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"I am not allright" How?

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"I am not allright" How?

Postby Anoku » Wed 05.06.2009 7:50 pm

This question is mainly aimed at native English speakers.
Apololgies for not having done the required 'homework' on this, but it is a bit of a delicate and urgent matter and I'm asking on behalf of a close friend and I sincerely believe my Japanese skills are not anywhere near adequate to convey the subtlety and intent of the needed reply... And I do not think the level of subtlety or nuance can be conveyed through electronic translation or dictionaries.

I'm sure those native (UK) English speakers are aware that, when asked the question 'How are you doing?' or 'Are you allright?' (very English), the 'normal reply is "I'm fine, you?"' or "I'm allright, how are you?"
The kind of 'automatic' small talk. But sometimes you want to give a reply that is not expected, just to draw attention, to make a point, to be heard or listened to, to stress the fact that your reply is not the expected standard reply, yet is not rude or offensive. (Swear at me if I stop making sense..)

Well, you get what I mean, hopefully..

In Japanese it would be 0-genki desu-ka? (Again avoiding Hiragana/Kanji as copy/paste does not always get me there ^^)
Or, in everyd day life, simply 'Genki?

So this here's a needed reply that seems to exceed the capabilities of online/electronic/paper dictionaries.
What if you want to express, in reply to a 'standard, conversational, set sentence' that, no, you are actually not allright, and you want to convey this point in a way that sounds respectful and polite but invites further conversation?
As if in (UK) English, in reply to the bog-standard every day greeting "Allright?" you really want to reply "Actually,. not really...."

Sorry I can't supply exapmle sentences for you to correct, this level of subtlety is way beyond me...
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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 05.06.2009 7:58 pm

First off, "o-genki desu ka?" and "genki?" are not as commonly used in Japanese as in English. Typically you only use the phrases if you haven't seen someone in a while, or if you know they have been sick/stressed/etc. It's not a general-purpose daily phrase. It also lacks the strict "I'm fine" response of English; saying something like "amari genki ja nai" (I'm not that well) or "chotto kaze o hikimashita" (I caught a little cold) is OK.

Typical meaningless chatter along the lines of "How are you?" in English will often be about the weather in Japanese.

(One additional point, "genki?" is not "every day life"; it's used with friends. There are plenty of people you talk to in your everyday life that you would not use casual speech with.)
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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby AJBryant » Wed 05.06.2009 9:59 pm

It's been raining a lot here.

Lately, my reply to "how are you?" has been, "moist."



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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby chikara » Wed 05.06.2009 11:34 pm

AJBryant wrote:.... Lately, my reply to "how are you?" has been, "moist." .....

I've only ever had that reply from a female ;)
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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby furrykef » Wed 05.06.2009 11:57 pm

okaaaayyyy...
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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby Anoku » Thu 05.07.2009 8:21 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:something like "amari genki ja nai" (I'm not that well) or "chotto kaze o hikimashita" (I caught a little cold) is OK.


Just to verify I do understand this sentence:
the ja nai ending makes the normal 'very' meaning into 'not very' rather than turning 'genki' into not well, so it is:
I'm not very well
rather than
I'm very unwell

Correct?
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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby furrykef » Thu 05.07.2009 9:05 am

Yes, that's correct. I think the idea of "not well" or "unwell" would be expressed with a negating prefix such as 不, although I'm not too sure on that.
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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 05.07.2009 9:43 am

I'm not sure about that; I can't think of any 不 expressions that mean "not well".

元気じゃない is fine for "I'm not well" or "I'm unwell" (neither of those expressions exist for me in English, but perhaps things are different across the pond. :) )
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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby keatonatron » Thu 05.07.2009 9:48 am

Anoku wrote:but it is a bit of a delicate and urgent matter and I'm asking on behalf of a close friend


Just out of curiosity... why is it so urgent? Are they being asked "O-genki desu ka?" right now and confused about how to reply?
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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby Anoku » Thu 05.07.2009 4:49 pm

keatonatron wrote:
Anoku wrote:but it is a bit of a delicate and urgent matter and I'm asking on behalf of a close friend


Just out of curiosity... why is it so urgent? Are they being asked "O-genki desu ka?" right now and confused about how to reply?


No, but he will be soon (maybe not as a direct reply to o-genki desu ka, but he feels he needs to get his point across) and he wants to convey this point accurately just to make a statement/get a point acrosss/open up a line of conversation. And he believes it may be more efficient to do it in Japanese correctly, rather than try to do it in English and possible be misunderstood or misinterpreted. I can see his point. My only concern, if she replies in Japanese, what will he do ^^

At the moment we're dubbing whether
Amari genki ja nai
or
Kanari genki ja nai
(Oooh I am eveil but I simply couldn't resist translating this one as 'My canary isn't well... I'll burn in hell :twisted: )

would serve the purpose best/most efficiently.
(Having seen him over the past 2 weeks, I'd definitely go for the latter...)

What the hell do I know, I'm neither fluent in Japanese nor a relationship coach ^^
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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby astaroth » Thu 05.07.2009 4:59 pm

You gave very little of background or context to understand the nuance you'd like to convey.
My first guess when I read the title would have been 大丈夫? which I understand is something like "are you all right?" while 元気? is "how are you?" asking whether a person is fine physically, that is not ill.
Being a relationship related question my guess would be 大丈夫? or どうしたの? to be the more accurate ... but then it's truly context-dependent.

I had a hard time understanding the meaning of "what's up?" my first answers were "up? up where?" ... honestly I still quite don't get it but now simply passively accept it. :mrgreen:
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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby keatonatron » Thu 05.07.2009 6:30 pm

Anoku wrote:My only concern, if she replies in Japanese, what will he do ^^


Yeah, if his Japanese isn't good enough to figure this out on his own, it's really not something he should be attempting to say :?

For one thing, you're going for a "shocking" or "make them think" effect, but if the other person thinks his Japanese isn't good enough to come up with a deep reply like this, they will take it lightly and assume he just made a mistake instead of thinking it's some deep word-play.
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Re: "I am not allright" How?

Postby Anoku » Fri 05.08.2009 9:16 am

keatonatron wrote:if the other person thinks his Japanese isn't good enough to come up with a deep reply like this, they will take it lightly and assume he just made a mistake instead of thinking it's some deep word-play.


Very wise words, thank you.
I'll tell him to stick English!
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