I’ve been going through my copy of 新にほんご500問 (N4-N5) for the second time. I really enjoy this book (The N3 version is waiting on my shelf) and I’m getting most of the answers right. But the one part that I’m still no good at is honorific language or 尊敬語. I can only guess more or less randomly at those questions.
Here are a few examples from the book:
So my question is do you have good suggestions for learning this stuff, either in specific textbooks or online resources? I tried asking my (Japanese-native-speaking) wife if she could explain these sentences, but to her it’s one of those things that you just know.
I’ve gotten through a lot of Japanese grammar but never really touched this honorific speech so far. I’m halfway decent at comprehending spoken Japanese, but when service workers slip into sonkeigo (like the time the young woman at Uniqlo explained everything about getting my jeans hemmed there in a kind of rapid-fire obviously memorized patter) I get completely lost. Forget about trying to use it myself.
I suppose my opportunities for using it conversationally in Japan are limited (though on occasion it might be good to ask about the honourable teacher’s honourable mother in a polite way), but at least I’d like to be able to answer the JLPT questions on it correctly, and also I assume that as a consumer in Japan, it would make life easier if I understood what the 店員さん were trying to tell me.