not wasting everyone's time by writing stuff that's completely wrong. :( Firstly, I don't think this is just examinations; ...



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