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Japanese has honorifics (敬語 - "keigo"), a feature of which my native language English is devoid. For example, there is different vocabulary and grammar to use when speaking to a social superior, about a social superior, etc. Sentences may still carry the same meaning, but one must additionally take into account their listener's relative social standing.

What are some strategies to cultivate this mindset and comfortable use of this grammar/vocabulary outside of the classroom? I don't currently have access to more than one native Japanese speaker; can I avoid awkward role-play?

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    You're asking about the vocabulary to use outside the classroom. What is the vocabulary you use in the classroom? The most polite one? If so, is there any reason not to stick with it everywhere? We the Thai learners do it all the time. Using "street language" without knowing exactly what you are doing can only cause troubles. It is arguably better to say honorific "you" to a kid (who is socially lower than an adult) than saying a rude "you" to a police officer. Once, I had problems for using verb อยาก "like to" instead of ต้อง "must" in a sentence "would you like to see my papers?" Aug 2, 2018 at 23:33
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    @bytebuster Typically we use relatively little keigo in the classroom
    – Hatchet
    Aug 2, 2018 at 23:53

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