Header ImageHeader Image
spaceCenter for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)

Exercise 2: Observing Thanks in Japanese - 1


 Your response has been submitted to speechactstrategies@gmail.com.



Let’s review the contextual factors in the two scenarios.

                                                                                    Scenario 1                 Scenario 2

Age difference between the two speakers:         equal                           you are much younger

Role/status difference between the two:             equal                           you are of lower status

Closeness or distance between the two:            close in both scenarios (maybe closer in Scenario 1)

Magnitude of your request/thanks:                   somewhat similar in both scenarios (maybe greater in 2)




u      Notice the clear difference in the language used when talking to an equal-status/age friend (Scenario 1) and when speaking to someone who is older or of higher status (Scenario 2).


arigatou + gomen - for equal status


arigatou gozaimasu (Note the politeness marker, keigo –- desu/masu style) (or possibly moushiwake nai)- for higher status


u      The language of thanks (just like other aspects of Japanese) is often more influenced by age and status than the magnitude of the thanks/indebtedness.  So, the key strategy is using appropriate thanking expressions according to the interlocutor and the situation (Kim, 1994).


u      Notice how many times expressions of apology and thanks are used in the dialogues.  The number may generally be higher in Japanese than in English.  In interacting with other Japanese speakers, listen to them carefully and observe their use of thanking strategies.  Make your own hypotheses regarding appropriate use in Japanese and be willing to renew them as necessary. 



Submit Your Questions and Comments about Exercise/Website

Go on to Exercise 3


Go Back to Thanks Index


Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414 | Contact CARLA