[sumo] Re: How to translate "no"
joshua.maciel at gmail.com
Thu Oct 5 20:13:02 EDT 2006
The same thing most certainly exists in English.
"Do I look fat in this dress?"
"Does the chicken taste good? It's my own recipe!"
"Do you enjoy working at this company?"
"I know it's 5:30 on a Friday, but would you mind staying late? A
project just came in that has to be done yesterday -- it should only
take 5-6 hours."
We just find it 'natural' and tend to ignore the amount of times we
say no when we mean yes, or other pleasantries that we don't mean.
"Good morning!" (I'll be damned if it's good!)
"How are you?" -> "Okay/Great/Fine"
"Have a nice day!"
Japanese has a lot of ambiguities, but I don't think yes and no is one
of the difficult ones. It's more the lack of cultural knowledge that
language that creates the problem. If someone in the West doesn't want
to go to the baseball game, they will make a lame excuse, or just say
that they aren't interested. In Japan, you wouldn't actually ask that
way, because it may create an obligation for them to accept.
If you want to invite someone somewhere that you don't know too well,
you say, "I am doing XY on Z date, if you're free..." and leave it at
that. They will tell you if they're interested, and if they're not
you've given them an out.
- Joshua Maciel
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