4

When describing もらう DBJG says "The first person or s.o. the speaker empathises with recieves some benefit from an action by someone whose status is not as high as the receiver's"

It then goes on to give the example

私は父にカメラを買ってもらった

But surely the father's status is higher than the son/daughter's status so this example seems to contradict the description.

So, are both the description and the sentence correct? If so what am i missing?

I would like to believe the desciption and replace the sentence with

私は父にカメラを買っていただいた

Would that be correct? Thanks.

3

I believe the confusion with the example sentence is caused by another issue - politeness levels when it comes to family. When you talk about your family to people outside the family, you are supposed to use less respectful terms such as 父{ちち} and 母{はは}, as opposed to respectful terms like お父{とう}さん and お母{かあ}さん that you are supposed to use when you talk to other family members.

This is part of the cultural standard of referring to yourself and things related to yourself in a humble manner. This can be seen in the use of the お/ご polite prefix:

A: お元気{げんき}ですか? Are you well?
B: はい、元気です。 Yes, I am well.

In the example 私は父にカメラを買ってもらった, they are lowering the status of the father to be humble about their family, so it makes sense to use もらう. Other reasons they would use もらう are because it is a casual conversation, or because they have a nice, friendly relationship with their father.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.