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高級 日本語 1『Some respect please?』

September 21, 2009

preview7Here in the western world you can most often talk to your boss or a stranger the way you would do with your friends, formal speech is not something we stand still and think about often, but in Japan people live by it. Say something using impolite speech and you are thought to have no social manners at all. Let’s gain some respect by talking with respect!

mini-high1To all Japanese learners one of the more difficult things is Japan’s hierarchy system of social position, knowing your position and how to interact with people of different levels up the social ladder weighs heavy. Respect is everything. Doesn’t it amaze you how Japanese people always praise other people? I’m sure you’ve heard one or two of your Japanese friends saying 「Oh your Japanese is so スゴイ!」just after you uttered your「konnichiwa」. Yes it’s over the top but it all has to do with being polite and respectful.

Different occasions with different people requires different speech but because there are so many levels of respect, new learners (and even advanced learners) will feel overwhelmed by how many different ways there are to say one and the same thing. To help you on your way I’ve created this well, ‘verb cheat sheet’ using the 3 most used politeness levels along with it’s regular meaning. Hope you’ll find it usefull.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. デイビト permalink
    September 22, 2009 1:50 am

    Hi Starsquid. I just found out your blog and wanted to let you know that the layout and graphics are top notch, I can feel you’re putting lot of effort in making them! Are you working in illustration and design? Are you living in Japan currently or still in China?
    I’m studying japanese and will follow your blog!

    • Starsquid permalink*
      September 22, 2009 9:43 am

      Thanks デイビトさん! I’m currently doing freelance design work and living in my home country The Netherlands. Good luck to you studying Japanese and I hope my blog can contribute a little, btw, you also have a blog/webpage or something?

      • September 22, 2009 10:29 am

        Yeah I have a website, just starting though.. and in french. I’m currently living in Japan since the end of august 2009 and working hard on my studies.

  2. October 13, 2011 9:02 pm

    Wow, I just found this chart and it looks fantastic! Keigo and the like is SO hard — or at least for me it seems that way. I’ve avoided it thus far just so I won’t tick anyone off! This chart will give me something to chew on for sure!

    • October 13, 2011 10:57 pm

      Yeah, it takes years to ‘master’, that’s why Japanese school kids start learning about it in primary school. Hope the chart can be of any help!

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