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Thread: Switching between registers?!

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    Default Switching between registers?!

    お久しぶりね!

    小さい質問あるの..

    I got a message from a Japanese acquaintance asking about going to dinner this week, and I noticed that she switched between the informal だ and the formal です in the message. Now, I've seen people do it before, but whenever I do I'm corrected for it. Is it normal for Japanese people to do this? Is it considered 'correct'/acceptable?

    ありがとう

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    Default Re: Switching between registers?!

    I think so
    (I tend to do it too)
    I suppose natives dont really pay attention to it when they do it...consider it a gaijin bonus...only shows they read your letters carefully ^^

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    Default Re: Switching between registers?!

    Depends on the level of closeness your acquaintance has with you. I know you'd be pestered to not confuse speech patterns in class or even casual teaching but once you are in informal terms with somebody you can switch indiscriminately, but try to stick to informal.

    祝! 『禁断の病棟』 アニメ化!

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    Default Re: Switching between registers?!

    Quote Originally Posted by AzureDark View Post
    Depends on the level of closeness your acquaintance has with you. I know you'd be pestered to not confuse speech patterns in class or even casual teaching but once you are in informal terms with somebody you can switch indiscriminately, but try to stick to informal.
    in Japanese, even in response to close friends there are certain times where we use polite form as a habit, and it has nothing to do with what they think of you or something.

    Like for instance, if I was asking my close friend to lend me 2000 dollars, I wouldn't say お願いね~☆ or some informal words like that...

    I would say お願いします very sincerely, or 折り入ってお願い申し上げます! and maybe bow on to the ground.



    The friend might think that lending 2000 dollars to a friend is ok and he might say "nonono its ok I will lend you the money you dont need to bow or be polite!!!" but in actuality, if I said to him from the beginning "2000ドルちょっと貸して。お願い。すぐに返すから。" it sounds very rude, and most likely the person will refuse even if he thinks it is ok...

    Like when people are polite to you you think "oh no you don't need to be polite!" but if they weren't polite to you they would think "omg this guy is rude, I won't lend money to him."



    also, it is very normal to speak in polite form when relaying information that is normally asked in a letter. Because it is what is learned as a child.

    like when you ask someone in a mail "元気ですか?" most people will answer with 元気です。 even if the person is a friend, because they feel like "this person is being polite to me so I must be polite back.

    最近変わりはありません。
    元気にしています。

    etc. some phrases are said unconsciously in polite form (although people do say in impolite form too) because of the form of "a letter" (even though it is e-mail, people think of this subconsciously as a "letter" type situation.)

    It depends on the person.

    My friend who joined a company and was getting used to all of the different politeness levels (yes, even Japanese find it difficult) he would always refer to me in a super polite tone and everyone would laugh because it was weird for him to speak like that to me.




    I think the best way to think of it is that if you are friends, you shouldn't care what way you are spoken to. If the person is consistently speaking to you in desu masu politeness, they might view you as not a friend but an acquaintence, or a business partner. But if they speak impolite da and stuff normally, then you shouldn't think to much about the occasional desu or masu...

    sometimes you just say it.

    Anywho, I don't think this helped, but I hope you enjoy Japanese.
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    Default Re: Switching between registers?!

    i said its normal.. Japanese didnt really think when speaking, is it da or desu, is it formal or informal, just like we do when we are speaking with our national language, right?
    at least I myself dont really think when speaking, is it formal or informal, and I know many of my acquaintance also like that.. I have several conversations with Japaneses, and they just speaking without thinking whether it is informal or not.. My Japanese sensei also does it.. So u dont need to think too much..

    Of course, when u are studying Japanese at class, "da" is considered informal, and usually it isnt used on formal occasion, but in reality, many Japanese talking in informal way on daily basis.. In ur case, the Japanese was asking about going to dinner, so it can be considered as daily conversation, I guess, and there arent any real regulation for that..

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Switching between registers?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Davina View Post
    Of course, when u are studying Japanese at class, "da" is considered informal, and usually it isnt used on formal occasion, but in reality, many Japanese talking in informal way on daily basis.. In ur case, the Japanese was asking about going to dinner, so it can be considered as daily conversation, I guess, and there arent any real regulation for that..
    You can't be much farther from the truth. Japanese don't speak informally to those they still not consider close - even work collagues. You never see a Japanese talk informally to those of a higher status, and those who do so without their superior's tolerance are considered very rude.
    Last edited by AzureDark; 09-14-2010 at 03:49 AM.

    祝! 『禁断の病棟』 アニメ化!

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