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Responding to Death in Japanese

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Responding to Death in Japanese

Postby queuebert » Tue 09.18.2007 1:44 am

I was wondering, how do the Japanese respond when talking to someone whom they find out has recently lost someone close to them? For example, in English, it's common to say something along the lines of "I'm sorry to hear about that." I don't think gomen nasai/sumimasen really cover that particular variety of "I'm sorry", and I realize it might be something entirely different anyways. Thanks for any input. :-)
Last edited by queuebert on Tue 09.18.2007 3:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Responding to Death in Japanese

Postby b4d0m3n » Tue 09.18.2007 2:24 am

I think gomen nasai etc. are more general apologies. English 'sorry' has double meaning. I'm pretty sure the Japanese one doesn't.
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RE: Responding to Death in Japanese

Postby Harisenbon » Tue 09.18.2007 5:11 am

ご愁傷様です
ごしゅうしょうさまです

Is the standard phrase of condolence.
ごめんなさい is said for something that YOU have done personally to upset/hurt someone. So if you killed someone's cat, then you say ごめんなさい. If their mother died, you say ご愁傷様です.

ですcan also be replaced by でございます.
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RE: Responding to Death in Japanese

Postby queuebert » Tue 09.18.2007 5:35 am

Thanks much; that sounds exactly what I was looking for.
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RE: Responding to Death in Japanese

Postby Hatori » Tue 09.18.2007 7:17 am

Would you want to know what people would ever to for funerals and stuff like that?
我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。
lol
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RE: Responding to Death in Japanese

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 09.18.2007 9:03 am

Harisenbon wrote:
ご愁傷様です
ごしゅうしょうさまです
ですcan also be replaced by でございます.


I think I heard more with でございます than です, but I imagine it depends on the persons involved and their positions to each other.
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RE: Responding to Death in Japanese

Postby Dehitay » Tue 09.18.2007 11:38 am

Could お気の毒 apply to this situation as well? Or is that for less severe situations?
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RE: Responding to Death in Japanese

Postby chikara » Tue 09.18.2007 8:21 pm

Dehitay wrote:
Could お気の毒 apply to this situation as well? Or is that for less severe situations?

ご愁傷様でございます is specifically "condolences" but it would appear that お気の毒に, "my sympathies" can also be used;

(人)のご逝去の由誠にお気の毒に存じます。
I'm very sorry to hear of the death of ( )
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RE: Responding to Death in Japanese

Postby AJBryant » Wed 09.19.2007 7:39 pm

Good God, no!

気の毒に sounds almost sarcastic when talking about death!!


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RE: Responding to Death in Japanese

Postby chikara » Wed 09.19.2007 8:10 pm

AJBryant wrote:
Good God, no!

気の毒に sounds almost sarcastic when talking about death!!

So much for using the examples on alc.co.jp as a guide.

An obvious attempt by the Japanese to mislead gaijin like me :(
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