Hello everyone. Sorry for the late update this week, but I wanted to wait until the junior high school singing contest had finished. Congratulations to all the classes who participated. It was a wonderful afternoon of both great singing and great piano playing.
One thing happened near the end that made me think… “What was that?”. After everyone finished singing we were waiting quietly for the judges to come back. Mr. Konishi made an announcement asking us to wait quietly for “a few more minutes kudasai mase.”
The reaction from the students in the gym was immediate. Students laughed and chatted to each other about he had said. I didn’t know why. I looked a one girl from M2A and she told me “He sounds like a store clerk being polite.” Perhaps the students were not used to hearing their teachers use that kind of polite Japanese in everyday situations. But yesterday many parents were at the school watching the performance so it was absolutely right.
After school I kept thinking about that moment, and trying to think of when the same thing could happen in English. Of course, there are some ceremonies that have special language. “We are gathered here today” is what you say at church or a wedding, not at a business meeting, for example. But it was difficult for me to think of any time adding one extra word to be polite in English would cause that same laughter from students.
The one word I did think about was “sincerely”. This word is used more in writing than in speaking, but the difference between saying “Thank you, I appreciate it” and “Thank you, I sincerely appreciate it.” is close to the same thing. Of course, speed and intonation are also important. If I am at a shop and someone helps me, I might say “Thankyouverymuch!” quickly, with my voice going up. However, if someone helps me with a big problem, I might say “Thank you, very, much.” slowly and with a lower voice.
Anyway, it was an interesting language point that was a small part of a nice afternoon. Good job again, and now get ready for your year-end tests!