IWTYAL 161: Should I Use Formal or Informal Language?
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Chris asks: “Should I speak formally or informally in Turkish?”
In this episode:
- Every language has it's convention as to when and where you should speak formally or informally
- I've found myself resisting speaking formally in other languages, and I've always been curious why that is
- What I've learnt is that my “default” is informal, because that's the way we speak English
- Once you understand the cultural significance of formal and informal speech in the language you're learning, it will make your decision much easier
- Ultra polite: omeshi-agari ni narimasen ka
- Polite: meshi-agarimasen ka OR taberaremasen ka
- Normal: tabemasu ka
- Informal: taberu?
- Tú is standard in most places for speaking to someone your age or below
- But in Colombia, Usted is used within the family, as a cultural mark of respect and affection
The problem in your case may be that you're not using Turkish enough to develop a gut feel for what is appropriate…
- Once you're using the language regularly, you'll get it!
- Remember that speaking politely, but with a warm smile, can be extremely endearing and doesn't have to be stiff
- Watch TV and movies and pay attention just to that
- A good rule of thumb is to use the polite form
- But it never really matters… you get a free pass as a foreigner!
Quote Of The Day:
Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.
-Otto von Bismarck
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