The Japan Times has a nice article or should I say essay about keigo, the very polite Japanese speech that is used in formal conversations. Thomas Dillon explains how it can make his wife "pound the tatami in convulsions". That, dear readers, means she thinks he is being very, very silly, in an adorable and funny way.

The Japan Times: The honorable language

So, just to be clever, he will ask her if she knows where he left something, and he will use the keigo word zonjiru for "know" and add the polite prefix of go, resulting in ...gozonjimasu ka. Then, voila, it suddenly sounds both quirky and hilarious (since husband and wife would never use such stiff-upper-lip keigo to each other).

Oh, there is a lot more to this entire parallell universe, called keigo. For me it is more like a black hole. Or Neutrinos that haven't quite been detected... YET!


Pandabonium said…
Ah, if only I were so skilled. I tend to go into the confrontational "grouchy Panda" mode, which of course leads nowhere I really want to go.
Martin J Frid said…
Keigo is very useful when you are feeling grouchy - that's when you really get to lay it out in no uncertain terms!
Pandabonium said…
So old, yet so much still to learn.

Or, as some say "too soon old, too late smart".

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