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>-Stephen (Steg) writes

>  "so 'sumimasen' means 'i don't exist'?  wow, the japanese are a little
>too polite with that one!"
>  "no... the 'su' in 'sumimasen' "sorry" and the 'su' in 'sundeiru' "to
>dwell" are written with different kanji!"
>  "sure they are..."
>      ~ (or something like that) from japanese class during the summer

Too true. "Sumu" is actually three homonymous verbs: "to end", "to
live", and "to become clear". Three different kanji. "Sorry" or
"excuse me" (or even "thanks" in certain contexts) comes from the
verb "to end", so "sumimasen" literally means "(my obligation to you)
does not end."

Kou