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Polite Speech 2008/1/5 08:04
Hi, I have two questions about using polite speech. When is it appropriate to stop using polite speech? Especially if it's like, between penpals, but even in an everyday context. Also, what is an appropriate phrase to tell someone they don't have to use polite speech anymore? Thanks!
by Shay  

when the other party stops using it 2008/1/5 16:12
By polite speech, I assume you mean keigo ("...desu" as opposed to "...dayo").

The safest thing to do is to stop when the other party stops, and yet if the other party is not older than you.

If the other party is even one year older than you, it is quite normal to keep using keigo for the rest of your life. Also, some people might think that if the other party is much younger than you, keigo is completely unnessecary. However, a lot of kids prefer adults who use keigo to them. The kids feel more respected.

It is also normal to keep using keigo in letters and emails even though you don't use keigo when meeting the other party in person or talking over the phone. Again, if the other party starts writing in non-keigo, and if that person is not very older than you, I'd say you can go ahead and use non-keigo to them too.

If the other party is younger than you and uses keigo to you but you don't want them too, you can go ahead and tell them to stop. In this case, I would say something like, "tame-guchi de iiyo (go ahead and use non-keigo)".

Actually, all of these apply not only to those "younger" than you but to those who have less experience than you in your career or group activity (kouhai). So if the other party is a bit older than you but came into the business after you, you can go ahead and use non-keigo to them even if they use keigo to you.
by Uco rate this post as useful

- 2008/1/5 21:08
Thanks Uco. The thing is, I'm significantly younger, it's just that the idea of a much older person speaking to me politely is a little unnerving. So I thought I'd tell them that it's fine to use casual speech? But I guess if it's not done, we'll just keep using keigo instead..?
by Shay rate this post as useful

just a thought 2008/1/6 13:18
Thanks for the feedback.

Like I said, it's normal to use keigo when communicating in written form. But that older person might be using keigo, because it's the kind of speech that Japanese language learners understand better.

How about telling that person that you "feel too humbled (kyoushuku shite shimau)" by the keigo. Or you can also say that if the person uses non-keigo, it will help you learn various expressions.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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