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Moving from Polite (です) to Plain (だ) Japanese

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Moving from Polite (です) to Plain (だ) Japanese

Postby Gaikokujin » April 13th, 2007 8:51 pm

Hey, I'm new here, so be nice to me! よろしくお願いします。

When you're making friends in Japan, how would you know/when is it deemed suitable to switch from talking to each other in polite Japanese to the plain, informal style of Japanese?

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Postby Outkast » April 15th, 2007 1:32 am

Sounds weird, but you could ask the person which kind they think you should use with them (if they know you are just learning.) (If you're professional with it, but just uncertain of which kind to use, then observe how they talk.)

Generally, people will use polite speech with beginners (because it's what is taught first for most people) but switch to informal with more experienced (if you have an informal relationship with them.)

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Postby seanolan » April 15th, 2007 11:18 pm

Keep in mind their position. Your boss, for instance, might use casual to you, but if you respond in kind, he will be taken aback, unless it were at a drunken enkai or some such. Japanese people NEVER forget relative social status, EVER. However, if someone of the same social standing (co-worker, fellow student, etc) uses casual to you, using polite can take them aback as well, subtly indicating that you do not consider the relationship to be that close.

As foreigners, they do take our ignorance into consideration generally, but their gut reaction will be there, even if their mind tells them to ignore your social gaffe.

Generally speaking, those higher than you should ALWAYS be addressed by polite forms, those equal to you should be addressed as they address you, and those lower than you can be addressed with either form, but realize that if you are too polite to someone of a lower social standing, they may either think you are mocking them or may try to outdo you on politeness in their language, making it REALLY tough to understand them when they start using humble forms, etc.


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since you're talking about

Postby JonB » April 16th, 2007 4:42 am

friends - maybe you can listen out for when they switch when talking to you.

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