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そちら as a second person pronoun

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by akashoz, May 28, 2013.

  1. akashoz Junior Member

    English (?)
    In certain cases, can 「そちら」 be a substitute for 「あなた」?

    「そちらがいなくって、寂しいです。」 // "I miss you."
    「そちらは元気そうです。」 // "You look happy."

    And, more generally, can 「そちら」 mean "the stuff over there where you are"?
    「そちらはいかがですか?」 // "How is it going over where you are?"

    All I have is the faintest memory that Japanese might use that substitution. I am most certainly wrong, but, hey, why not ask if I am imagining things. :)
  2. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    The most typical usage is to contrast with こちら.
    「そちらはいかがですか?」 sounds good.

    Yes, そちら sometimes acts as a second person pronoun. (In fact そ sometimes acts as a second person pronoun.)
    そちら sounds a litter formal and ... I don't know how to explain this in English. (やや冷たい言い方)
  3. akashoz Junior Member

    English (?)
    Basically, I am getting jammed because:

    (1) I cannot stop myself from thinking with second person pronouns.
    (2) I do not want to say 「あなた」 because that is typical of English-style Japanese.

    __::I am chatting before a meeting begins::__
    奥さんはお元気ですか? // How is your wife?
    息子さんは? // What about your son?
    そちらは?多忙ですか? // and, what about yourself? busy? <--- I don't want to say 「あなた」 here. This is a business situation. What should I say?

    My opinion is that native speakers avoid actually saying 「あなた」 by creating contexts where the second person can be implied.
  4. Tonky Senior Member

    In general, you use 敬語 to implicate that you are talking about 「あなた」.
    多忙ですか?→ご多忙ですか? 忙しいですか?→お忙しいですか? 食べますか?→召し上がります(ません)か?
    (As for a business greeting, maybe 「お忙しくされていますか」 to say "have you been busy?". You could say 「そちらは?」 to refer to "your work" or "your side" IF the prior converstaion was about こちら, and you are asking back. However, if you had been talking about the person's family, then you could start with 「お仕事の方は?お忙しくされていますか」. Saying そちらは after talking about the person's family may confuse him because he may consider そちら as "your family" and/or perhaps the worst case could be, mistaken as if talking about his sex life.)

    「そちら」 does not exactly mean "you" but rather "your place/direction". For example, you meet an old friend with someone you don't know, you greet your friend and ask 「そちらは?」 meaning, "who is that (by your side)?" So, it is a little bit awkward to use そちら in place of "you" to me. But you could use it to mean "your family", "your community/group", "where you live", "your town" and such, including "you".

    The examples you showed in OP look a bit strange to me, but it may have something to do with local differences, or just my personal taste and others may not feel so. You may have to judge yourself by listening to what your colleagues are saying, after all.
    (I'd say 「いらっしゃらなくなって」 instead of 「そちらがいなくなって」, and 「お元気そうですね」(or 「お元気そうで何よりです」) instead of 「そちらは元気そうです」. And in case you really have to say whom, usually you use the person's name or job title, such as ~さん if you're close enough or ~部長, 先生 etc.)
    Last edited: May 29, 2013
  5. akashoz Junior Member

    English (?)
    I think that what you are clearly demonstrating here is that 尊敬語 (and 謙譲語) can be used to easily control the implied subject of the sentence. That is amazingly useful!
    I'd always considered 尊敬語 and 謙譲語 as just a novelty of the Japanese language (and a place where non-Japanese should not go).

    so, can you please clarify:
    (1) _を致しています // <-- this is correct?
    (2) _をしております
    (3) _を致しております
    (1) _をなさっています // <-- this is correct?
    (2) _をしていらっしゃります
    (3) _をなさっていらっしゃります
  6. Tonky Senior Member

    (1) is incorrect. The auxiliary verb needs to take the 謙譲 form like (2) or both verbs 謙譲 like (3).

    It probably used to be いらっしゃります, but now we all say いらっしゃいます. However, when ます is not used together, いらっしゃり instead of いらっしゃい.
    e.g. 沢山の方がいらっしゃり、本日のご予約は終了致しました。(an example from google search)
    (いらっしゃり/customer side, 尊敬 --- ご予約/customer side, ご --- 終了致しました/the speaker side, 謙譲)

    (1) can be correct, but only when you are not talking to the target of respect. When you are talking to the target of respect, you should use (2) or (3).
    e.g. 天皇陛下はどんな仕事をなさっているの? http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/kids/work_e/
    天皇陛下 is always the target of all respect in Japan, no matter if you like it or not :p which means 「仕事をなさる」 must be 尊敬, but 「いる」 can stay normal when the target is not the listener/reader.

    For your reference, http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/敬語#.E4.B8.8D.E8.A6.8F.E5.89.87.E5.8B.95.E8.A9.9E.E4.B8.80.E8.A6.A7
    Last edited: May 30, 2013

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