Friday, 24 October 2014

Approaching Respect, Honorifics, Titles, and Rnaks in Karate Do (Part 3)

I realize that I promised some examples of practical Keigo in my previous posts and didn't deliver. To be honest with you, this topic is nowhere near a simple one  and while writing it, it has become even more clear to me that there is no simple and easy way to present the information to you. I am afraid that this will take a lot more than 3 short posts to explain fully. More likely, I foresee this this being an ongoing theme of this blog. I will however, try to provide you with an outline of Keigo in this post and go into more detail regarding the Teacher Student relationship in the next post.
Any of you who have studied any language formally will know that it is not fun at all. Using language however, can be a great deal of fun. I often tell my students that language should never be limited to paper because on paper language is boring. It is how people use language that makes it exciting. In this way language comes alive through us. In this post I will outline the three kinds of keigo and give some generic examples to illustrate how each form is used. I will also try to explain the intent with which we should use them. If our intent is pure and honest our mistakes will be taken for what they are and we will be given opportunities to learn from them. Remember, it is not just the words themselves but how we use them that affects those around us the deepest.
With this in mind I would like to introduce the three kinds of keigo to you. But, I do have to warn you, on paper this is very boring!
Introducing the Levels of Keigo
The Japanese language accommodates several levels of politeness through different verb endings as well as using alternative words and expressions. It should be noted that there are three general levels of politeness, which are expressed through different kinds of speech. “The levels correspond to colloquial, polite, and honorific situations" (Rozek, 2010).
Outlining the Kinds of Keigo
Rozek (2010) discusses three types of keigo and how they are used specifically. An out line of this is provided below:
1. Referring to others politely is called 尊敬語  Sonkeigo, this is respectful language used to refer to actions by people of a higher social class than you. Common examples of this would be expressions used in the customer service industry. This can also be seen in the Dojo when juniors are talking with seniors and students to Sensei.
2. Speaking about yourself; referring to you and those close to you such as family members and co-workers (inner-circle members) in a humble way is called 丁寧語 Teineigo, this is polite language that is not limited by the ‘lateral up / down relationships’. In Japan, there is a concept known as the 家 Ie or 内 Uchi which refers to any body's family, company including co-workers, or close circle of friends; the 'inner-circle'.
3. The third type of keigo is called 謙譲語  Kenjyogo. This is humble language used when referring to your own actions. It has two parts and is probably the most difficult one for North Americans to understand and or accept. It involves degrading yourself and those close to you (listed in number 2) and putting others and those close to them on a kind of metaphoric ‘pedestal’ effectively, intentionally lowering your 'social status' and elevating theirs.

The Use of Keigo
The following information is adapted from information retrieved from the Internet in March of 2012. It offers an easy to understand outline of the use of the above listed types of keigo that I believe is valid.
It should also be noted that Keigo is not absolutely essential for everyday Japanese conversation and particularly for non-Japanese people attempting to speak Japanese. It is understood ,due to the difficulty that we will more than likely get it wrong. In fact, many young Japanese don't even know how to use Keigo correctly, because it is so difficult. Furthermore, the use of keigo with friends and family can be weird or even offensive given the circumstances. Keigo may, however, be useful particularly if you are working in the service industry. In the Karate Do context it will be necessary when talking with any Japanese Sensei of a higher rank or senior in age but not so important outside the Dojo when talking with peers.
It is not really necessary to know Keigo if you are just planning on visiting Japan. However, the longer you stay in Japan there will most definitely come a time when knowledge and correct use of keigo will be important if not essential. Consider the following outline and examples as preparatory for that.
Keeping this in mind, while learning the forms of Keigo is advised because it will help you assess the context in which to use the 3 types appropriately and with whom, it really depends on a number of very specific factors ranging from who you are talking to, to what you are talking about regarding which form you should use. Judging these factors can only come with experience.
Let’s start with the sentence structure of each form of Keigo. I have to warn you, before we get stated, this is the boring stuff. But, just like practicing the basics, it must be done.
1. 尊敬語 Sonkeigo
Leaving aside special words for the moment let's start with a grammatical form for 尊敬語 Sonkeigo
お + Vmasu-stem + になる (O plus Verb with the masu-stem plus Ni Naru)
いつお出かけになりますか。 Itsu O dekake ni narimasu ka? When will you go out?
Take the plain form 出かける Dekakeru→ The masu form 出かけます Dekakemasu→ masu-stem 出かけDekake then add the honorific prefix 御 O  (usually written in kana お) and add になります ni narimasu
Note: that typically the になる will be in masu form but that isn't necessary if it is a sub-clause in a sentence.
いつあなたはお帰りになるのか教えてください。 Itsu Anata ha O kaeri ni naru no oshiete kudasai. Please tell me when you are coming back.

