informal japanese
  • I'm watching comedy shows in japanese a lot, and this phraze pops up quite often... Could you explain the exact meaning to me, please.

    eg: おじさん、何をされているんですか?
    nani wo sarete iru n desu ka?

    i think it's like 'what are you doing' but i guess the actual meaning is more precise.
    reference http://v.youku.com/v_showMini/id_XMzU5MTU2MTg4_ft_1.html
    40:00 minute
  • "Sarete" is the passive form of Suru, Sareru, further conjugated into -te form, Sarete. So it reads more as: "What's happening?" (probably more literally: What are you letting happen?)

    'n desu ka, a shorted form of no desu ka, is added at the end as a form of inviting a response from the other party in question.

    You could say "Nani wo sarete imasu ka?" and it would mean the same but it's "colder" and not inviting a response. By adding the "no desu" at end, the speaker is asking the person he is asking that to to answer him back.
  • Unless I'm mistaken, isn't the passive form of verbs used to elevate the action of the subject? For example, my teachers, when politely asking about someone's attendance at some function or another, will ask, 「先生、来られますか。」 Or when I go to karaoke, they always ask me if I want a smoking room by asking, 「たばこを吸われますか。」

    I'm not sure where it falls on the spectrum of formality though.
  • After running this by an instructor nnmumaw is correct. While it is certainly the passive form, in this context it is being used as a form of polite speech.

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