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Politeness

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Politeness

Postby creativity » Sun 11.05.2006 7:11 pm

What level of politeness(sp?) should I start learning? Would it be considered ok for a foreigner to speak in a neutral way, rather than politely(sp?) to a japanese stranger? What is the japanese's general reaction to foreigners? Do they get offended easily?
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RE: Politeness

Postby paul_b » Sun 11.05.2006 7:19 pm

creativity wrote:
What level of politeness(sp?) should I start learning? Would it be considered ok for a foreigner to speak in a neutral way, rather than politely(sp?) to a japanese stranger? What is the japanese's general reaction to foreigners? Do they get offended easily?

Learn both at the same time but speak in ~masu form until you know enough to know when not to.
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RE: Politeness

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 11.05.2006 9:58 pm

Unfortunately there's no such thing as "neutral" politeness in Japanese. As a foreigner you can do almost anything you want, but if you do, you're relying on the "foreigner card" which can be bad depending on what you actually want to do in Japan.

It depends on how old you are and who you're talking to. In general you should start with -masu/desu forms when you first meet someone, and you should always use -masu/desu forms with people who are not your friends (or significantly younger than you).

But I think what Paul said is good advice.
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RE: Politeness

Postby creativity » Mon 11.06.2006 3:31 pm

Ok, thank you :D
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RE: Politeness

Postby Tegyrius » Mon 11.06.2006 4:03 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:(or significantly younger than you).


don't you mean "or significantly older than you"?
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RE: Politeness

Postby richvh » Mon 11.06.2006 4:15 pm

"You should always use -masu/desu forms with people who are not significantly older than you"... no, I don't think that's what he meant.
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RE: Politeness

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 11.06.2006 5:14 pm

I guess that was unclear -- I meant that if someone is significantly younger than you, you do not necessarily need to use -masu/desu forms with them. This is particularly true with people high school age or younger, and the younger they are, the stranger it sounds to use -masu/desu forms in speaking to them.
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