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Mixing polite and plain...politely

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Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby tanuki » Fri 04.14.2006 9:52 am

Hello, people!

How are you all doing?

I'm starting this thread because I would like to know to what extent can one use plain speech within polite speech not being rude at all.

For example, I tend to use plain in expressions and short exclamations, is that ok? For example:

やった!今日、本をもらいましたよ。すごい!今一緒に読みましょうね。

Well, that's probably a bit exaggerated (actually, I would probably have written すごいですね), but you get what I mean.

Some other plain expressions I use:

よかった!
どうしたの?

What can I use and what not?

Thanks in advance for the replies, bye!
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RE: Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby skrhgh3b » Fri 04.14.2006 12:42 pm

As a rule, it's OK to use informal speech within a conversation of polite speech when you're - for lack of a better way of explaining it - talking to yourself.
Last edited by skrhgh3b on Fri 04.14.2006 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby hungryhotei » Fri 04.14.2006 3:38 pm

So I wonder where っす (instead of desu) actually falls in terms of politeness, not that I think I would use it myslef. It seems slightly politer than 'plain speech' and quite masculine (maybe a bit kiddy?) to me. Anyone else's oppinion?

Anyway, I don't think that I would be saying yatta! if I was speaking politely/formally. It wouldn't really fit in the situation.
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RE: Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby tanuki » Fri 04.14.2006 5:37 pm

っす? I didn't know that, do you just replace any desu with a っす?

Like: 難しいっすね。? And what with the past? っした?
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RE: Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby keatonatron » Sat 04.15.2006 12:01 am

っす is just a slur. Gives that feeling of being a bit formal (or tough) without being stiff.

Not recommended for inexperienced speakers.

By the way, the way you mentioned mixing formal/informal is just what I was talking about in my post on "important things to remember when writing Japanese". It fits between "talking to unknown person" and "talking to friend". Probably how you would talk to coworkers or people you are familiar with but are ranked above you.
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RE: Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby Harisenbon » Sat 04.15.2006 12:55 am

っす is just a slur. Gives that feeling of being a bit formal (or tough) without being stiff.


I think it makes you sound like a 中学生, but that's just me. ;)
My friend has taken up some of that speaking pattern. He said it to my wife who is about ten years older than him, and she almost smacked him. ;)

If you're really close with someone of higher rank, っす is ok, but using it with someone you're not on close terms with is getting into the rude category. It's like fake formal speach. ;)
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RE: Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby keatonatron » Sat 04.15.2006 1:28 am

Hence the "Not recommended for inexperienced speakers."

I would compare it to the difference between "yes sir" and " 'sir" with military/police people. Talking to a commanding officer that you've known a long time, just "sir" is fine, but for new recruits talking to anyone above them, a full "yes sir" is needed.
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RE: Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby AJBryant » Sat 04.15.2006 10:47 am

I think it makes you sound like a 中学生, but that's just me.


Actually, it makes me think of some karate/sports manga character...


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RE: Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby coco » Wed 04.19.2006 5:13 am

I think it is a very interesting,important question. at the same time it is very difficult to answer / explain. Because if you use same phrase to people, someone might be okay, others might feel it bit rude. Even some elder people ( even over 60's ) don't care about casual( plain) speech. To the contrary there are some young people mind about casual speech. Thus it's depends on the person.

Anyway you gave us a good example sentence, so its easier to estimate.
Ordinary, when we express our feelings as talk to yourself, like すごい! やった! なるほど etc, we rather use plain form ( except business situations or infront of a person who is very strict about 敬語).

In my opinion
やった!今日、本をもらいましたよ。すごい!今(度)一緒に読みましょう。would be acceptable expression among more than 70 % of elder Japanese ( means even elder/higher people than you).
Among your friends, nearly 100 % okay.

In this case ending ね as 読みましょうね is bit too feminine to you.
よかった! has no problem even talk to senior/elder people.
どうしたの? is acceptable if you use it to the person who you feel like close to.

Now you are reading 村上春樹's book, I don't recommend you to use おいら as I. It's not common anymore, it has a sound of something like [rough; coarse; crude]. ;)

Hope this helps.
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RE: Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby hyperconjugated » Wed 04.19.2006 5:55 am

keatonatron wrote:
I would compare it to the difference between "yes sir" and " 'sir" with military/police people. Talking to a commanding officer that you've known a long time, just "sir" is fine, but for new recruits talking to anyone above them, a full "yes sir" is needed.


Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your senior drill instructor. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be sir. Do you maggots understand that?
Recruits: Sir, yes sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: B*llshit I can't hear you. Sound off like you got a pair.
Recruits: SIR, YES SIR!

get it right from the start! ;)
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RE: Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby tanuki » Wed 04.19.2006 1:23 pm

Thanks for the replies, everyone!

I'm glad the language I was using was acceptable. And no problem, I won't use the っす :).

In this case ending ね as 読みましょうね is bit too feminine to you.


Augh! I'm sure I picked that up from anime :@.

どうしたの? is acceptable if you use it to the person who you feel like close to.


I see... And someone you don't know well? What would you say instead?

I don't recommend you to use おいら as I.


Don't worry, I won't. With 私 and 僕 I have enough, I think :).
Last edited by tanuki on Wed 04.19.2006 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Mixing polite and plain...politely

Postby coco » Fri 04.21.2006 8:44 pm

tanuki wrote:
どうしたの? is acceptable if you use it to the person who you feel like close to.


I see... And someone you don't know well? What would you say instead?

どうしましたか?
どうしました?
might be better, I think.

私 and 僕 I have enough,

Very Good. Turning casual/rough will have less problems than opposite, in my opinion. :)
Last edited by coco on Fri 04.21.2006 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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