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How to respond to compliments

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Hedwig
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How to respond to compliments

Postby Hedwig » April 5th, 2007 12:42 am

Hello all,

I'm interested in learning how one might politely respond to compliments. I know in some cultures it is impolite to say "thank you" (or the equivalent) after a compliment because it implies that you agree with the person who has just complimented you and suggests a lack of humility. Is this the case in Japan? Is it okay to accept compliments? I would be interested to learn some appropriate responses.

Thank you!

Outkast
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Postby Outkast » April 5th, 2007 2:50 am

My instructions have been that you deflect compliments from Japanese speakers.

For example:

Japanese Speaker: Your sister is so pretty! (Looking at a photo)

You: No... Not really...


This sounds weird to people who aren't used to it, but you always deny compliments in Japanese situations--not that you shouldn't stop giving them though! It's just that you have to be humble and pretend that you can't accept the compliment.

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WalterWills
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Postby WalterWills » July 3rd, 2007 11:33 pm

I wonder how far they take this, I mean with some compliments it would be absurd to deny them.

Gaijin: "You're good at Japanese!"
Nihonjin: "No, I'm not."

untmdsprt
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Postby untmdsprt » July 4th, 2007 12:34 am

That depends on if Japanese is their native language. I know a Japanese woman who was born in Japan but moved here at a very young age. She grew up speaking English first with Japanese second. She never learned how to read and write Japanese, and tells me that I'm better at reading and writing. She in my opinion is way better in speaking!

Bueller_007
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Postby Bueller_007 » July 4th, 2007 4:52 am

WalterWills wrote:I wonder how far they take this, I mean with some compliments it would be absurd to deny them.

Gaijin: "You're good at Japanese!"
Nihonjin: "No, I'm not."

If you're giving a compliment that absurd to begin with, the answer is not really a problem. You're more likely to get a confused look or a laugh.

annie
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Postby annie » July 4th, 2007 5:20 am

Bueller_007 wrote:
WalterWills wrote:I wonder how far they take this, I mean with some compliments it would be absurd to deny them.

Gaijin: "You're good at Japanese!"
Nihonjin: "No, I'm not."

If you're giving a compliment that absurd to begin with, the answer is not really a problem. You're more likely to get a confused look or a laugh.


though, people compliment me on my English all the time here!
usually when they hear me speaking English on the phone....

(for awhile, i was wondering if they'd forgotten that I'm NOT japanese, but i think what they really mean by "your English pronunciation is very good" is "I can't understand a thing you're saying.") :D

Bueller_007
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Postby Bueller_007 » July 4th, 2007 7:44 am

I might say to a Japanese person "Your Japanese is really good" if I had just received a lecture from them or something.

But I think the sarcasm would go right over his or her head.

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