A similar form can be used with 下さい Kudasai.
Instead of the ください Kudasai form (Vて + ください) the Keigo variation uses the -masu stem of a verb and prefixes お O to the verb.
(Normal) 呼んでください Yonde kudasai  Please call me.
(Keigo) お呼びください O yobi kudasai  Please call me.

An example taken from the service industry, when a waiter/waitress is taking your order they would use the first kind of Keigo (Sonkeigo):  ご注文がお決まりになりましたら、お呼びください。Go chyumon ga O kimari ni narimashitara, O yobi kudasai.  Please tell me when you'd like to order.

Passive as Sonkeigo
Another grammatical form that comes into the category of Sonkeigo is the use of the passive form of verbs to indicate respect (this example of indirectness which equals respect  can be seen elsewhere in the Japanese language as well).

どう思いますか。Dou omoimasuka.  What do you think? (normal)
どう思われますか。Dou omowaremasuka.  What do you think? (Sonkeigo)

Titles and Honorifics in Everyday Use
The use of honorifics after one’s name and the meticulous detail paid to titles and rank is actually another aspect of Keigo that is so common that we tend not to think of it as Keigo at all. However, using even simple titles like ~さん San, which is often translates as Mr. is  actually Sonkeigo. In this respect, the use of titles after someone's name in Karate Do circles also falls under the rules of Sonkeigo and shows respect for the person being referred to.

Regarding honorifics, I want to state that one of the most important points here is the Sonkeigo forms may not be used when talking about yourself or your 'inner-circle' members when talking to people who are 'out side of the group'. This is outlined below:

The honorific prefix お O or ご Go  can also be nouns referring to the person being respected.
Go is usually used with words from the 音ON reading group. It is placed in front of words that did not originate in Japan.
ご注文 Go chumon = your (respected) order

With 訓 Kun reading words, お O is used; These are words that Japanese have always had a word for since the conception of the language.
お話 O hanashi = your (respected) talk/tale

Customary phrases
お目にかかれて光栄です。O me ni kakarete kouei desu. It is an honour to meet you. (Used when meeting someone for the first time).

2. 謙譲語  Kenjyogo
Again, leaving special acceptions aside for the moment, let's look at one of the main grammatical forms for Kenjyogo.

お + Vmasu-stem + いたします (O plus Verb with the masu stem plus Itashimasu)
お願いします uses this form but it has become part of normal Japanese rather than any special form.  However, technically it is Kenjyogo.

ご幸運をお祈りいたします。/ご幸運をお祈り申し上げます。 I wish you good luck (Fortune).
Note: It is _you_ (the speaker) is doing the wishing so you use Kenjogo.

3. 丁寧語 Teineigo
Teineigo are words and phrases that are polite but do not imply anything about the relative 'status' of the people involved.
~ます Masu as 丁寧語 Teineigo
~ます Masu is the standard use
As in the use of the 'polite' or ~ます and ~です Masu and Desu forms are so common in Japanese conversations and writing (indeed it can be rude not to use it) it may not be immediately obvious that there is anything special about it. However, it should not be forgotten or misunderstood that the correct use of Masu and Desu areTeineigo and therefore merit their place in any discussion on Keigo.
Using Keigo appropriately is not as easy as simply adding Masu and Desu on the end of everything we say. One may easily misuse or overuse it and end up sounding very odd and in some cases pretentious or insulting. However, using Masu and Desu is not only safe, it is recommended. The normal use (Masu or Desu form at the end of each sentence) this will not cause any trouble. The worst thing that can happen is that you may sound too formal or stiff when talking with your friends. However, it should also be pointed out that there are other uses of the Masu form that are more problematic and like with other the other forms of Keigo discussed, we need to take care not to over use them.

It is normal to use the ~ますMasu form before ように Youni. This is used when when wishing for something. Otherwise youni goes after the plain form. This is when it can get tricky but experience is the best teacher for such things.
あなたがいつも幸福でありますように。Anata ga itsumo koufuku de armasuyouni.  May you always be happy (fortunate)!
~ます in  this case comes the middle of sentences
When joining two sentences with a conjunction of some sort it is common to use the plain (dictionary) form for the ending of the first sentence even if the sentence as a whole is in the ~Masu (polite) form.

あまり時間がないので、急いでもらえますか。 Amari jikan ga nainode, isoide moraemasennka?  I don't have much time. Could you (please) hurry?

