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2.3: Dialogue 3

  • Page ID
    17433
  • At an orientation for new employees

    Staff: Anou, o-namae wa? Umm…(What is) your name?

    あのう、お名前 なまえ は?

    Michael: Maikeru Sumisu desu. I’m Michael Smith.

    マイケル・スミスです。

    Staff: Nihongo o-jouzu desu nee. Your Japanese is good!

    日本語 にほんご 、お上手 じょうず ですねえ。

    Michake: Ie ie, mada mada desu. No, no. Still a long way to go.

    いえいえ、まだまだです。

    Michael sees handouts on the table.

    Michale: Sore, nan desu ka. What is that?

    それ、何 なん ですか。

    Staff: Kore desu ka. Kyou no sukejuuru desu. This? It’s today’s schedule.

    これですか。今日 きょう のスケジュールです。

    ……

    Michael: Ano kata, donata desu ka. Who is that person?

    あの人 ひと 、どなたですか。

    Staff: Ano onna no hito desu ka. Do you mean that woman?

    あの 女 おんな の方 かた ですか。

    Tookyoo-daigaku no Satou-sensei desu. She is Prof. Sato from U. of Tokyo.

    東京大学 とうきょうだいがく の佐藤先生 さとうせんせい です。

    Vocabulary

    namae なまえ 名前 name

    onamae おなまえ お名前 name (polite)

    nihongo にほんご 日本語 Japanese (language)

    jouzu じょうず 上手 good (at something), skillful

    ojouzu おじょうず お上手 good (polite)

    mada mada まだまだ not there yet, still long way to go

    nan なん 何 what

    sukejuuru すけじゅうる スケジュール schedule

    ano X あの X that X (2-3-2)

    hito ひと 人 person

    donata どなた who (polite)

    onna おんな 女 female

    kata かた 方 person (polite)

    toukyou-daigaku とうきょうだいがく東京大学 University of Tokyo

    Satou さとう 佐藤 Sato (family name)

    +otoko おとこ 男 male

    +heta へた 下手 bad, poor (at something)

    +keitai けいたい ケータイ cellphone

    +sumaho すまほ スマホ smartphone

    +pasokon ぱそこん パソコン computer, laptop

    +baggu ばっぐ バッグ bag

    +kaban かばん 鞄 brief case, bag (made of leather)
    +kasa かさ 傘 umbrella

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    Grammar Notes

    Echo Questions

    As we have seen, it’s common for things that are clear from the context to be left unsaid in Japanese conversation. However, the context may not always be clear to everyone involved. In such cases, people use echo questions (echoing back all or part of what has just been said) for clarification. In the dialogue above, the staff member uses the echo question ‘Do you mean this?’ to check if Michael is referring to the handouts near her.

    Michael: Sore, nan desu ka. What is that?

    Staff: Kore desu ka. Kyou no sukejuuru desu. This? It’s today’s schedule.

    While echo questions are not unique to Japanese, they occur a lot more frequently in Japanese conversations. This is because echo questions are not only used for clarification, but also to slow down the pace of conversation or soften the tone. Recall that hesitation noises are used to take time and avoid direct responses. Echo questions are often used for similar purposes. So, even when there is no need for clarification, Japanese speakers may ask echo questions. In such cases, an answer to the echo question is not necessarily expected.

    The most common echo questions are those that repeat the topic nouns, which may have been left unsaid or which are typically marked by the particle wa in the other person’s speech.

    Wakarimasu ka? Do [you] understand?

    -Watashi desu ka. Iya, amari… Do you mean me? Not really.

    Kore wa sumaho desu ka. Is this a smartphone?

    -Kore desu ka. Hai. Do you mean this? Yes.

    Note here that ‘Sumaho desu ka.’ is impossible as an echo question. Watch out!

    *-Sumaho desu ka? Hai. Do you mean a smartphone? Yes.

    Ano X Ko-so-a-do series #2

    In Lesson 1, the first set of ko-so-a-do series (kore, sore, are, dore) was introduced. The second set of the series is kono, sono, ano, and dono. Both sets are based on the same ko-so-a-do distinction (near the speaker, close to the addressee, or away from both).

    The difference between the two sets is that the first is a set of nouns and the second is a set of incomplete elements that require a following noun and cannot be used alone. So, while kore is an independent noun meaning ‘this’, kono is linked to a noun, meaning ‘this X’. Note that when translated into English, both kore and kono are translated as ‘this’.

    kore this

    kono kaisha this company

    kono nihon no kaisya this Japanese company

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