4 Replies ・ Started by stevennie at 2019-05-30 01:25:07 UTC ・ Last reply by Cibaisensei at 2021-09-24 08:30:15 UTC
This is a discussion about 下さい

how does it get its meaning

just wondering why it means "please give me". Could someone please shed some light?

Leebo at 2019-05-30 11:59:03 UTC

下さい is the command form of the verb 下さる, which means "to give." But you might notice that it's not just a neutral "give." This is a sonkeigo, or respectful language, word.

You are asking the listener to lower an object to you, in a figurative sense. They are above you in social standing, and you are below them. So in order for some exchange to happen, an object or favor must go down from their level to yours. That's where the use of this word and the kanji come from.

The reverse is also true. The kenjougo, respectful language, word for give is 差し上げる, and you can see the "up" kanji in there.

Leebo at 2019-05-30 11:59:57 UTC

Sorry, that was supposed to be "kenjougo, humble language."

stevennie at 2019-05-30 14:57:50 UTC

it makes a lot of sense now:)

Cibaisensei at 2021-09-24 08:30:15 UTC

Hello Im a Chinese speaker which includes Mandarin (New Chinese)and Hokkien/Min dialect (similar to old Chinese). Both uses the word 一下 which is the same meaning as ください which is why you get this kanji same as down/below 下. Unfortunately Mandarin lost the original respectfulness of the word 一下 meaning no respect is given while saying it but Hokkien yes as it preserves the otiginal meaning same as Japanese.

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