This MUST have been covered before.
I have searched on using the search bar, but had to give up because it ignores speech marks as isolators [","], so a search for " “excuse me” " ignored the “me”. Even then it turns up ten pages of a recent thread with “excuse me” in the title. Didn’t we used to be able to search by post content as well as title or either/or? Is it just me or is ‘advanced search’ missing?
I also tried google and got the answer I already knew is reserved only for special occasions when you really can’t show your face, i.e. have offended someone, (Dui bu chi) - when you really are “sorry”.
Situation A. I was in the supermarket, (my local ‘Welcome’). Today, unusually, the whole neighbourhood seemed to be in attendance and the cashier said something I didn’t quite hear, so I said, “Shen me?” in my best Taiwanese-style slurry s pronunciation, and a polite smile, of course. I gathered by her reaction that this was a little too rustic for the situation (neighbours in attendace ). I suppose I could have said, “Zai yi ci” - but is that a little curt?
Situation B. I’m going down the road (perhaps walking rather quickly) and I want to get past someone or just let them know someone else is nearby using the pavement, too. I usually say, “Bu hao yi si” but this is supposed to convey embarrassment. Sometimes I say, “Xaio xing,” but that is perhaps a little dramatic, although it is appropriate on occasion.
So, what do THEY say??? I haven’t picked it up/noticed/accepted that they don’t say anything. Do I just push/cough/wait (for situation a) or grunt “eh?” (for situation b)? Do I grovel and blush?
I guess it’s a tricky part of social life in any culture… One has to learn to read the situation, and then say something. Does anyone have experience/clues/insights/LANGUAGE to help negotiate this cultural/linguistic/ethical minefield?