Sunday, October 16, 2016

itterasshai いってらっしゃい

In Japanese, itterasshai いってらっしゃい, meaning literally "go and come back," is an expression used when saying goodbye to someone leaving home to go to school, work, etc., specially after the person leaving says itte-kimasu 行ってきます.

When they return, they'd say tadaima ただいま, to be greeted with okaeri おかえり.

It's also spelled 行ってらっしゃい.


The phrase itte-rasshai 行ってらっしゃい means "go and come back." It's composed of two verbs:

The word rassharu is an abbreviation of irassharu いらっしゃる.

And so rasshai is synonymous with irasshai いらっしゃい. Both words are honorific speech, sonkeigo 尊敬語.

The polite ~masu ~ます form of rassharu, irassharu would be rasshaimasu らっしゃます, irasshaimasu いらっしゃます, with ~i ~い instead of ~ri ~り due to i-onbin イ音便.

Removing the ~masu and you have the masu stem, i.e. the ren'youkei 連用形, rasshai~/irasshai~.

The ren'youkei of sonkeigo verbs is sometimes used as an abbreviation of the meireikei 命令形, "imperative form." Compare:

  • kudasaru
    [For someone of higher status] to give [something] to [someone of lower status like me].
  • kudasaimasu
    (same meaning, polite form.)
  • kudasaimase
    Give [it] to [me].
    (imperative form.)
  • kudasai
    (same meaning.)
  • kore φ kudasai
    Give this to [me].

This means itte-rasshai means the same thing as:

  • itte-rasshaimase
    Go and come back.
  • itte-irasshaimase
    (same meaning.)
  • itte-koi
    (same meaning.)

When someone leaves home, they say:

  • itte-kimasu
    [I] will go and come back.
  • itte-kuru
    (same meaning.)

And someone tells them:

  • itte-koi
    Go and come back.
  • itte-rasshai
    (same meaning.)

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