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What do you think Japanese friends?




Japanese people need help to brush up on their polite language, a government panel has proposed.


A report for the Agency for Cultural Affairs said 'keigo' - honorific Japanese - was being widely misused.


Keigo is a complicated form of the language which involves different conjugations of regular nouns and verbs, or different words entirely.


It is used to address seniors - a customer, for example - and is meant to humble speakers and elevate listeners.


The government panel has proposed publishing manuals explaining to people how the language should be used.


"Not just young people, but grown-ups are not using honorific Japanese properly. With the language guidelines, we hope to spread the correct use of the Japanese language," education ministry official Osamu Kubota was quoted as saying by the French news agency AFP.


The government panel cited a 2003 survey on the Japanese language which found that 96% of people believe keigo remains important, but the researchers noted that it was nevertheless being used incorrectly.


For example, the verb "to be" is iru in informal Japanese, imasu in polite Japanese, and irrashaimasu in honorific Japanese.


The government report also suggested that the country's ability to read and write Chinese characters - the mainstay of the Japanese language - be re-evaluated.


A survey in November found that 20% of students at private universities had poorer language abilities than high school pupils.


Adults sometimes find it difficult to remember how to write characters because they rely on computers, and have to ask their children for help.

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Exactly polite way is hard even for us.


There's some ways

#1 sonkei ( respect way )

#2 kenjo ( modesty way )

#3 teinei ( just polite way)

etc etc


So if we would like to use them correctly, we need to practice or train ourselves for it.

As you mention, even some adults can't use them correctly which is maybe shame.


As Japanese society had been feudal and samurai way in edo era, it's still in a spell of the upper and lower classes which is not easy to be destroyed.

I guess probably people thought the shogun was the greatest in the world in edo era. After the WW2, democratic way of thinking got in Japan, nowadays fewer people think Tenno(Norihito) is the greatest but most don't.


After the WW2, Japanese people don't need to get scared off any more by police,MP etc. So people don't need to exercise polite way of saying so hard. I think it disables people to use them correctly.


I think it's like what if British people had a chance to meet the Queen Elizabeth II ? Do they just speak as usual or is there any special way like our polite way?

And if they have not practiced the way enough?


Concerning kanji, as you point, the more people use computer, the harder they write them in hand correct \:\(

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Well, my initial nihongo was all learnt from audio tapes - business oriented tapes at that - so at the moment I find it easier to understand (and speak) keigo than any less formal stuff. I think it probably sounds strange to most japanese... but I'm learning...

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Don't be afraid, Sven.

I think the key is to pronounce each and every vowel clearly and independently. Japanese is a language bases on vowels.


OhayOU GozAImasu


I think listening to tapes is a good way.

I sang a lot English songs while others did Japanese songs.

Practice, practice! cool.gif

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Cheers Gamera, practice I will \:\)

And yeah, I'm really happy with the audio tapes I used... they really did help with pronounciation.

Sometimes I just slip in an ultra polite "gozonji desuka?" to see what kind of reaction I get cool.gif

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Learning standard japanese, hyojungo, first is definitely the way to go. Learning Keigo at the same time is beneficial but not often practical as its not used too much, unless youre a businessman; even then, in business that I delt with everybody spoke hiroshima ben during meetings, not keigo like I was repeatedly told japanese use confused.gif wakaranai.gif


I had some funny looks from my students here in kansai at the beginning of this school year when I spoke hiroshima ben and found that often they couldnt understand what I was saying and had to switch to hyojungo. learning kansai ben now and having fun with it - especially the rhythm and pronunciation of it.


I find that Japanese rarely know their own language as well. Same thing with Americans or peeps from the UK and English. They know it intrinsically but dont "really know it" or how to explain it.

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I learned all my Japanese from living in the school dormitory with the baseball and judo kids...needless to say it isn`t the most polite, and have had many a funy look from my Kocho Sensei when I inadvertantly addressed him as Koitsu!!!! eek.gif lol.gif

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I'm not good at using Keigo... Of course I try to use Keigo for our client and customers but never used Keigo in my office even when I talk to my boss. He doesn't care because he speaks Kansai-ben. I'm wondering how Kansai people can be polite with their Kansai-ben? ;\)

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Yeah I know Yamakashi.

We have some clientele in Hiroshima and they

always talk like that! More like 'わしゃ'?


Slow, for example

Akande - You can't do that.

Akimasen (or AkimaHEn maybe?) - polite way for above.


Chau? - isn't it?

Chaimasuka? - polite way for above.


Something like those.

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I love the way kansai ben sounds - its so rhythmical and smooth sounding. J-peeps often say that hiroshima ben is so rough but I dont really think so; at least not compared with ずうずう弁


Gamera, わしゃ would be like 俺ら;わし=俺


At least thats the way that Ive heard it spoken, especially out in Geihoku/Yahata area my J-mates speak really, really 田舎広島弁 eek.gif

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I love you speak Hiroshima-ben, Yamakashi. It's very charming! ;\)

Gamera, thank you!

Chaimasuka? Still sounds very casual for me. When my coworker said "Yo Dekihen", I couldn't understand what he meant. I like to talk with my coworkers in Osaka office on the phone. They are always very funny! I heard a rumor that they say my voice is sexy! ;\)

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わしゃ= plural, わし=singlar in Hiroshima ben?

Hum... it goes different in Kansai ben


Yamakashi, どない not どなえ

Remember, I am a native Osaka ben speaker \:\)


Slow,"Yo Dekihen" = I can't do it good / I can't figure it out ... something like that.


Yamakashi, how often do you nampa some? :p

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gamera - cheers mate! My kansai ben isnt nearly a 1/5 what my hiroshima ben is; but trying to learn and use it as much as possible. Thanks for the help. You got any other phrases that I should know? Pretty much got the usage of grammar but not individual words or set phrases.


俺はどれ位ナンパしょるんじゃろ? まぁ、いつ 418;豊作じゃったらええんじゃけどな  \:\(

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You are nampa-ing with Hiroshimaben?


When I lived there in Osaka, guys who would like to nampa some girls often fooled around saying like '茶 しばこ!?'(= wanna have some coffee in some coffee shop?) to pick girls.


This 'しばこ' is originally from 'to slap', I guess. When I was invited to have some coffee from some girls (LOL, you know sometimes girls invite boys in Osaka )being said like that, I was wondering what we were to do with some '茶'.

I learnt it meant just having some coffee but I didn't know what it meant LOL


Not sure even now they say it or not though.

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gamera, is けつかっちん Kansai-ben?

My friend who is from Kobe used this word when he was talking about his relationship.

Ketsu katchin yanen!

I coudln't understand his situation...

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