一般的な英語のヒント vol. II: ナチュラル英語の挨拶 pt.1

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Jul 10, 2013 08:34 英語のヒント hint ナチュラル英語 natural
Hi again!

[EDIT: Susanoo graciously translated everything to Japanese again! What an amazing person! Japanese version in the comments!]

I am very glad that my last post was so well-received [popular] here on Lang-8. The response has inspired me to write more posts to help Japanese people (and anyone else) learn English! As always, I will write these posts mostly in English, but last time someone (user Susanoo) translated everything to Japanese in the comments, to look out for that!

I have spoken to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of Japanese people in English since I have lived in Japan, aged 3 to 75, so I have heard many kinds of 挨拶. Most people greet the same way because, as I know very well, they have learned to greet people a certain way in school. I am very familiar with the English education system and what many of you learn.

Unfortunately, a lot of what you learn is a bit... unnatural. It's not WRONG, but it's not the most natural either. Let's compare a regular Japanese-English 挨拶 with a natural English one with the same basic meaning between two friends:

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Japanese-English:

A: Hello.
B: Hello.
A. How are you?
B: I'm fine, thank you, and you?
A: I'm happy.

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English-English

A: Hey.
B: Hey A, how's it going?
A: Not bad. You?
B: Pretty good, pretty good. Actually, I've been great recently.
A: Yeah?
B: Yeah, I've been studying Japanese, working out and waking up earlier in the morning. Turning my life around.
A: That's awesome!
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First a disclaimer (免責事項): the above is just an EXAMPLE of a natural English sentence. There are many, many ways to greet people naturally in English. This is just an ordinary examples. That being said, let's break this down:

1. 変な英語: "Hello."

OK, this is actually the most natural thing in the dialogue. 'Hello' is not so unnatural, but between two friends, we don't use it that often. 'Hello' is most often used: on the phone, meeting someone for the first time and in relationships more formal than friends (superiors, etc.). However, it is not THAT bad. If you said 'hello' in any situation, no one would really care. Between friends, here are some more natural ways:

- Hey man (to a male)
- Hey, [name] ---> "Hey, John."
- Hey, [nickname] --> "Hey, Johnny boy."
- Hey hey
- Hey, what's up?
- Yo (young people, very informal)
- Sup (short for "what's up," very informal)
などなど

2. 変な英語: "How are you?"

We actually rarely ever use this expression, especially between friends. Some situations you would use this naturally: you haven't seen someone for a long time, they told you that they were depressed last time you talked and you want an update on how they are doing, you know something very sad happened to them recently and want to know how they are feeling. Not everyday situationsね?

Here's more natural alternatives:

- How's it going?
- How you doing? (short for "How are you doing?" but we frequently drop the 'are')
- What's up?
- What you up to? (short for "What are you up to," but we frequently drop the 'are' or say it very slurred, so it sounds more like "Whada you up to?")
- What (are) you doing?
- What's happening? (informal)
などなど

You'll notice that expressions like "How's it going" and "What are you doing" mean something slightly different: the former is asking about people's feelings and the latter is asking about what they are doing. We use both of these in English greetings. When you haven't seen someone for a long time, though, it would be something like:

- How are things?
- How have you been?
- What have you been up to (these days)?

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OK, actually, I was going to explain the whole dialogue but my post has gotten too long already! I am afraid people will lose interest if it's too long. TO BE CONTINUED...

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ありがとうございます ^^