A Question about Honorific Causatives

DavidCarroll
Posts: 6
Joined: 2018-11-13, 21:29
Real Name: David Howard Carroll

A Question about Honorific Causatives

Postby DavidCarroll » 2018-12-10, 7:13

Hi, I am David. First off, I apologize that all my Japanese will be transliterated into the English alphabet, as I plan on learning Kanji and the other two alphabets later on.

Basically, I want to say, "Permit me to say how beautiful you are!" in honorific form. I came up with:

"Kimi wa nanto kiree na n de irassharoo to ossharasemase!"

It's that last word that bugs me. Would it be the honorific ossharasemase? Or would it be the humble moosasete kudasai? In causatives, who determines the choice of humble/honorific, the one who causes/permits or the one who is caused/permitted?

DavidCarroll
Posts: 6
Joined: 2018-11-13, 21:29
Real Name: David Howard Carroll

Re: A Question about Honorific Causatives

Postby DavidCarroll » 2018-12-17, 21:17

I think I got it:

San wa kireena n de irassharoo to moosaserarete kudasaimase!

"Ma'am, please allow me to tell you how beautiful you are!"

I used the causative passive for "moosu" ("to say"-humble)

Literally:

"Ma'am! While being beautiful, you will probably exist.........while allowing me to say that, please give me!"

pennybright
Posts: 12
Joined: 2018-10-27, 17:38

Re: A Question about Honorific Causatives

Postby pennybright » 2019-01-03, 3:02

There's a lot to unpack here, so I want to address the most important point up front: Piling every polite word and construction you can think of onto one sentence creates an unnatural and absurd utterance. It's also worth noting that in some cases totally overblown politeness comes across as sarcasm.

The topic of your post is "honorific causatives," which (in a more reasonable form) are a very useful construction that is used all the time, especially in business contexts. They most often take the following forms:

causative て+ください
causative て+いただきます

e.g. 請求書を送付させていただきます。 Seikyuusho o soufu sasete itadakimasu.
"I am sending the invoice."

Or in requests, in increasing indirectness (and thus politeness):
causative て+いただけますか?
causative て+いただけませんか?
causative て+いただけないでしょうか?

Tbh, a direct translation of your example sentence "Ma'am, please allow me to tell you how beautiful you are!" is not something I can easily imagine a Japanese speaker saying, particularly because Japanese sentence structure puts "allow me to tell you" at the end of the sentence, after the telling has already been done. For that reason, you'd need to flip it around to something like:

言わせていただきます:~さんはきれいです。

But that also sounds like a bizarre and way-too-earnest pronouncement.
It's probably best to just stick with ~さん、きれいですねえ。 :P


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