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Understanding Cultures Through Key Words

Travel Forums General Talk Understanding Cultures Through Key Words

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11. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y

"How are you?" is used a sort of ice breaker. Rather than just asking someone something straight out, we tend to take a second to acknowledge their presence. The phrase itself is pretty meaningless now, but the intention behind it is still there. I hope. I just hate it when they don't give you a second to answer - like they said it to get it over with. "How are you? Now, have you finished that letter yet?"

12. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

"... Have a NICE day... !!!"

13. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

When I am asked "How are you?" I tend to answer.."Better than dead" (purely for shock value, but I have always been on the lippy side;) )

14. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y

Nice one, Wocca! ;)

15. Posted by hoshi (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y

Quoting MASSAGEUK

in british english 'thanx', 'please' and 'sorry' - but often politiness is artifitial, formal. Better that than nothing.

in some languages (japanese and probably other east Asian) different words and grammatical structures are used depending to whom you speak (your social status in relation to their). It serves more preservation of social stratas than anything else and prevents from expressing your true feelings/intentions.

Although not a native Jpn speaker, studied lang for 9 yrs...I believe you are refering to "teineigo" or polite speech forms. Yes, there are 2 forms - one a worker would use when speaking to a superior and one a superior would use to speak to an underling. These are used only in business settings. There are other social customs (not necessarily linguistic) to preserve formality and hide the interlocutors' true feelings.

In general, "Konichiwa" is a "good day", "sumimasen" is "excuse me" for interuptions, errors, and a slightly polite manner of expressing thanks, "arigatoo goizaimasu" = "thank you very much" or "arigatoo" = "thank you" and "onegaimasu" = please (do a favor for me)

Not attempting to mystify the language but Japanese also has many "set phrases" that promote formality like English does (ie. "hisashiburi" = its been a while, when seeing a friend after sometime or in English, "how are you doing")

16. Posted by mtlgal (Full Member 1179 posts) 11y

Quoting Jared

For us Chinese, a 'Ni Hao' applies to all and sundry.

Not true. The formal or polite form for "ni hao" in mandarin is "nin hao". The character of "nin" is "ni" with the character for "heart" under it.

17. Posted by MelesMeles (Full Member 137 posts) 11y

Quoting CupCake

When I am asked "How are you?" I tend to answer.."Better than dead" (purely for shock value, but I have always been on the lippy side;) )

I usually reply "Alive."

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