Formality

Rasmus--

Rasmus--

Hello, I'm still on a trial period. So I'm still very very early on into the Japanese (obviously) Like the title suggests I'm wondering about Formality. Take "O genki desu ka?" From the very first lesson and the answer "Genki desu, ariagto, anata wa?" First thing is the O, I know that it's not necessary and it's there to be more polite. Second thing is that I've just found out that you can just "kimi" instead of anata is the more formal (or so my information tells me. I don't know myself, of course) A person who's a little more into Japanese and lives in Japan has also told me that you can even further 'complicate' the "O genki desu ka" By saying something I didn't quite catch as it was not on text. Even "Ohaiyou gozaimasu" he told me that most people don't even draw out the 'ou' and just go "ohaiyo" Second thing Is also from the first lesson. It's "Watashi mo genki desu" Would most Japanese people say Watashi mo? Wouldn't they just go "Genki desu" as in "I'm good" instead of "I am also good" Third thing I'm wondering about is from the second lesson. It's where you're asking where the subject is coming from. "Sayaka Desu. Keni san, doko kara ki mashita ka?" Would most people actually go "Keni san" in the middle of the conversation? I mean you're already talking to each other, he just asked your name so if he were to just go "doko kara ki mashita ka?" You would know he was asking you. The reason I'm worrying about this, is because I'm studying Japanese because I hope to be able to study or work in Japan for some time. And the person whom I mentioned before told me that when you're way to formal in casual/social situations people kind of shy away and think "Why is he talking like that?" Don't get me wrong though, I'm not 'bashing' the course. I've learned alot actually, I might even be able to survive in Japan now, hehe. And I don't know if the course covers a 'tone down' of formality in later lessons. So maybe this question shouldn't even be asked before I was through? Looking forward to a response!
Rasmus--

Rasmus--

I've just read this myself, and see that there's not really a question in it, but my question is as I mention in the last part of my post. If there's lessons where we learn to speak in a more casual manner.
Robin88

Robin88

well with fomarlity O is used very often ex: Ogenki as you wrote and Onamae, it is polite form. You dont really need to use much polite form, use casual if you feel for it :) ex: Iku=go, ikimasu polite form, masu form is a polite form too. second question: watashi mo=me too, also. you can say genki too, but sometimes watashi mo also. use what feels good for you, i prefer too use Ore instead of watashi, becuase watashi is a little half girly way. third question: In Japan, you will notice that first you will say the name on the person, but then they will skip it, becuase you already know who you are asking and talking about, but in this guide they use, so that you will follow completly and not be confused in anyway :) well that is becuase foreigners don't really need too speak too polite, you are very kind but it is not needed, use your foreigner advantage and use little polite form as possible, they wont really mind becuase you are a foreigner hehe ;) formality has no limit in japanese, the language is really formal, but it depends all on you, do you want to be formal or not? Janee
CatPanda

