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Softener ちょっと

Oni's picture
Many years ago I found an example in a book of how Japanese can be direct or politely indirect. For example you can say:

1) こい! koi


2) あのう、すみません、たいへん恐れいれますが、ちょっとこちらへいらっしゃってくださいませんでしょうか?

both mean 'come here' but #2 is much more polite being cushioned by many soft, indirect words. One of these words is ちょっと.

ちょっと means 'little' or 'small amount' but it is often used to soften an otherwise painful 'no' or 'your request is impossible; live with it'

muzukashi desu ga.
That's a little difficult. (this may be said when the request is impossible)

dekinai desu.
It can't be done.

wakaranai desu.
I'm not really sure.

I have been told the sound 'chotto' is a bad word in Korean. If that is the case, chotto may not be that soft of a word...


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lol - politeness

You got to love politeness, it scores you a good reputation and first impressions as well as quadrupling the sentence length.

Hey! What's the time?

Um, Excuse me. If you know the time could you tell me? Thank you very much, Please excuse my absence now.