Mastering 공손한 Japanese: 케이고 : Hey guys, How are you today? We hope you are well and are ready to politely dive into another awesome online Japanese lesson from Bondlingo. Today we are going to be discussing the art of “게이고” which will be covering honorific forms, humble forms and more. Essentially this is all about how to be really 공손한 in Japanese, especially at work and school, so it’s a super effective lesson for you guys.

An Introduction to Japanese 케이고(respectful language) | 일본어를 배우다 온라인

Mastering polite Japanese: Keigo

So the respectful language is divided into three groups: the 공손한, humble and the honorific.

Firstly we will start with an introduction to 丁寧語 테 이네 니고 and follow on with a  look at both 尊敬語  손 케이고 and 謙譲語 Kenjougo. So guys it’s time to get extremely 공손한 with todays online Japanese lesson! Let’s jump in.

An introduction into 丁寧語 테 이네 니고

When using Keigio in Japanese, it allows you to express your respect for someone with higher experience or positioning, as well as someone who is older than you. Your speech would differ if you were speaking to a friend or someone with a lower status. In English we do this with our tone and word choices, in Japanese 케이고 is used to help express this.

Let us start by saying that 게이고 is in no way easy to learn, it is even difficult for Japanese speakers too, so you shouldn’t feel too bad if you don’t pick it up right away.

Polite Keigo: 丁寧語

Here’s the big shock! You are probably already using this form of 게이고 guys. If you are using ます for your 동사 and です at the end of your sentences then you are already dipping into the world of 丁寧語. This is a fantastic starting point and is used generally when talking to people you haven’t met before or in 공손한 everyday conversation.

Here are a few example sentences to look at:

I am going to buy a car
Kuruma wo kau
공손한, 테 이네 니고丁寧語:
Kuruma wo kaimasu

As you can see here this is pretty standard stuff that you must likely already know. It’s always a good idea to stick with 丁寧語 테 이네 니고 until you get really close with a person, Now we are going to move onto the honorific 게이고: 손 케이고


An introduction into 尊敬語 손 케이고: The honorific form

This form gives respect to someone of higher status. This could be a superior work colleague, boss or customer. You use 손 케이고 to describe the actions of that person and should never use 손 케이고 when talking about yourself.

Take a look at this table to see some of the 尊敬語 손 케이고 language you can use.

 なさるto do (honorific)
 いらっしゃるto be; to go; to come (honorific)
 おいでになるto be; to go; to come (honorific)
ご覧になるご・らん・になるto see (honorific)
 おっしゃるto say (honorific)
下さるくだ・さるto give (honorific)
召 し 上 が るめ・し・あ・がるto eat; to drink (honorific)
ご存じご・ぞん・じknowing (honorific)

As a start try and learn these common honorifc 동사 before moving onto the Kenjougo.

An introduction into 謙譲語 Kenjougo: The humble form

Kenjougo is the humble form and is used when talking about yourself and your own actions in the presence of a superior.

Take a look at the chart below as this has some great examples of 동사 that are used commonly with the humble form.

致 스いた・すto do (humble)
参 り るまい・るto go; to come (humble)
 おるto exist (animate) (humble) 
拝見するはい・けん・するto see (humble)
伺ううかが・うto ask; to listen (humble)
申 し 上 げるもう・し・あ・げるto say (humble)
 いただくto receive; to eat; to drink (humble)
存じるぞん・じるto know (humble)

We suggest compiling 2 separate lists and learning the 손 케이고 and kenjougo side by side to establish a clear difference in the vocab and individual usage. It’s easy to get confused so lot’s of 연습 will be required.

 There are plenty of other rules when it comes to the 게이고 trio however you this article should serve as a great starting point to help you differentiate the 3 different types.

So guys, there you have it. Now 게이고 is of course an extremely massive pain in the butt at first, with 3 different types it can be super confusing. Remember to take it slow and it’s certainly not a subject that you can master in a matter of hours.

We hope you have enjoyed today’s online Japanese lesson from Bondlingo with our introduction into 게이고. If you have any questions or some more great ideas for content that you would like to see from us, please reach out and let us know as we would 사랑 to hear from you. Have a great night and keep up the great work頑張ってね。


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Keigo at Work: Useful Japanese Phrases to Help You out at the Office
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