JP1000 Introductory Lecture 01

Useful Expressions: GREETINGS

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Good morning. Ohayoo gozaimàs(u)/Ohayoo.
Good afternoon/Hello. Konnichi wa.
Good evening. Konban wa.
Good night. Oyasumi nasai.
Hi! Dòomo.
Good bye. Sayoonara/Sh(i)tsùreeshimas(u).
See you (later). Jàa, mata/Jàa, mata (àto de).
See you tomorrow. Jàa mata ash(i)ta.
How are you? Ogènki des(u) ka?
(Thank you for your concern.) I'm fine. (Okagesama de) Gènki des(u).
Yes. hài/èe
No. iie
How is it?/How are things? Dòo des(u) ka?/Ikàga des(u) ka?
So so. Màa maa des(u).

Long time no see. Shibàraku desu nee.
Mr./Mrs./Ms ______ _____-sàn/_____-sensèe
I am _____. _____ dès(u)./Watashi wa _____ dès(u).
How do you do? Hajimemàsh(i)te. Dòozo yorosh(i)ku.
How do you do? [likewise] Kochira kòso, doozo yorosh(i)ku.

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Hints & Suggestions

The above greetings are usually accompanied by o-jigi 'bowing'. When you bow, you should stop and stand erect and straight with your heels together. In Japanese culture the function of greetings is not to show friendliness but rather to confirm social relationship. It is more like a serious ritual, so Japanese people tend to be quite formal in greetings. The angle of bowing depends on whom you are bowing to, and the more senior the person is, the deeper it becomes. Let's practise it with you instructor. Body language is often more important than words. To be sure, many Japanese shake hands with non-Japanese these days, so one has to be flexible as well.

Exchanging meeshi (or meishi) 'name cards' is a common practice among business people. Name cards are extremely helpful in remembering names and other information of the other party. Usually a junior person presents his/her card first politely to the senior person. In a conference situation, it is helpful to place cards in front of you on the desk so that you can easily identify other participants.

© Norio Ota 2009