# 日本語の秘密 23/33

# 日本語の秘密／ The Key to NIHON-GO

#### by 岸本建夫 [Kishimoto Tatsuo] 1999

OCR/Corr by most.cyak@gmail.com, Oct 2014

# Section 5 Japanese People Can’t Use Polite Language Correctly Either

**→ There are Also Rules for Polite Speech**

If you have already started to learn Japanese, you may think that Japanese politeness formulas are ridiculously difficult. Japanese people themselves, in fact, cannot use them correctly. Why is this? I can think of two reasons.

First, you may be surprised to know that the politeness formulas (*keigo*) is not taught all that much in Japanese classes (for native speakers) in Japanese schools. One of the strong points of Japanese language education is its concentration on reading comprehension. In other words, educators spend most of their energies getting children to where they can read and write *kanji*. Politeness formulas must be learned to some degree to read. In the end, the teaching of politeness formulas is not well established.

The second reason is that the politeness formulas that don’t need to be learned for daily life and the politeness formulas that should be learned are all mixed up together. Students are not sure what or how much of this politeness formulas should be learned.

By the way, politeness formulas also have their own advanced, yet simple rules to follow. If you study politeness formulas along these rules, you can master them comparatively easily. Up until now, however, teaching of the politeness formulas has not been very well organized. If you remove the unnecessary politeness formulas and learn only what really is necessary, the Japanese politeness formulas can be easy and convenient.