What are the Key Determinants of Politeness Practices in Japanese How do Social Differences such as Gender and Seniority Level Manifest themselves in Polite Speech - Essay Example

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Japanese language contains a complex system of constructing polite speech that can not be simply considered as fine phrases of politeness. Foreigners, speaking the Japanese language, use only the most primitive forms of politeness…
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What are the Key Determinants of Politeness Practices in Japanese How do Social Differences such as Gender and Seniority Level Manifest themselves in Polite Speech
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Download file to see previous pages It is assumed that Japanese treat the eldest people and seniors with special respect. In Japan the manner and style of speech is considered to be very important. It is necessary to choose a style of communication in accordance with the age and status of the addressee. There is no need to state that insufficiently polite tone will cause the interlocutor’s negative reaction, moreover, excessive politeness can be perceived as a desire to withdraw from the addressee. Therefore, it is important to find so-called golden mean. If the conversation is carried on in a foreign language, it is subject to the rules that are applied in this language, and that are common to that culture.
Listening to the interlocutor without uttering a word also testifies to person’s discourtesy or bad form, in Japan one should occasionally "dilute" the interlocutor’s monologue with short remarks, otherwise it will be perceived as a lack of interest in the words of the speaker. When listening to the words of the equal or junior, it is appropriate to use interjections, expressing agreement, interest, surprise, etc. In Japan one can express the attention to the other party with the words “yes”, “yes, this is so”, “quite right”. The most common expression of gratitude, when addressed to the person holding a lower position in society, in family or when parents address their children, is familiar to us "arigato!”...
Half a century ago, there were 16 words, which meant “you”. Now there are about 12 personal pronouns (second person, singular), which are being used, when addressing children, students, servants, etc. One can not use personal pronouns with regard to the relatives, who are senior in age or status. But it is quite possible to use personal pronouns with regard to junior relatives. Senior relatives are usually addressed by the degree of kinship. The mother should be addressed as “okaa-san”, grandfather – “odzii-san” (Mackie 244). Junior relatives are not called by the degree of kinship. When the youngest introduce themselves to the eldest, they can give their name. But, when the senior introduce themselves to the junior, they name their degree of kinship or other social status. During the conversation, the Japanese address their interlocutor in the third person by surname, to which one must add the polite particles, translated as “master” (generally, a particle "san", or more respectable – “dono” or “sama”). When communicating with friends, men use a polite particle "kun"(it is also placed after the surname). As it was stated above, Japanese society is based on a rigid hierarchical system of “senior-junior” (“Senpai-Kowhai”) - and this is due to a very complex etiquette that goes back to time immemorial. When communicating, even the age difference in one year matters. The fact is that the vast majority of independent Japanese men are salaried employees, and the size of the salary, as well as their offices, depend on seniority (in Japan, “lifetime employment” that is until retirement, is the most widespread ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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