Thursday, May 13, 2010

Check please: お勘定、お会計、お愛想

"Check, please!"

Yes, there are many ways to say this in Japanese, just like in English.
  • "Can I have the bill?"
  • "How much is it?"
  • "What's the tab?"
  • "What's the damage?"
  • "What's the bad news?"
In Japanese, though, there are what I like to call "The Big Three" -- 【お勘定、お会計、お愛想】その三つっていうのは飲み屋、居酒屋などでよく使われた言葉で確かに便利です。

  • 会計(かいけい): This one is likely the most commonly used of "The Big Three." It's kind of the fail-safe word that can always be used, regardless of level of formality, etc. It's English translation is "check" or "bill."

  • 勘定(かんじょう): In my experience, this is probably the second-most commonly used of the three. It has the nuance of "tab" in English because it's original meaning is basically "calculation."

  • 愛想(あいそ): This one is definitely the lesser-known of "The Big Three." 愛想's original meaning is "sociability" or "affability." Adding the お clarifies the meaning into something more along the lines of "flattery." But that aside, this word was also used by restaurants/izakayas in the expression 『お愛想が足りなくてすみませんが・・・』 when presenting the customer with the bill. Initially, this was only used by the restaurant and not the customer. However, お愛想 was later requisitioned by the 客側 in a kind of 面白おかしい humorous sense, and is now a part of the parlance.

1 comment:

Blue Shoe said...

Interesting post. I wasn't aware of 愛想 - think I'll try it out next time I take my girlfriend out. 勉強になった!