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Monthly archives: July, 2014

un – うん

うん (“un”; “Yes”(informal))

You just learned that はい(ha-i) is the Japanese word for “yes”. However, that is the formal, polite way to say it. When speaking informal Japanese to your friends, you can just say うん(un).

It is worth noting, however, that this is typically not pronounced as it looks, saying “oon” with your lips open, but rather, it is done with your lips closed.


(“a-na-ta wa John de-su ka?”; “Are you John?”)


「 うん、Johnです。」

(“un, John de-su.”; “Yeah, I’m John.”)


PRACTICE: Use うん (un) to answer positively to a question.

iie – いいえ

 いいえ (“i-i-e”; “No”)

Now that you’ve learned the word for “Yes”, it’s time to learn “No”.


In English, “no” can be used to mean the absence of something (“no way”, “no doubt”), or just to respond negatively to a question asking for confirmation. In Japanese, the word いいえ(i-i-e) is only used for the latter. For example:

「 あなたはジョンですか?」(“’a-na-ta wa jon de-su ka?”; “Are you John?”)


「 いいえ、私はジョンではありません。」(“’i-i-e, wa-ta-shi wa jon de wa a-ri-ma-sen.”; “No, I am not John.”)


This is using not only what we learned in today’s lesson, but what we previously learned (〜ではありません(de wa a-ri-ma-sen); “is not”).

PRACTICE: Use いいえ (i-i-e) and  〜ではありません (de wa a-ri-ma-sen) to negatively respond to a question asking for confirmation.

Hai – はい pt.2

はい(“ha-i”; “Yes”)

Continuing from yesterday’s post, there is one more usage for はい(ha-i) that you should be aware of- the inquisitive version. This means you add a question mark to the end. You have to say it with a rising tone, just like when asking a question in English.


This means “Excuse me?”, “I’m sorry?”, or “Come again?”. It can be used in situations where the listener could not hear exactly what the speaker was saying, or the listener is baffled or in disbelief at what the speaker said. For example:


(“wa-ta-shi no na-ma-e wa pu-ru-chi-gu-gu-chi-gu-gu de-su”; “My name is Puruchiguguchigugu.”)



(“ha-i?”; essentially saying: “Huh? Your name is what?”)


PRACTICE: Use はい (ha-i) as a question in response to something someone says.

Hai – はい

はい(“ha-i”; “Yes”)

Going way back to basics, let’s focus on a simple, yet flexible, word in Japanese:


When used in response to a yes/no question, this means “yes”. However, in Japanese, it is more polite (and natural) to also respond with the positive statement. For example:


(“a-na-ta wa John de-su ka?”; “Are you John?”)



(“ha-i, John de-su.”; “Yes, I’m John.”)

はい(ha-i) can also be used as a response while someone is telling you commands or instructions, as a way to say “Yes, I understand.” You can use it in the breaks between their speech as a way to let the speaker know that you are understanding the conversation (there will be a lesson on this concept of あいづち(a-i-dzu-chi) in the future).


(“ko-no mi-chi wo mas-su-gu it-te,”; “Go straight down this road,”)



(“ha-i”; “Got it”)



(“tsu-gi no ko-u-sa-ten de hi-da-ri,”; “At the next intersection, go left”)



(“ha-i”; “Got it”)

PRACTICE: Use はい (ha-i) in the ways described above

Renshuu – 練習[れんしゅう]

練習[れんしゅう] (“ren-shu-u”; “practice”)


“Practice” and “study” are two slightly different concepts. “Study” tends to lean more on the side of “being introduced new information, or looking over what you were already taught” while “practice” generally means to put into effect what you’ve learned (practicing speaking as opposed to studying new words) Here’s a new phrase to motivate you:

毎日[まいにち]練習[れんしゅう]して下さい!(“ma-i-ni-chi ren-shu-u shi-te ku-da-sa-i!”; “Please practice everyday”)


毎日(ma-i-ni-chi) = every day

[Verb]~して下さい(~shi-te ku-da-sa-i) = Please do ~[Verb]

Thank you for using Japanese Lingo in your daily study/practice routine! We hope to keep providing you with daily quality content!

PRACTICE: 練習 speaking all of the Japanese phrases you have learned so far!

Benkyou – 勉強[べんきょう]

勉強[べんきょう] (“ben-kyo-u”; “study”)


Hopefully, you have all been doing this at least a few minutes each day. Remember- Japanese is a very difficult language to learn as a native English speaker! If you want to see results, you will need to dedicate time to studying. Here’s a new phrase to motivate you:

日本語を勉強しましょう!(“ni-hon-go wo ben-kyo-u shi-ma-sho-u!”; “Let’s study Japanese!”)


日本語(ni-hon-go) = Japanese (the language)

日本(ni-hon) = Japan (the country)

〜語(go) = Add this to the end of a country to mean the language of that country.

AをB = This will be explained later, but basically, it says that the action B happens to the action A.
[Verb〜ましょう] is a way to say “Let’s *verb*”. We will expand upon this concept in a future grammar lesson.

PRACTICE: Find some time to 勉強 Japanese a little each day!

Pikapika – ピカピカ

ピカピカ (“pi-ka-pi-ka”; “to flash bright”, “sparkly, shiny”)


There’s a good chance you’ve heard this one before…. somewhere….

That’s right! This phrase is used by the most famous pokemon of them all, Pikachu!

ピカピカ means “to flash brightly” or “sparkly, shiny”. This can refer to the stars in the sky, lights in a club/concert, or something that is super-clean.


BONUS TRIVIA: ピカチュウ is a combination of the words 

ピカピカ(pi-ka-pi-ka): “flash, sparkle”

ねずみ (ne-zu-mi): “mouse” (when its kanji is used in compound words, its sound becomes “チュウ”.

Pikachu = flashing/sparkling mouse!


Later today, we’ll be updating this post with a very relevant Vine! ^_^

PRACTICE: Say ピカピカ in your best Pikachu impression, and post it on Vine! Tag us (JapaneseLingo) and use the hashtag #bestpikapika

JapaneseLingo.com is on Vine!

Check out our brand new Vine account: JapaneseLingo

We’ll be creating plenty of six second video lessons for you on Vine. Like this one:

If you’re an avid Viner, and you would like to get creative and make your own six second word of the day Vine for us, send us a message on Vine!

Maamaa – まあまあ

まあまあ (“ma-a-ma-a”; “so-so”)


If we don’t feel well, not well, or sick, we must feel, well, somewhere in between.

Back to our question: お元気[げんき]ですか?(“o-gen-ki de-su ka?”; “How are you?”)


私[わたし]はまあまあです。(“wa-ta-shi wa ma-a-ma-a de-su.”; “I am so-so.”)

This can be used to mean “so-so” for anything (if someone asks your opinion on something, for example, you can reply 「まあまあです。」if you think it’s just average.

PRACTICE: Use 「私はまあまあです。」 as a response to 「お元気ですか?」.

Nemui – 眠い[ねむい]

眠い[ねむい] (“ne-mu-i”; “tired”)


Another possible response to our previous question: お元気[げんき]ですか?(“o-gen-ki de-su ka?”; “How are you?”)


私[わたし]は眠い[ねむい]です。(“wa-ta-shi wa ne-mu-i de-su.”; “I am tired.”)

Then let out a big yawn (あくび), and they’ll really get the message!

PRACTICE: Use 「私は眠いです。」 as a response to 「お元気ですか?」.

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