日本語の秘密 25/33


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

Desu and -Masu Can Be Used in Any Situation

  You can use the dictionary forms of verbs when you are talking with your friends or people who are on a familiar basis with you.

     Kore ga watasi no gakkou da.
              ‘This is my school.’
     Kimi wa iku ka?
              ‘Are you going?’
     Aa, iku.
              ‘Yeah, I’m going.’

  When you meet someone for the first time, or you are having a formal conversation, you should use the desu and -masu forms

     Kore ga watasi no gakkou desu.
              ‘This is my school.’
     Anata wa ikimasu ka?
              ‘Are you going?’
     Hai, ikimasu.
              ‘Yes, I’m going.’

  These are the most common predicate forms used in Japanese conversations, and you will have no trouble as long as you use them. They can be used whenever, wherever, and with whomever you like.

  Incidentally, there are even more polite ways of expressing oneself. For example:

     Anata wa irassyaimasu ka?
                   ‘Are you going?’
     Hai, mairimasu.
                   ‘Yes, I am going.’

  There’s no need for foreigners to use such polite language when they speak, however. You’ll be polite enough if you use desu and -masu. If some Japanese person comes to you and starts using ridiculously polite language and you don’t understand them, just say, “Nan desu ka?” ‘What are you saying?’ Unless that person is inordinately arrogant, he will probably change his speech over to the normal desu/-masu form.

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