Casual Speech and Honorific Speech in Japanese
In a daily conversation with friends, Japanese use casual speech. However, being polite is very important in Japanese culture, and honorific speech is mainly used in many other situations.
There are 3 types of honorifics in Japanese.
Polite language can be used to refer to one*s own actions or those of other people. It is characterized by the use of /desu/ ending a sentence and verb ending in /masu/, and the use of prefixes such as /o/ or /go/ towards neutral objects.
It is the form of language you want to use as a beginning learner.
Respectful language is used when talking about superiors and customers. Common words may be replaced by more polite alternative words.
It must not be used to talk about oneself.
Humble language is used when talking about oneself or one’s own group (such as company or family). Like respectful language, words change form to show politeness.
You will learn respectful and humble language when you are at a more advanced level of Japanese learning.
Related Grammar Points
- Casual Speech in Japanese
- Conjugation of Japanese Verbs and Adjectives
- Word Order of Japanese Sentences
- Japanese Verb Classification
- Polite Form of Japanese Verbs and ます-Stem
- Past Tense of Japanese Verbs and た-Form
- Introduction to Japanese Adjectives
- Japanese Sentence Pattern: “I heard that …” using ～そうだ