CatPanda

To respond to your first thing: Correct the O is optional, and don't worry about the more complex version of "O genki desu ka" at this point in time. I know what your talking about and the phrase does exist, but it is much too early to worry about it right now. Please focus more on the basics before we start to delve into some good old keigo (super formal Japanese). Second: Genki, Genki Desu, Watashi mo, boku mo, ore mo, genki da yo, genki da, and more are all splendid replies. Although what I want to challenge you to do is go find the difference between all of these. Third: Depends on the person and the situation, if it was unclear to everyone who they were talking about they would specify it with the persons name. However if it is clear whom we are talking about they would not use the name. Although, this suite is geared towards beginners of Japanese and as such the average Japanese beginner might not be able to pick that up as well from context so they provide it just to help everyone out. "The reason I'm worrying about this, is because I'm studying Japanese because I hope to be able to study or work in Japan for some time. And the person whom I mentioned before told me that when you're way to formal in casual/social situations people kind of shy away and think "Why is he talking like that?"" This is true, but I want you to be careful with wording it that way... if you are speaking politely to someone you are good friends with, it kinda gives them a distance feeling. If you are speaking to them in regular Japanese then randomly talk to them in polite Japanese if it is done properly it can be seen as a joke but also can be seen as a sarcastic response like "Oh since when did you become such a big shot!" kind of deal. Although is rather complicated and I myself haven't quite gotten this completely understood yet so please don't overly trust what I have to say on this matter. "And I don't know if the course covers a 'tone down' of formality in later lessons. So maybe this question shouldn't even be asked before I was through?" The course teaches polite Japanese pretty thoroughly and generally speaking this is a good thing. Although one tough thing is that if you have practiced speaking formally since you have began speaking Japanese it may be difficult at some point to remember to speak informally to friends and peers. Although the thing is if you don't learn to speak polite Japanese before learning informal Japanese that everyone you meet might find you too informal upon first greeting. Although, one thing I HIGHLY DISCOURAGE is purposely excusing yourself with the excuse of "I'm a foreigner so they'll forgive me"... they only give you a little leeway when they don't know you. After a bit they are expecting you to get better in Japanese while you are in Japan so DO NOT think you have the complete freedom to make that same mistake over and over. You need to make sure you LEARN from your mistakes and overall just work at becoming better at Japanese. The idea that they don't mind because your a foreigner is a misconception. The thing is, Japanese people do not usually express their feelings of discomfort or other negative emotions to those around them because it is consider RUDE to do so in Japanese culture. I want to emphasize that, they do not EXPRESS their minor discomforts because IT IS RUDE TO DO SO IN JAPANESE CULTURE. Foreigner or not, they will become discomforted by such mistakes. I KNOW FROM FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE. What happens is they do everything they can to prevent any clue of the minor discomfort, and when they have finished talking to you... they kinda walk in the other direction hoping to not have to talk to you less often because they don't like being put in a position of discomfort. This is an extremely obvious example that I did, but there was a group of 3 chicks at my Japanese high school and one of which was really easy to startle. In the US, it was under my understanding scaring people was like a bit of a practical joke. However, in Japan scaring the crap out of someone is a bit along the lines of poking someone in the butt as a practical joke in the US... they don't mix. (In Japan that's seen as a childish prank so it was a good example). So I scared this chick time and time after again. They told me she was easily scared after the first time, but because I didn't quite get the indirect message that was "SHE DOESN'T LIKE BEING SCARED AND NEITHER DO WE, STOP IT!" I kept scaring her randomly. What happened as a result is the group eventually started avoiding me, and when that still didn't get my attention it ended up where they decided to never talk to me again. Which literally does mean NEVER talk to me again. Learning to read into these small hints is a skill set that may take some time to adjust to depending on what culture you come from and what your social skills are in that culture (I began with very limited social skills so hence why these kinda mistakes happened a lot). HOWEVER, don't worry about it too much. If you over-worry about it, I did that too, it can be just as bad if not worse as under-worrying about it. In other words BE CAREFUL but DON'T OVERDO IT. Unhelpful as that may be, it is something you must learn on your own really. 頑張って! デレク
Robin88

Robin88

Hi! Derek, i understand your point that being not polite can cause problem, but being too polite is not something i feel comfortable with, so if some japanese dont wish too talk with me again, becuase of that, well that is too bad. I wont change my way of talking becuase some people demand or is used too it, i talk the way i want and i can be polite and all but i will not go over the polite level when i dont want too. Some people get along good and some dont and if some dont in Japan, well too bad but then i just avoid them too. Robin
CatPanda

CatPanda

Generally speaking you only should speak politely when you first meet someone and if find they are of a higher status then you continue to do so until the relationship is to the point that you feel safe to go into informality. If they are of equal status or lower then yeah...informal works. Although generally speaking, you speak polite Japanese when you want to be polite to someone so use your judgement too. Although I still highly recommend you try and learn to be polite when Japanese people are polite and be informal when Japanese people be informal. Overall, do as the group does... watch and observe, the "I'm me, so that's how it goes" mentality doesn't really work in Japan. I'm not talking about keigo here, I'm talking about just polite Japanese. Keigo is only going to be seen regularly if you work a more well respected job than assistant teaching English. I'm also not saying that you should talk in polite Japanese 24/7, talking informally with your friends is actually best because talking politely really creates an awkward atmosphere, and I actually understand that awkardness a lot better now cause I had someone do it to me between my last post and now so... trust me its awkward. What I'm saying is, BE CAREFUL, don't introduce yourself using impolite Japanese and passing it off as OK because your a foreigner. That won't fly, and not only that is just lazy.
Rasmus-V

Rasmus-V

Thank you for the replies, very interesting reads! (I've gone ahead paid for the full membership now, so hopefully I'll 'rocket' right off into some fluent Japanese, hehe) Anyway, even though your replies were interesting and helpful. You didn't exactly answer my question. Since I was asking if the formality of the conversations were going to be 'toned down' in later lessons? Since I (as I've already said) don't want to shy people off by talking overly formal all the time. And again, thanks alot for the replies, they were really helpful, I'm not just being polite, hehe.
Sayaka-Matsuura

Sayaka-Matsuura

Rasmus-san konnichiwa! Rocket Japanese Premium will mainly focus on formal Japanese - as this is important to understand and get a grasp of before moving on to more colloquial language - which is introduced in Rocket Japanese Premium Plus and later in RJ Platinum. -Sayaka ;)
Rasmus-V

Rasmus-V

Okay, I can see that it's logical to start with the formal, to get all the grammatical rules down. I'll just have to see if the Premium is something I'm interested in when the time comes! Thank you for the response =)

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