WELCOME!

Minna-san Konnichiwa! (みなさんこんにちは)

Thanks for stumbling onto our page! We dedicate this blog to Japan and all the great stuff that comes out of it.

This blog is here for those interested in seeing what the ACMT Japanese Club has been up to and what we're learning step-by-step. It's a self-study club to enrich our lives and give us better opportunities for our future.

If you decide to follow this blog and learn alongside us, don't hesitate to send us questions. We may only officially have members who are a part of ACMT Zagreb, but unofficially the amount, who want to be a part of this, is limitless.

Thanks for your time and effort.

Sincerely,

Japanese Club

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lesson 1 - Conversational Pieces (Expressions)

CONTINUATION OF LESSON 1
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CONVERSATIONAL PIECES

Are you ready to learn some greetings and expressions? I'm sure that even if you've never learned Japanese before, some of them will be familiar.

So let's get started!

First of all, let's explain some things about the Japanese language. There different ways to speak in Japanese. Three of them are - plain, formal and informal.

It's very important to know that there is a difference because in Japanese society, politeness is held in high regard. They value politeness and if you inappropriately use informal (aka casual) lanugage, then it could be taken as rude or offensive. You don't want to piss off potential clients or business partners!

Plain style is the neutral form and is accepted in society, that is until you learn more Japanese and can distinguish when to use the formal style (it's called 'keigo' in Japanese).
This style is standard textbook language and newscasters on Japanese TV speak in this style as well.

Informal style is a casual form of speaking that should only be used in close relationships such as with friends or family members.
Informal may be tempting to use because in most cases it's a shorter way of saying different expressions (example: ohayou gozaimasu, informal: ohayou), but it's best to only use them outside of your business environment.

Formal style (keigo) is incredibly polite. You can't get more polite than with keigo. It's mainly used when talking to someone who is highly respected or has high status.

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GOOD TO KNOW: It's important to know that in Japanese, there are no lower-case or upper-case letters. There are also no spaces in between words.

You may be wondering how you will even be able to tell what's what in a sentence, but not to worry. As you get used to things more and more and expand your knowledge of the language as time goes on, by the time we get to that stuff, you'll be prepared.

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こんにちは
Konnichiwa
Hello. or Good afternoon.
It depends on when and how it's used.
TIP: Pronounce 'n' and 'ni' speparately.

Example:
こんにちは、スミスさん
Konnichiwa, Sumisu-san
Hello, Mr. Smith.

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おはよう
Ohayō.
Morning.
<Casual>

おはようございます
Ohayō gozaimasu.
Good morning.
<Plain/Formal>
TIP: The last vowel in gozaimasu is not pronounced.
Pronounced as go-zai-mas 

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こんばんは
Konbanwa.
Good evening.
TIP: Used at the beginning of a conversation, not at the end.

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おやすみ
Oyasumi.
Night.
<Casual>

おやすみなさい
Oyasumi-nasai.
Good night.
<Plain/Formal>

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さようなら
Sayōnara.
Good-bye.
TIP: Used only if you won't be seeing the other person for some time.

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どうも
Dōmo.
Thanks.
<Casual>
TIP: To thank for a small favor.

ありがとう
Arigatō.
Thank you.
<Casual>

ありがとうございます
Arigatō gozaimasu.
Thank you.
<Plain>

どうもありがとう
Dōmo arigatō.
Thank you very much.
<Plain>

どうもありがとうございます
Dōmo arigatō gozaimasu.
Thank you very much.
<Formal>
TIP: Use when you want to emphasize how thankful you are.

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どういたしまして
Dō-itashimashite.
You are welcome.

はい
Hai.*
Yes.
<Plain>

うん/ウン
Un.
Yeah.
<Casual>

いいえ
Iie.**
No.

すみません
Sumimasen.
Excuse me.
TIP: Used when you talk to someone, and to apologize for small faults.

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いただきます
Itadakimasu.
Lit. trans. I accept (the food)
TIP: Used when you start eating as a signal “Let's start.”
Also can be said to the person who is treating you the meal.

ごちそうさまでした
Gochisōsamadeshita.
Lit. trans. It was a wonderful feast.
TIP: Used when you finished eating.
You can say this to thank the person who treated you the meal.

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*Hai. Unlike in English, 'hai' can be used in many different contexts.
Example: It can also be used to answer someone's call.

**Iie. Unlike in English, 'iie' can be used in many different contexts.
Examples:
It can mean “Don't mention it.” by raising the end of the word when something's not a big deal.
If someone is apologizing for something small, you can say “iie” as in to say “Don't be sorry.”, “No problem.”

Extras!
If you feel like knowing a bit more besides yes and no, check out these words:

そうねえ。
Sō nē.
Well...

たぶん。
Tabun.
Maybe.

まあまあ。
Mā mā.
 So so.

いいよ。 
Ii yo.
Okay.

おそらく。
Osoraku.
Probably.

べつに。
Betsuni.
Nothing.

ありうることです。
Ariuru koto desu.
Possibly.