How to say simple phrases in Japanese
Learning a new language can be a lot fun. When you learn a language you indirectly learn something about the culture of that language. Here are some very simple phrases to help you get started. By the end of this article you should be able to say hello, introduce yourself, count to one hundred, apologise, say thank you and tell people you don’t understand Japanese.
Good morning: Ohayou Goziamasu
Good afternoon: Konnichiwa
Good evening: Konbanwa
With Kon-ichi-wa and kon-ban-wa, nichi is the Japanese word for day and ban is the Japanese word for night
Nice to meet you: Ha ji me ma shi te
This literally means, ‘for the first time.’ It can be used in a polite situation and also in an informal one
My name is : Watashi wa desu
For example, Watashi wa Mike desu. A slightly less formal way to say this would be Mike desu
Desu is equivalent to the English, ‘To be.’
It’s a pleasure to meet you: Yo-ro-shi-ku On-e-ga-i Shi-masu
The phrase literally means, ‘please be good to me.’ When my friend introduced me to his wife, he said to me, ‘please be good to her.’ I thought this was a strange thing to say why would I be anything but nice to her? However now that I understand more about Japanese language and culture, I understand it is a common greeting that corresponds roughly to, ‘it is a pleasure to meet you,’ in English.
4 Shi / Yon
7 Shichi / Nana
If you can memorise these ten numbers then you can easily work out the rest of the numbers up to the number ninety-nine.
Eleven is ten plus one Jyu-ichi
Twelve is ten plus two Jyu-ni
Thirteen is ten plus three Jyu-san
Fourteen is ten plus four Jyu-Yon (use Yon instead of Shi in modern Japanese)
Fifteen is ten plus five Jyu-go
When you get to twenty It is two tens Ni-jyu
Twenty one is two tens plus one… Ni-jyu-ichi
Twenty five would be two tens plus five Ni-jyu-go
Thirty would be three tens San-jyu
Forty would be Yon-jyu
All the way up to ninety-nine, which is Kyu-jyu-kyu
One hundred is Hyaku
I am sorry Gomennasai
Excuse me Sumimasen
Thank you Arigatou gozaimasu
Useful phrase for a beginner
I don’t understand Japanese Nihongo wakari masen
Nihongo means Japanese wakari is the word for understand and masen negates it
So that is it, my basic introduction to simple Japanese phrases I hope you found it useful and you will continue to learn more of this beautiful language.
Arigatou Gozaimasu and Sayonara.