Pimsleur Japanese 1 – Unit 3

Omission of Subjects
Japanese speakers often rely on the listener’s ability to understand their real intention fromwhatappears to be subtle and evasive verbal and nonverbal signals. Being able to leave some things unsaidso that the other can read between the lines is an important skill in Japanese communication. Aperson who explains things in great detail is considered legalistic and is often frowned upon.Thefrequent omission of subjects is one example of this ambiguous and seemingly incompleteformofJapanese communication. This style of speech may frustrate foreign learners of Japanese at first. butafter a while it will become natural.
The Japanese language has several words for “you.” The one to use depends upon thespeaker’srelationship with the person being spoken to. Among these are the common anata, which wasintroduced in this unit, the informal anta, the formal kimi (often used by a superior to address his or her junior), and omae, used only by male speakers. However, you will often hear people addressoneanother without using any of these, simply leaving “you” to be understood.
domo is used to emphasize your politeness, as in domo arigato gozaimasu. It is used for a varietyofpurposes: to indicate “indeed” and “very much” as in this unit, to show the speaker’s suspiciousfeeling as in domo okashii, “I have a doubt about it,” or to mean “by any means.” Japanese speakers are very fond of using domo in many contexts. Although in formal,
“correct”speech,domoshouldbefollowed by a word that it modifies, Japanese speakers often use it alone. You will often hear them say domo, domo when they greet each other.

A: おはよう ございます。いかが です か。
ohayō gozaimasu. ikaga desu ka.
B: げんき です、 おかげ さまで。
genki desu, okage samade.
A: ああ! にほんご が わかります ね。
aa! nihongo ga wakarimasu ne.
B: はい すこし、 でも まだ じょうず じゃ ありません。
hai sukoshi, demo mada jōzu ja arimasen.
A: あなた は アメリカじん です か。
anata wa amerikajin desu ka.
B: はい。
A: でも あなた は にほんご が よく わかります ね。
demo anata wa nihongo ga yoku wakarimasu ne.
まだ じょうず じゃ ありません
mada jōzu ja arimasen
not very good yet
はい、 すこし、 でも まだ じょうず
じゃ ありません。
hai, sukoshi, demo mada jōzu ja arimasen.
Yes, a little, but I’m not very good yet.
well (eg. good, to do something well)
よく わかります
yoku wakarimasu
understand well
よく わかりません
yoku wakarimasen
don’t understand well
じょうず じゃ ありません
jōzu ja arimasen
not skilled/not very good
げんき じゃ ありません
genki ja arimasen
not very good/very well
お げんき です か。
o genki desu ka.
Are you well? (“お” is used for politeness when addressing someone else)
はい、 げんき です。
hai, genki desu.
Yes, I am well.
どうも ありがとう ございます。
dōmo arigatō gozaimasu.
Thank you very much.
わたし は にほんじん です。
watashi wa nihonjin desu.
I am Japanese.
あなた は にほんじん です か。
anata wa nihonjin desu ka.
Are you Japanese?
にほんじん じゃ ありません
nihonjin ja arimasen
not Japanese
アメリカじん じゃ ありません
amerikajin ja arimasen
not American
わたし は にほんじん じゃ ありません。
watashi wa nihonjin ja arimasen.
I am not Japanese.
わたし は アメリカじん じゃ ありません。
watashi wa amerikajin ja arimasen.
I am not American.
あなた は?
anata wa?
And you?
わたし は アメリカじん です。 あなた
watashi wa amerikajin desu. anata wa?
I am American. And you?
でも わたし は わかります
demo watashi wa wakarimasu
でも わかります
demo wakarimasu
but I understand
でも わたし は にほんご が わかります
demo watashi wa nihongo ga wakarimasu
でも にほんご が わかります
demo nihongo ga wakarimasu
but I understand Japanese
わたし は にほんご が よく
watashi wa nihongo ga yoku wakarimasen.
I don’t understand Japanese well.
いいえ、 げんき じゃ ありません。
iie, genki ja arimasen.
No, I’m not well.
でも まだ じょうず じゃ ありません
demo mada jōzu ja arimasen
but not very skilled yet
あなた は よく はなせます ね。
anata wa yoku hanasemasu ne.
You can speak well, can’t you?

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