1

As a guest is leaving a man's house the guest is told:

おみやげをお持ちいたしましょう。

Edit: After this the guest is offered a choice of present to take.

I am not familiar with this use of the volitional form, when the speaker is not involved in the action. If the sentence ended in か then I'd be happy to translate it as "Will you take a present". Note that this is printed text so I guess I shouldn't assume a question with raised intonation in place ofか, besides which the man doesn't provide an answer.

So how should I interpret this use of the volitional form? The best I can come up with is "You should take a present" (meant as a polite suggestion) but I can't find this usage documented anywhere (note, I am not yet able to read Japanese dictionaries). I have read this link and this link on this site, but they both seem to require that the speaker should have some involvement in the action. Is the fact that the speaker will be 'giving' the present sufficient involvement to allow this use?

In summary, please clarify the grammar of this use of the volitional form and when it can be applied. Many thanks.

  • I believe the host is offering to hold the おみやげ for the guest. いたしましょう is the volitional form of いたす, a humble form of する, and thus would likely not be used to refer to the actions of another. I would interpret the sentence as "Let me hold that souvenir for you". – seafood258 Jun 4 '15 at 20:09
  • Can you add some information about the relationships between the speaker, the man and the guest? Are the presents offered to the man there in the room or does the speaker have to bring them over? – RealSkeptic Jun 4 '15 at 20:27
  • Sorry I messed up the original question. The speaker is the person offering the present. After saying おみやげをお持ちいたしましょう, he then goes and fetches two presents and asks the guest which one he wants. – user3856370 Jun 4 '15 at 20:36
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    @user3856370 Again, since it is a humble verb, it must refer to the speaker's actions. In light of the additional information, the speaker was likely saying "I'll grab the presents", or "Let me grab the presents" (for the guest to choose from). – seafood258 Jun 4 '15 at 20:44
  • @user3856370 Just to add, the volitional form as far as I know can only be used to express one's own volition. You can only express the volition of others if you include them within "one". In other words, expressing the volition of "us". – seafood258 Jun 4 '15 at 20:55
4

As a guest is leaving a man's house the guest is told:

おみやげをお持ちいたしましょう。

Edit: After this the guest is offered a choice of present to take.

So the owner of the house (the man) tells the guest leaving his house おみやげをお持ちいたしましょう, and then offers the guest a present. What the man is speaking of is his own actions; namely "I'll go get the presents" for the guest to choose from (duly noted by @seafood258 in the comments above).

The お+連用形+いたす form is humble speech (謙譲語) for the speaker. So the man is definitely saying that he himself will do the action. The opposite form of honourific speech (尊敬語) would use the form お+連用形+に+なる. So if the man was telling the guest to do something, it would need this form (or another honourific form).

So as your other research showed, the man is involved in the action because he's describing his own action, not the guest's.

  • I didn't know that 持つ can also mean fetch/grab/get? Given the honorific argument presented I guess this is the only translation available that fits the context. Thanks. – user3856370 Jun 4 '15 at 21:02
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    @user3856370 According to edict (searchable on jisho.org), 持つ can be defined as "to hold", "to take", or "to carry", as in the phrases 「持っていく」and 「持ち帰り」meaning to bring (to take and go), and takeout (as in food, to grab and return). – seafood258 Jun 4 '15 at 21:57
  • @user3856370 Also, don't forget to accept the answer when you are satisfied. :) – seafood258 Jun 4 '15 at 21:58

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