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How polite is your language?

 Language Learning Forum : Cultural Experiences in Foreign Languages Post Reply
51 messages over 7 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6
United Kingdom
Joined 3752 days ago

2 posts - 2 votes
Studies: Mandarin

 Message 49 of 51
12 March 2014 at 9:44am | IP Logged 
I had contact with Polish people and I asked them about this. I learned from them that
they always use "Pani and Pan". It exactly means Mister and Miss and they use it all the
time. They never talk to strangers in form of "you".
In Chinese people use "nin" as a form of Miss and Mister. It's same form for women and
men. Anyway Chinese people always use their family names + profession (even they are
close friends). Sometimes it sounds quite funny when close friends talk to themselves
“Wang laoshi” (it means “teacher Wang”). Another interesting fact is that they usually
use forms such as “brother/sister/aunt/uncle” when they are really close friends.

1 person has voted this message useful

Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Joined 4198 days ago

941 posts - 1309 votes 
Speaks: Greek*, Ancient Greek*, EnglishC2
Studies: French, Russian, Turkish, Modern Hebrew

 Message 50 of 51
12 March 2014 at 11:15am | IP Logged 
In greek, younger people of the same age almost never use the polite forms with each other.

But in professional settings, when you talk to older people or older people talking to each other, then the polite forms are used.

Of course, in most cases they are dropped almost immediately, as people encourage each other to use first names= familiar forms. It is generally considered a bit fake to be so formal when same age groups are involved.

When it comes to younger people talking to older people though, you always use the polite forms, even with the first name. Mr John, for example. Unless they specifically ask you to use the familiar forms, which could happen if they feel very young at heart :)

Never use the polite forms if:

You are having a terrible fight. Enough said.

You want to say I love you. "Je vous aime" may sound sweet in french, but it's utterly stupid in greek.

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Via Diva
Senior Member
Russian Federation users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4074 days ago

1109 posts - 1427 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: German, Italian, French, Swedish, Esperanto, Czech, Greek

 Message 51 of 51
12 March 2014 at 12:28pm | IP Logged 
I was raised to become quite polite. I never use informal to waiters, salesmen and other "service" men. There were times when I actually could (options of being a regular customer in a small shop), and some of salesmen even used informal to me (I'm some kind of high-school girl), but I am still being polite.
Of course I use informal when addressing to people of my age, though if I think that the person is somewhat higher than me (have finished university, for example) I may start with formal approach.
And last, but not the least, is relatives talk. It's almost never clear for me what to use. I'm dancing between formal and informal when I'm talking with my grandparents, I always use formal when talking to one of my aunts and I was jealous that her sons were addressing my parents informal whereas I should've been polite. Damn, I still am, because when I went to my other aunt, I even asked her if I can use "ты", got permission to do it, but kept dancing between polite and informal! Aaargh.
P.S. I also like to use formal for fun :)

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