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Exercise 10: Responding to Thanks


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Strategies and Expressions in Response to Thanks


Strategies used


Accepting thanks

Denying/deflecting thanks

Offering further help/invitation

Expressions to respond to thanks


うん  un


いいえ  iie

また何かあったら言ってね。  Mata nanika attara ittene.

ぜんぜん  zenzen

僕でよかったらいつでも言ってください。  Bokude yokattara itsudemo itte kudasai.


kini shinaide

また時間みつけて一緒に出かけましょう。  Mata jikan mitsukete isshoni dekake mashou.

ううん  uun





u      Since the expression of thanks is the acknowledgment of indebtedness, the recipient of thanks often denies the thanks in an attempt to equalize the relationship.  The less indebted the person doing the thanking actually is, the more likely the recipient of thanks might be to accepting the thanks.   


u      The phrase, zenzen, is normally accompanied by a negative such as zenzen mondai nai‘No problem at all’ or zenzen kamawanai ‘I don’t mind at all’ and intensifies the force of the utterance.  However, it is often used with affirmative structures, especially among younger speakers (e.g., zenzen iiyo, zenzen heiki, zenzen daijobu), still emphasizing that there was/will be no problem.


u      Thanks and apologies in Japanese can be responded to in a similar way, just as the expressions of thanks and apologies often overlap (Coulmas, 1981).


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