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Linguaholic

Honorific speech in Japanese language


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Hi folks! Today I want to talk about honorific speech in Japanese language. This part of Japanese grammar is inevitably will be used by everyone who ever get to Japan. Honorific speech was formed due to natural social and historical process and today it`s hard to imagine Japanese language without this feature.

You can find such info in the internet easily. But, I`ve made some sort of a verb table using the materials I have cutting off the information that is not relevant. I believe this table will help you to learn main principles of a forming of honorific speech quickly.

Firstly, it`s necessary to remember that infinitive is usually used in books, polite and respectful languages are used when you describe someone`s actions and humble lanuage you use when you`re talking about yourself:

Note, when you use humble language it means that you realize that a social rank of a person you are talking to is higher than yours.

"Do"

Infinitive - する [suru]

Polite language - します [simasu]

Respectful language - される、なさる [sareru, nasaru]

Humble language - いたします [itashimasu]

"Give"

Infinitive - くれる [kureru]

Polite language - くれます [kuremasu]

Respectful language - くださる [kudasaru]

Humble language - - -

"Think"

Infinitive - おもう [omou]

Polite language - 思います [omoimasu]

Respectful language - お思いになる [o omoi ni naru]

Humble language - 存じます [zonzimasu]

"Be"

Infinitive - いる [iru]

Polite language - います [imasu]

Respectful language - いらっしゃる [irassharu]

Humble language - おる [oru]

"Speak"

Infinitive - 言う [iu]

Polite language - 言います [iimasu]

Respectful language - おっしゃる [irassharu]

Humble language - 申し上げる [mooshiageru]

"Hear"

Infinitive - 聞く [kikuu]

Polite language - 聞きます [kikimasu]

Respectful language - 聞かれる [kikaerru]

Humble language - 拝聴する [haichoo suru]

"See"

Infinitive - 見る [miru]

Polite language - 見ます [mimasu]

Respectful language - ご覧になる [goran ni naru]

Humble language - 拝見する [haiken suru]

"Go"

Infinitive - 行く [iku]

Polite language - 行きます [ikimasu]

Respectful language - 行かれる [ikareru]

Humble language - うかがう [ukagau]

"Come"

Infinitive - 来る [iku]

Polite language - 行きます [ikimasu]

Respectful language - いらっしゃる [irassharu]

Humble language - 参る [mairu]

"Meet"

Infinitive - 会う [iu]

Polite language - 会います [iimasu]

Respectful language - 会われる [iwareru]

Humble language - お目にかかる [o me ni kakaru]

"Come back"

Infinitive - 帰る [kaeru]

Polite language - 帰ります [kaerimasu]

Respectful language - 帰られる [kaerareru]

Humble language - 帰らせいただく [kaeraseitadaku]

"Wait"

Infinitive - 待つ [matsu]

Polite language - 待ちます [machimasu]

Respectful language - お待ちになる [o machi ni naru]

Humble language - 待たせていただく [mataseteitadaku]

"Know"

Infinitive - 知る [siru]

Polite language - 知っています [sitteimasu]

Respectful language - ご存知になる [gozonzi ni naru]

Humble language - 存じる [zonziru]

"Read"

Infinitive - 読む [yomu]

Polite language - 読みます [yomimasu]

Respectful language - 読まれる [yomareru]

Humble language - 拝読する [haidoku suru]

"Write"

Infinitive - 書く [kaku]

Polite language - 書きます [kakimasu]

Respectful language - 書かれる [kakareru]

Humble language - 書かせていただく [kakaseteitadaku]

"Send"

Infinitive - 送る [okuru]

Polite language - 送ります [okurimasu]

Respectful language - 送りくださる [okurikudasaru]

Humble language - 送らせていただく [okuraseteitadaku]

"Eat"

Infinitive - 食べる [taberu]

Polite language - 食べます [tabemasu]

Respectful language - 召し上がる [mesiagaru]

Humble language - いただく [itadaku]

I really wonder how do you do with honorific speech in Japanese. What kind of methods do you have to memorize all the rules, because there are a lot of words and phrases that used in honorific speech. I know that for foreigners this might be a challenge. If you have any thoughts or questions, please, ask and leave a comment. And Good Luck!

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