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Exercise 1: Observing Requests in Japanese -1

Red Core Strategy
Blue Important Supporting Strategy
Black Aditional Strategies
Green General Strategies

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      Notice that in all sample dialogues, the speakers do not use honorifics, not even the desu/masu style.  Also, the politeness of the requests here does not vary across the situations despite the difference in magnitude of the requests.  Compare the request statements you were asked to write down:

                できれば、かしてもらえないかな、ノート。  Dekireba, kashite moraenaikana, nouto.   (Situation 1: borrowing notes

もしよかったら、ちょっと見せてもらえないかなー、と思って。  Moshi yokattara, chotto misete moraenaikanaa, to omotte.  (Situation 1: borrowing notes

車、ちょっと貸してほしいんだけど。  Kuruma, chotto kashite hoshiin dakedo.   (Situation 2: borrowing a car

In Japanese, the age and role/status differences often seem to have the largest impact on the level of politeness of a request, rather than the content (magnitude) of the request.   Here, a strategy to be learned is using an appropriate level of politeness in the language of requesting.

      Another strategy that all the speakers use in the sample dialogues is offering a reason for the request.  The presentation of a convincing reason makes the request sound legitimate.

おれ、この前かぜで休んじゃってさ。ピンチなんだよね。  Ore, konomae kazede yasunjattesa.  Pinchi nan dayone.  ‘I missed the class last time because of a cold.  I’m in a bind.’  (Situation 1: borrowing notes)

私さ、先週授業休んだのね、ずっと病気だったから。  Watashisa, senshuu jugyou yasundanone, zutto byouki datakara…‘I missd last week’s class.  I was sick all week.’  それでね、ノートがないんだ、授業のノートが。  Soredene, nooto ga nainda, jugyouno nootoga. ‘So, I don’t have the notes, I mean, class notes.’ (Situation 1: borrowing notes)

テスト終わったら旅行に行こうかなと思ってて、で、だれも車もってなくて。  Anosa, tesuto owattara ryokouni ikoukanato omottete, de, daremo kuruma motte nakute.  ‘We are thinking of going on a trip after the exams, but nobody has a car.’  (Situation 2: borrowing a car)

      Note another strategy – downgrading the imposition of the request.  Words like ちょっと chotto ‘a little (while),’  少し sukoshi ‘a little’,  たった  tatta  ‘only’ are effective attempt to minimize the magnitude of the request.

ちょっと見せてもらえないかなー、と思って。  Chotto misete moraenaikanaa, to omotte. (Situation 1: borrowing notes)

See the effort it takes to make the request of borrowing a car for a week seem so minimal!

たった一週間なんだけど、ほんと一週間なんだけど、車、ちょっと貸してほしいんだけど。  Tatta isshuukan nanda kedo, honto isshuukan nanda kedo, kuruma, chotto kashite hoshiin dakedo.  (Situation 2)

View Again Transcript of Situation 1: Sample Dialogue 1

View Again Transcript of Situation 1: Sample Dialogue 2

View Again Transcript of Situation 2: Sample Dialogue

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