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Indirect Expression in Japanese Verbal Singnals

Indirect Expression in Japanese Verbal Singnals
Even though the speaker might have a strong opinion about something, he/she will usually avoid such direct mention as this is “what I think” or “this is my opinion.” Instead of that, the typical Japanese will use indirect phrases such as “don’t you think so” or “this is how it would seem to me, but what do you think?”

Those roundabout, tentative phrases that are generally considered more appropriate for polite conversation. By using such indirect expressions, the speaker leaves room for the other side to disagree with the idea without having to disagree with the personas as well as leaving room for him/her to fine-tune his/her own statements to take account of the other sides opinions and avoid offense.

While occasionally criticized as being wishy-washy, these efforts to soften mention of opinion just like the responses mentioned above all reflect the basic Japanese attitude that conversation should be a cooperative activity.


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