In Japanese, you cannot fully grasp a person’s intentions until you’ve listened to the end of their sentences. Sometimes, a sentence ending can completely flip your expectations of what you thought the speaker meant. For instance, by adding different verb conjugations to “gohann wo tabe,” you change the meaning as below: gohann wo tabe ru (I’ll have some rice):positive gohann wo tabe nai (I won’t have some rice): negative gohan wo tabe tai (I want to have some rice): wish gohann wo tabe rarenai (I cannot have any rice): not possible gohann wo tabe you (Let’s have some rice): suggestion gohann wo tabe ro (Have some rice): imperative Because of this, it’s possible to react to another person’s attitude and change the meaning at the end of your sentences accordingly as you’re talking. In order to maintain good relations, Japanese people speak by reading the feelings of others people along with the situation. For example, when you assume the other person must like sushi, but you’re not certain. By reading the other person’s facial expressions and other cues, you can alter the phrase after saying “osushi, suki...” as follows. osushi, suki desho (you like sushi, don’t you?): confirming with the expectation of agreement osushi, suki dayo ne (I believe you like sushi): prompting a positive response osushi, suki janai yone (You don’t like sushi, do you?): prompting a negative response osushi, suki ja nakatta ne (I don’t think you like sushi): seeking confirmation of the speaker’s memory of events osushi, suki datta kana (You liked sushi?): seeking confirmation of their opinion One of the quirks of Japanese conversation is that speakers are able to instantly change their sentence endings in order to maintain good relations.
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