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Politeness WHEN....

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Politeness WHEN....

Postby MFoogle » Wed 07.09.2008 9:32 am

Scenario: A guy maybe a bit older than you walks up to you and punches you in your stomach, gropes you, whatever. Do you say...

A. 何をしていますか?!
B. 何してる?!

If you're really mad at someone who you would normally talk respectfully to, do you stick to mean formal words or just go ahead and jump to the informal?
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Re: Politeness WHEN....

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 07.09.2008 9:54 am

sometimes the most polite language can be the most impolite..

In this case, it would not be necessary to speak in a polite manner.
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Re: Politeness WHEN....

Postby furrykef » Wed 07.09.2008 10:09 am

It's interesting how this can vary across languages and even in different regions speaking the same language. There's a comic strip in Spanish I read where a character said, "¿Es usted el pintor? ¡Lo mataré!", which uses formal second pronouns -- usually roughly analogous to Japanese use of desu/masu -- but it means "Are you the painter? I will kill you!" (He's furious because the painter in question has painted his girlfriend nude.) I don't think the use of the formal pronouns is out of sarcasm, and it's obviously not out of politeness, but I think it's rather because usage of the informal pronouns would connote friendship, which these characters do not have. However, other Spanish speakers have said that using the informal pronouns here would sound more natural where they live, i.e., that using the informal pronoun would be used to express contempt for a stranger.

I don't have any light to shed on this matter for Japanese, but I thought it'd be an interesting little digression. :)

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Re: Politeness WHEN....

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 07.09.2008 3:54 pm

In Japanese, odd uses of politeness are common in comics because often, the use of polite language is done to delineate character rather than to mimic real-world use of politeness (of course, it is deliniating the character through relation to real-world use). But you will find villians in comics that speak politely to everyone, including the heroes, you will find kids using plain language to their teachers or bosses, bosses speaking politely to their employees, etc.
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Re: Politeness WHEN....

Postby furrykef » Wed 07.09.2008 4:41 pm

Which of course can lead to the "But I call everyone 'omae'!" syndrome... :P
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Re: Politeness WHEN....

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 07.09.2008 4:44 pm

Personally, if I am that pissed, it's low form from me.

However, If someone just ups and slugs me, I probably won't be in the mood to add (keigo in there).. In fact, I might just give him a earful of some pretty flowery English as I won't exactly be in the frame of mind to make the translations work.
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