In formal contexts you can use the ~Masu in the first clause, if you wish ( keeping in mind that it will not be considered rude if one were to use the plain form).

内容が件名で判断出来ますので、記入をお願い致します。 Naiyou ga kenmei de handan dekimasunode, kinyuu wo onegaiitasimasu. I use the subject line to determine the contents so please fill it in.
Note: ~Masu is in the middle of sentences, this will often be used after words that are Sonkeigo as well as kenjyogo.

Connective (て) ~ます form, ~まして Mashita
Normally even in polite (Masu) form sentences clauses are joined with the plain-connective ~て.
今朝はやく起きて、弁当を作りました。Kesa hayaku okite, bentou wo tsukurimasita. I got up early today and made a boxed lunch.

The Masu form polite connective can be used in some cases as detailed below.

In fixed phrases:
明けましておめでとうございます。Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu. Happy New Year! (The plain form would be 明けて)
In particularly polite conversation:
Generally, with specific words such as いただく. Itadaku
ご参加いただきましてありがとうございました。Go sanka itadakimashite arigatougozaimashita. Thank you very much for taking part.
When joining two sentences, particularly if they are not closely joined:
(Note, this section should be viewed with caution until details are confirmed)
When the second clause is missing:
e.g. そう言いましても・・・。Sou iimashitemoÿ Even if you say so...
Teineigo words
It may be observed that in the following example ございます corresponds to ある and でございます to である.

Note: one should take care not to over-use these words.
(内and 外) Uchi and Soto In Group / Out Group or 'inner-circle' and 'outter-circle'

The following is an easy to understand example of 'inner-circle' (身内) Miuchi, literally one’s relations (relatives); this term can also be used regarding co-workers and members of the same team  or Dojo. The 'outter-circle' would therefore be those who are not considered to be in the same group the 'outer-circle'. The example dialogue begins with a casual greeting between a 秘書 Hisho, Secretary and the 部長 Buchou, Section Chief. Please note the difference in the level of politeness used between them. This can correspond to lower and higher ranking Karate Ka, Karate practitioners.

In this example the secretary is also contacted by someone from another company demonstrating the use of the different types of Keigo among the inner and outer circle:
Hisho: Tanaka Buchou, Ohayougozaimasu. Good morning, Mr. Tanaka.
Tanaka Buchou: Ohayou. Morning.

The boss, higher in position, doesn’t make any reference to the secretary’s title and only uses the casual greeting ‘おはよう’Ohayou without the ございます Gozaimasu.The secretary who is below him in position, uses the full おはようございます。Ohayougozaimasu

The secretary also makes reference to Mr. Tanaka’s job title 部長 Buchou, this reference to the job title is used in this case as an honorific to imply a high level of politeness on the part of the secretary. Furthermore, it is also polite for the lower ranking individual to greet the other first.

A further example is given to illustrate how the  Keigo patterns presented here are used among members of the inner and outer-circle

Later the secretary gets a phone call from someone from another company asking for Mr. Tanaka.
A Shya no Shyain: OO Kaishya no Ogawa desukedo, Tanaka San wa irasshyaimasuka? This is Ogawa of ○○ co., is Mr. Tanaka in?

The WRONG Response would be:
Hisho: Ogawa San desu ne. Sumimasen, ima Tanaka Buchou ga seki kara hanareteimasu. Mr Ogawa, right? Sorry, Mr. Tanaka is not at his desk at the moment.
Given the outlines and descriptions, can you see why this would be a wrong (disrespectful) reply?

Although 田中部長Ta naka Buchou is above the 秘書 Hisho inside the company hierarchy, both secretary and section cheif are in the same ‘inner-circle’ compared to somebody from a different company. You don't use 'respectful' language for your 'inner-circle' members while talking to somebody outside of that group. Using this kind of language is considered rude.

The CORRECT Response:
Hisho: Ogawa San desu ne. Sumimasen, ima Tanaka ga seki kara hanareteimasu.
Mr Ogawa, right? Sorry, Mr. Tanaka is not at his desk at the moment.

The secretary is saying the same thing in both examples but intentionally leaves of Mr. Tanaka’s job title referring to him simply as Tanaka in the second example .

Note: The same principle applies to other Sonkeigo and is also used when talking about Dojo members and Sensei when talking to people from other Dojo.
This was a very brief outline of Keigo but, I hope it helped. I know it is not very exciting on paper but please try to apply it whenever and wherever you have the chance. Your willingness to try to apply these polite forms when you converse with Japanese Sensei will make a positive impression even if you make mistakes. As with many things, experience is indeed the greatest teacher.

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