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1.1: Dialogue 1

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    The project team is visiting a company.

    Yamada: Biru no iriguchi de aimashou. Let’s meet up at the entrance of the building.

    ビルの入い り口 ぐち で会 あ いましょう。

    Emily:Wakarimashita . Got it.


    The day of the visit, everyone seems to be there but….

    Yamada: Hayashi-san wa doko desu ka. Where is Ms. Hayashi?

    林 はやし さんは、どこですか。

    Emily: Asoko ni imasu. She is over there.


    Yamada: Senpai wa? How about Senpai?

    先輩 せんぱい は?

    Emily: Senpai mo irassyaimasu yo. Hora. He is there, too. Look! 先輩 せんぱい も、いらっしゃいますよ。ほら。

    単語 Vocabulary

    biru ビル building

    iriguchi いりぐち 入り口 entrance

    de で particle (location of activity)

    Hayash-san はやしさん 林さん Mr/s. Hayashi

    doko どこ where

    asoko あそこ over there

    ni に particle (location of existence)

    imasu います be, exist (animate--people, animals)

    senpai せんぱい 先輩 senior member of a group

    irasshaimasu いらっしゃいます be, exist, go, come (honorific) 5-1-3

    hora ほら look, hey

    +mooru モール shopping mall

    +depaato デパート department store

    +suupaa スーパー super market

    +kouen こうえん 公園 park

    +toshokan としょかん 図書館 library

    +mise みせ 店 store, shop

    +deguchi でぐち 出口 exit

    +dochira/docchi どちら、どっち which, which way, which area

    +achira/acchi あちら、あっち over there, that way/direction

    +koko/kochira/kocchi ここ、こちら、こっち here, this way, this area

    +soko/sochira/socchi そこ、そちら、そっち there (near you), that way

    +kouhai こうはい 後輩 junior member of a group

    The senpai-kouhai relationship is a strong mentoring relationship in many areas in the Japanese society including in school, in team sports, and at work. Usually the relationship is determined by who became a member of the group first rather than individual merits and abilities. Once someone is your senpai, you are expected to treat the person as such for a lifetime. Equally a senpai is expected to take care of kouhai members for a lifetime. This relationship can be most reliable connections in one’s social network even long after one leaves the group.

    Grammar Notes

    Particle De indicating the Location of Activity

    A place noun followed by particle de indicates the location where some activity takes place. Depending on the context, it can be translated as ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘on’, etc.

    Iriguchi de aimashou. Let’s meet at the entrance.

    Amerika de benkyou-shimashita I studied in America.

    Doko de kaimashita ka. Where di you buy it?

    The particles wa and mo can be added to particle ni to indicate contrast or addition.

    Nihon de wa ohashi o tsukaimasu. In Japan, we use chopsticks.

    Chuugoku de mo ohashi o tsukaimasu. In Cnina, they use chopsticks, too.

    Recall that wa and mo REPLACE particle ga for the subject or particle o for the object. However, wa and mo are ADDED to particle de. In other words, de remains there to make a double particle. This is because de has a specific meaning (Semantics to be translated as ‘in’ ‘at’) while ga and o indicate the grammatical roles (Cases: subject and object). The former is called a ‘semantic particle’ while the latter two are called ‘case particles’. All the other particles that will be introduced from here on are ‘semantic particles’, and wa and mo are added to them rather than replace them. By the way, wa and mo are called ‘discourse particles’ because of their discourse-based meanings. The following summarizes these three types of phrase particles.

    Discourse Particles: wa (contrast), mo (addition)

    Case Particles: ga (subject), o (object)

    Semantic Particles: de (location of activity) and others

    Particle Ni indicating the Location of Existence

    Ni is a semantic particle. A place noun followed by particle ni indicates the place where something or someone is located. While /a place + de/ above is followed by an activity verb, /a place + ni/ is followed by a verb of existence such as arimasu, imasu, and their variations. Compare the following.

    Toshokan ni imasu. He is in the library. (a person/ animal)

    Toshokan ni arimasu. It is in the library. (a thing)

    Toshokan de arimasu. It is held in the library. (an event)

    Particles wa and mo may follow ni.

    Amerika ni mo arimasu. They are in America too.

    Amerika ni wa arimasen. It’s not in America (it may be somewhere else.)

    When the context makes it clear that the location of someone or something is under discussion, /a location noun plus desu/ can be used instead of /a location noun ni arimasu/imasu./

    Yamada-san wa? How about Mr. Yamada?

    -Toshokan desu. He is in the library.

    -Toshokan ni imasu. He is in the library.

    Irasshaimasu: Honorific Verbs

    There are many ways in Japanese to show deference to other people. Being proficient in polite language is a requirement for working adults. The politeness system of the language is complex and it is part of the language curriculum in Japanese schools. Many companies offer in-house training for new employees to speak businessappropriate language, which includes a lot of polite expressions.

    One way to create linguistic politeness is to position yourself lower than the person you are talking about, by either lowering yourself (Humble forms) or raising the person (Honorific forms).

    Honorific forms are used to raise the person being talked about. You use them when describing anyone to whom you want to show deference such as your customers and clients, strangers and people you have just met, and people senior to you including senpai, bosses, supervisors, teachers, etc. Needless to say, you do not use honorific verbs to describe yourself.

    Some of the commonly used verbs have a special honorific version as shown in the chart below


    All other verbs can be converted into a honorific form by following the pattern below.

    O+verb (masu replaced by ni narimasu)

    kakimasu -> okaki ni narimasu write

    kaerimasu -> okaeri ni narimasu go home

    Sensei irasshaimasu ka. Is the professor here?

    -Ie, okaeri ni narimashita. No, she went home.

    Ko-so-a-do series #3

    Kore, sore, are and dore, which came up in the last lesson, are representative of a
    pattern that you will see elsewhere in Japanese. In this lesson, we find three new ko-so-ado series that indicate location.


    The kochira, sochira, achira, dochira series indicates the general area or direction, or the alternative of two. (Dore means “which one of three or more while dochira means which one of the two). You may hear members of the kochira series used as more polite equivalents of the koko series—probably because the kochira series is more vague, it sounds more polite.

    Kochira is also used to indicate the speaker’s side of a telephone conversation and sochira the other side:

    Kochira wa Hiru desu This is Mr/s. Hill

    Sochira wa dou desu ka. How are you?

    Finally, the kotchi, sotchi, atchi, dotchi series is used among friends or in casual situations.

    This page titled 1.1: Dialogue 1 is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Emiko Konomi (Portland State University Library) .

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