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Politeness level for ... I guess service professions?

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Politeness level for ... I guess service professions?

Postby Delekii » Sat 04.07.2007 7:34 pm

If you are approached by a policeman on the road in Japan, who looks to be about your age, how does it work? Are you a "customer", or is he someone to show respect to - what tends to happen? Do both parties just use desu/masu?

Same thing for when you are at the doctors surgery - I have read that Japanese Doctors tend to think very high and mightily of themselves, but what language do they tend use toward their patients and visa versa?

There are a number of other such examples I can think of, perhaps soldiers/firefighters, and of those kind of professions which involve serving the community, but not in a consumerism fashion.
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RE: Politeness level for ... I guess service professions?

Postby Dehitay » Sat 04.07.2007 9:39 pm

It's probly not gonna be that different from how you treat them where you come from. I hope you show people like that respect (especially cops that pull you over). I would definitely suggest using keigo.
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RE: Politeness level for ... I guess service professions?

Postby flammable hippo » Sat 04.07.2007 9:42 pm

would anyone advise using the term おまわりさん?
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RE: Politeness level for ... I guess service professions?

Postby Kagemaru » Sun 04.08.2007 4:48 am

flammable hippo wrote:
would anyone advise using the term おまわりさん?


I use it only for the policeman in the 交番 because it comes from まわり・周り, so おまわりさん I would say would be more like patrolman.

警察官 for other matters unless talking about detectives, forensics etc

I don't feel it necessary I need to use keigo with community serviceman, doctors, dentists etc.

Teineigo is enough I think.
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RE: Politeness level for ... I guess service professions?

Postby Mike Cash » Sun 04.08.2007 5:57 am

Delekii wrote:
If you are approached by a policeman on the road in Japan, who looks to be about your age, how does it work? Are you a "customer", or is he someone to show respect to - what tends to happen? Do both parties just use desu/masu?


Age is irrelevant in that situation.

You'll find some people who talk politely to police, and some people who don't. Similarly, you'll find some people to whom the police talk politely, and some to whom they are less likely to do so. No one-size-fits-all answer on that.

The typical greeting to a policeman in that situation is ご苦労様です。
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RE: Politeness level for ... I guess service professions?

Postby keatonatron » Sun 04.08.2007 9:48 am

I'd say it depends on what side of the "social servant" your are standing. If you are the community member that the policeman is serving, you don't have to be all that polite. If the policeman is coming after you as a service to others, you better show him some respect! :D

I actually had a run-in with a copper today. I was in the middle of moving, and the van I had rented was kinda blocking the road. (In actuality it was fine, but someone was paranoid about trying to drive past and was waiting for me to come back and move the vehicle).

So I walked out of my apartment right after a policeman had happened by and started searching for the driver (me).

He was very nice, but since it was obviously me who was causing the disturbance I spoke very politely to him. After I moved the van, the other drivers passed, and one stopped to talk to the policeman. He was very angry, and was scolding the policeman for holding up traffic and not effectively making things run smoothly. He did not speak politely at all. The policeman apologized deeply.
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