38

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 you ...


33

The pronoun "anata" is the supposed neutral way to refer to someone whose name you're not aware of, and it's OK to use it to a stranger if you can't think of any other way to phrase the thing you want to ask. The main reason why it's so frequently warned against is that the first instinct of speakers of English (and other Western languages) is to use the ...


32

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 ...


27

Yes, absolutely. It's called "style shift." There's a whole book about it, and it's covered in brief in A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar, but in short: The most common place to hear style shifts is when the background style is polite. In most conversations in です・ます style between native speakers you will hear shifts to plain form. Here are some ...


25

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 ...


24

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. ...


19

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 ...


18

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


16

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 ...


15

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.


15

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 ...


15

いかがですか is a more formal way of saying どうですか, and similar to どうされますか. Saying コーヒーはいかがですか can also mean "Would you like some coffee?" Context should clarify it of course, but I think that どうですか would be preferred for asking about the coffee, and if you really wanted to drive the point home you can say something like コーヒーの味はどうですか? To make it more casual you ...


14

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 will ...


14

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 ...


14

I feel that the expressions you listed include "super-polite" apologies which would be a bit too much in this situation. The professor would be surprised if you really used these heavy expressions. (And it would be more true considering the fact that he knows you're not a native speaker of Japanese.) Among those, 大変失礼いたしました is probably the safest, and you ...


14

To us native speakers, 「古{ふる}い男{おとこ}」 does not mean "an old man". This is why direct translation could be dangerous at times. 「古い男」 to us means "an old-fashioned man". In other words, it is synonymous to 「古いタイプの男」. Therefore, 「古い男」 does not necessarily have to be biologically old because it is his value system that matters here. To refer to "an old man",...


13

This is what デジタル大辞泉 says about あなた: 対等または目下の者に対して、丁寧に、または親しみをこめていう。 妻が夫に対して、軽い敬意や親しみをこめてい。 In definition (1), it's said that あなた is used for second person who is equivalent or subordinate/inferior/junior while being polite or intimate/familiar. Definition (2) states that it can also be used between spouses to intimately call each other. So, ...


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 ...


13

A very common (and mature-sounding) phrase would be 「[差]{さ}し[支]{つか}えなければ」. 「差し支え」 means "obstacle", "inconvenience", etc. 「差し支えなければ、ご[職業]{しょくぎょう}をお[聞]{き}きしてもよろしいですか。」 You may add a 「もし」 at the beginning as well. Other natural expressions would include: Polite:「(もし)お[尋]{たず}ねしてもよろしければ」 Less polite:「もし聞いてもよければ」


13

This question is largely about culture but a place where culture and language interact. I work at a university in Japan and both on and off campus, we call each other 苗字 (family name)-先生. There's one or two exceptions where a 高橋 goes by her first name (one of four takahashi's). Japan is a relationally organized society, and the manner in which you know the ...


13

The way to go is usually to just deny it a little. Something in the lines of : そんな事ないです。 まだまだです。


13

As a general rule, almost all verbs can be transformed into an honorific form, and many, but not all, can be transformed into a humble form*. The chart you pasted lists special/irregular forms. So, for verbs not listed in that chart, you can usually transform them into the basic/regular honorific/humble forms, like this: Honorific forms: 「お~~になる」 ...


12

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。


12

I wouldn't do that. It's true that some people use お姉さん, but you'll be taking unnecessary risk. For a example, some older women might get offended for being called that way, and some younger women might get offended, too! It's like calling somebody "Hi young woman!". Of course some people will like it. If you say お姉さん to an 大{おお}阪{さか}のおばちゃん, you might get ...


12

Until a few decades ago, we used to hear guests call waitresses “お姉ちゃん” or “お姉さん.” But we don’t see or hear someone calling a waitress by the term, “お姉ちゃん” or “お姉さん” today. We address waitresses in restaurant mostly raising a hand, and by saying “すみません ‐ Excuse me” or sometimes “ちょっと、済みません - Pardon a moment” instead of calling them “お姉ちゃん / お姉さん,” which is ...


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