Japanese Language

It is one of the most difficult language to learn.
There are several different character sets and several thousands of Chinese characters are used.
Also different level of speaking techniques apply.

Basic Japanese Phrases

The Basic Japanese Phrases and the Japanese Phrases for Meeting and Greeting will lead you to the Japanese Dialog at the end, which shows how these survival phrases are used in conversational Japanese. Take advantage of this Japanese language resource as you learn to speak Japanese on your trip!

Basic Japanese Phrases

Hai. Yes.

Iie. No.

O-negai shimasu. Please.

Arigatō. Thank you.

Dōitashimashite. You're welcome.

Sumimasen. Excuse me.

Gomennasai. I am sorry.

Ohayō gozaimasu. Good morning.

Konbanwa. Good evening.

O-yasumi nasai. Good night.
Japanese Phrases for Meeting and Greeting

Eigo o hanasemasu ka. Do you speak English?

Koko ni eigo o hanaseru hito wa imasu ka. Does anyone here speak English?
ここに えいごおはなせるひとはいますか。

Watashi wa nihongo ga sukoshi shika hanasemasen. I only speak a little Japanese.
わたしは にほんごがすこししか はなせません。

O-namae wa nan desu ka. What is your name?

Watashi no namae wa Kaori desu. My name is Kaorii.
わたしのなまえは かおりです。

O-genki desu ka. How are you?

Genki desu. I'm fine. Thank you.

Oaidekite ureshī desu. I am very glad to meet you.
おあいできて うれしいです。

Wakarimasen. I don't understand.

Nante iimashita ka. What did you say?

Motto yukkuri hanashite kudasai. Can you speak more slowly?
もっと ゆっくりはなしてください。

Yoku wakarimasu. I understand you perfectly.

Japanese Dialog
Conversation between Mr Smith and Ten-in(in Store worker)

Sumisu-san: Oha yō gozaimasu. Good morning.
Eigo o hanasemasu ka. Do you speak English?
Ten-in: Sumimasen. I'm sorry.
Eigo wa hanasemasen. I do not speak English.
えいごは はなせません。
Sumisu-san: Watashi wa nihongo ga sukoshi shika hanasemasen. Unfortunately, I speak only a little Japanese.
わたしは にほんごがすこししかはなせません。
Ten-in: Dai jōbu desu. That's all right.
Wakarimasu. I understand you.

About Japanese

■ Writing:
The Japanese writing system consists of three different character sets: Kanji (several thousands of Chinese characters) and Hiragana and Katakana (two syllabaries of 46 characters each; together called Kana). Japanese texts can be written in two ways: In Western style, i.e. in horizontal rows from the top to the bottom of the page, or in traditional Japanese style, i.e. in vertical columns from the right to the left side of the page. Both writing styles exist side by side today.

■ Grammar:
Basic Japanese grammar is relatively simple. Complicating factors such as gender articles and distinctions between plural and singular are missing almost completely. Conjugation rules for verbs and adjectives are simple and almost free of exceptions. Nouns are not declinated at all, but appear always in the same form.

■ Pronunciation:
In comparison with other languages, Japanese knows relatively few sounds, and pronunciation poses little problems to most learners. The biggest difficulty are accents, which do exist, but to a much lower extent than in the Chinese language. In addition, there are relatively many homonyms, i.e. words that are pronounced the same way, but have different meanings.

■ Levels of speech:
Different words and expressions are used when talking to an unknown person or a superior, as opposed to when talking to a child, family member or a close friend. For instance, there are more than five different words for the English word "I", which are used depending on the context. For formal situations, a honorific language level (keigo) is still in common use.