https://www.duolingo.com/MGJScully

Poor translation of the politeness of ください.

MGJScully
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The Japanese をください is being translated poorly, so that the politeness of the language is lost. For example, the course translates お茶をください as "Can I get tea?", rather than simply "tea, please".

"Can I get" is a far too colloquial translation, and not a particularly polite one.

Please reconsider the English wording.

1 year ago

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/sora_Japan

May I Ask you? When do you use "Can I get tea?"? And "tea, please"?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Risu_kun

The only place I would ever use "Can I get ... ?" would be at a restaurant, where a better translation would be 「○にします。」

Seriously, can't emphasize how rude it is to omit the word "please."

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/testmoogle
testmoogle
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I wonder which skill this sentence お茶をください is in... I have no idea which skill it is, but it would be kind of ironic now if it turns out to be the "Restaurant" skill. :P

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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I kind of think it is...

To me "Tea, please" sounds less than ideally polite itself. Dialect (and presumably culture more broadly) does play in here.

To me using "can" instead of "could" is probably a greater etiquette breach than omitting "please," which at that point can become redundant.

EDIT: to the person who downvoted me, presumably b/c you think your own version of polite is the only one out there, well, this is an international forum; we're not all the same; and dismissing an explanation of someone else's cultural experience - well, that's not very polite.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MGJScully
MGJScully
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I agree with you on this. I'd only ever use it if it was directly questioned as a choice of options.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Faisane
Faisane
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It comes up in many different skills. I got habituated to it and would always translate it with "can I get X". And then it was marked wrong when I wrote "can I get a white blouse" because all of a sudden they wanted the "please give me ..." version.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/testmoogle
testmoogle
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Yeah! That's how it was with me too!

However, "Give me a 〇, please." is what it told me I should have written when that happened to me. This different sentence order made it seem considerably less polite than the usual "Can I get a 〇?" sentences. xD

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sora_Japan

Can't emphasize how rude it is to omit the word "please."

means

'tea, please' and 'tea' are not rude. right?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Risu_kun

The rudeness is omitting the word "please." "Can I get tea?" and "Tea." are rude. "Can I get tea, please?" and "Tea, please" are polite. Small children are constantly reminded by their parents to always say "please" when asking for something.

I don't think it would be taken very well if I was a guest in someone's house and demanded 「茶をくれ。」 Saying "Can I get tea?" or simply "Tea" would be about the same.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sora_Japan

I didn't know 'please' is such an important word. Oh! Thank you! XD

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sora_Japan

I didn't know 'please' is so important word.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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Yeah, it is a rite of Anglophone parenting to inculcate its use; that's for sure. If you'll accept an English tip, I think it would be much more natural to say, "such an important word."

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/airzae
airzae
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アメリカの喫茶店で「tea, please/tea」がちょっと素っ気ないと思います。 給仕が「would you like tea or coffee」を言うなら、「tea, please」がいい答えです。

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sora_Japan

I see. なるほど。

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MGJScully
MGJScully
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If you were in a restaurant and the waiter directly asked you "Would you like coffee or tea?", or something similar, I would say "Tea, please". Otherwise I'd order with "May I have tea, please?", or "Could I have tea, please?". Using "get" in this context is a fairly modern usage and, while it is becoming very common in some areas, it's not at all polite English.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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This is where culture plays in. I can't image a server ever asking "Would you like coffee or tea?" Maybe it would be used in the U.K. where tea is actually culturally important, but that's thousands of miles from here. And what has been arbitrarily codified as polite or not on a couple islands that far away (and possibly generations ago when it was "impolite" to speak in anything but R.P.) isn't of a great deal of interest to me in my day to day life in a different society with its own conceptions of politeness with distinct cultural origins.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MGJScully
MGJScully
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Your argument is moving away from the original purpose of this thread into different specifics, though. Cultural location isn't the topic at hand.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/airzae
airzae
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I don't think the emphasis is on the fact that it's choosing between beverages, but rather that it's polite to use shorter phrases as RESPONSES to questions.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saiga60
Saiga60
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I've also thought this particular translation to be rather impolite in English. And, in addition to the word please, wouldn't "May I" be more appropriate than "Can I"?

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zanzaboonda
zanzaboonda
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And also "have" instead of "get".

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saiga60
Saiga60
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I agree.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sora_Japan

We have to talk about the meanings and the usages of these phrases before to decide what they are poor translations.

Therefore I ask when.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/airzae
airzae
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"Can I get tea, please?" makes sense to me but "tea, please" strikes me as a little brusque.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/iOfg2
iOfg2
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they both mean the same thing, and both translations are correct.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MGJScully
MGJScully
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That's not entirely correct, though. ください comes from くださる, which is an honorific conjugation of くれる. Its honorific nature carries the politeness that isn't expressed in the translation given in this course.

Using "can" also implies it is conditional, which the original request doesn't contain. Therefore, it's a direct request in English, which in both cultures requires politeness. "Can I get tea?" is rude and abrupt. The fact that it's used colloquially and accepted in some places doesn't make it polite.

If you wanted a similar level of translation you'd probably use something like お茶頂戴.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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I'm really thinking what's happened here is they're translating a direct request via a question in order to render the politeness. As a denizen of the Midwest, this makes a tremendous amount of sense to me. We don't tend to make direct requests for such things: with or without "please." "Please" simply isn't enough to make something framed as a direct request polite. Therefore, the translation is as a euphemistic question to make it polite. The problem is it's the wrong question (maybe it's the right one in Pittsburgh, where a number of the course creators seem to actually live).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/iOfg2
iOfg2
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But they both mean the same thing.

Honorifics don't exist in English.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MGJScully
MGJScully
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Not in the Japanese sense, no. But almost equivalent levels of politeness do, an the translation doesn't reach the equivalency.

Edit: The normal translation of 下さい into English, when used as a request final or suffix is "please".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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Since I've become uncertain on the point: would をください be used both after an enumerated list ("Would you like coffee, tea, orange juice, or milk?") and as an "initial" request e.g. placing an order at a coffee shop?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MGJScully
MGJScully
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Yes. If you think of the first part as what you are requesting, followed by をください to equate to the English "please", you're both correct and polite.

Whether you're responding to options or stating your initial want, the simple Object - Object Particle (を) - Action (In this case an honorific conjugation of "to give" that equates to "please" in English), makes it complete.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sora_Japan

Though I have interested in this topic, my English is too poor to participate in discussion well.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zanzaboonda
zanzaboonda
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Don't worry. You're doing great!

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Justin438716

Here is a short article on the use of "Can I get" instead of "Can I have" http://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/can-i-get

To me "can i get" just sounds quite uneducated as a request, but it is used more and more. "Could I have", "May I have", even "I'd like" are better ways to request, with an added please at the end being the best. I'm not alone: https://painintheenglish.com/case/230

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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The problem with all the "logical" arguments against "get" being deployed in favor of "have" is that it's trivial to construct the analogous ones for that verb, too:

Of course you can have cake. No physical impediments exist that would prevent your possessing cake, right? Now, what do you plan to do with it?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Justin438716

One definition of "have" is "possess", as you say. Another definition of "have" is "to eat or drink".

Still you are correct that logical arguments don't really work for language. If the usage continues to become more popular, "Can I get" may be the proper expression at some point.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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There are evidently geographical differences. Where I am "can I get" is ubiquitous (and probably has been for decades). "May I have," meanwhile, borders on the implausible.

1 month ago
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