2

While reading What's the polite way to invite someone to do something?, I noticed that many of the comments/answers talk about how things are polite enough for an online chat service. Well, I'm curious what would be the proper ultra polite way to talk to your far far superior superior. A way of saying it suitable for the situation where you need extreme politeness. Here's a situation I'm imagining:

You are the newest employee and lowest on the corporate ladder for a huge megacorporation. You are a master of all polite forms of Japanese as well as being a qualified teacher of English. You by some accident are given the opportunity to talk to the CEO of said megacoporation, who doesn't speak English but wishes to learn. You wish to tell the CEO to feel free to contact you if they have any questions about English or want to learn English from you.

What would you say in Japanese? I've come up with

英語につきましては何なりとご連絡ください。お役に立てれば幸いです。

But I'm sure it could be made politer/more formal.

P.S. I'd also be interested if say you were talking to the Emperor/Prime Minister/Other person of very high status if the appropriate language would change. I imagine it would be different if you were a servant working for a high class family.

4

There should be various ways to say what you want to say, but in the situation you mention, I would say "英語に関することで私にお役に立てることがありましたら、いつでもおっしゃってください". It is not super-super polite, but this level is politeness is appropriate for conversation when an employee has a chance encounter with CEO (not when you are asked to teach him as a part of your teaching job - in that case your wording would be different but the politeness should stay the same)

Your "何なりとご連絡ください" is also very good, but it sounds a little bit business-like, like a sales representative talking to a client (at least to me).

Also "幸いです" is often seen in written Japanese but less common in conversational Japanese. If I want to use 幸いです I would say "嬉しく存じます" instead.

However, talking to the Emperor would be totally different. People would use the highest honorific form they can think of, in other word, they would try to be as stiff as possible sometimes using a literary style, sometimes pick up some expressions they rarely use in normal conversation like "お声をかけていただければ幸甚至極にございます" etc.

If you are a servant, you can talk like a concierge of a high-class hotel: "何かお困りのことがございましたら、何なりとお申し付けくださいませ" but this is only appropriate when you are in hospitality business or at a service desk.

Note that I am not a language teacher or a keigo master but a regular Japanese who worked for Japanese corporations for several years. Correct me if my answer contains error.

  • Great answer, really highlights how polite language is not just a single spectrum but rather is multi-dimensional and situational. – Darius Jahandarie May 8 at 22:03

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.