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names

Postby Ronnie » Sun 07.30.2006 11:59 pm

i'm hosting a japanese exchange student soon. I've never had one before, and my problem is i'm still confused with addressing people in Japanese.
Books I have read have told me that Japanese people call each other by their family names +さん, with the exception of very close friends and family(where you can use first names) . But I'm not sure if this is old fashioned or will seem overly polite (keeping in mind that i'm a teenager and so is she).
Also is it impolite to use pronouns, like あなた? I hear that pronouns such as 'you' are used very rarely in japanese language. But then Japanese language omits the subject a lot more often than English, so is it ok most of the time to not address someone by name at all, but just talk to them?
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RE: names

Postby keatonatron » Mon 07.31.2006 12:38 am

You're on the right track.

さん is only used for situations where you need to keep yourself distanced from the speaker. You use it at work and for anyone you don't consider a good friend. And when you're talking about a friend, if you're talking TO someone who is distanced from both of you you should still use さん.

あなた is used only when you first meet someone and you don't know their name, or if you're a 30+ woman talking to her husband.

Teenagers are usually very friendly with other teens. Just using her name will be fine. Whenever you need to specify that you're talking about her and not someone else, use her name in place of "you".

But over all, don't worry about it too much. You aren't Japanese, which means you aren't expected to conform to the strict rules when it comes to names and politeness levels ;)
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RE: names

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 07.31.2006 10:15 am

in fact by speaking normally you will allow the exchange student to see what our traditions are and what your family traditions are.. rather than trying to be overly japanese to accomodate her/him, be yourself and just understand that much of what you do might be new and if you let them time to adjust it will be good.

of course helping out by using japanese won't hurt..
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RE: names

Postby Budomaru » Mon 07.31.2006 11:56 am

keatonatron wrote:
あなた is used only when you first meet someone and you don't know their name, or if you're a 30+ woman talking to her husband.


dont forget to do that in a deep sexy voice B)
You know you've been hanging around a forum too long when people start quoting you and agreeing :P
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RE: names

Postby Sumi » Mon 07.31.2006 12:42 pm

Budomaru wrote:
keatonatron wrote:
あなた is used only when you first meet someone and you don't know their name, or if you're a 30+ woman talking to her husband.


dont forget to do that in a deep sexy voice B)


Yeah....
That I won't forget...
ねえ、あのう、弟さん、ここに遊んじゃだめだよ。あそこは酸があるんだよ。
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