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Japanese Basic Phrases

Japan flag. Japanese - English Language Basics

Basic Japanese

Street sign in Japanese and English.

Around 130 million people speak Japanese, the ninth most widely spoken language in the world. Outside Japan itself, there are approximately 5 million people who speak Japanese with some degree of fluency - predominantly descendants of Japanese emigrants in Hawaii, Brazil and other parts of the Americas.

Japanese has 3 alphabets
kanji - Chinese ideograms imported from the sixth century onwards.
hiragana and katakana - both 45 character alphabets. katakana is used mainly for foreign loanwords.

Japanese has an extensive grammatical system to express politeness and formality. There are three main levels of politeness in spoken Japanese:
the plain form (kudaketa)
the simple polite form (teinei)
the advanced polite form (keigo)

Useful Phrases

Useful Japanese phrases for the business traveller or visitor, including basic Japanese words and phrases for travel, emergencies, sports events, dining out and meeting people.



The Basics

eigo
hai
iie
doko?
ikura?
kippu
(domo) arigato
toire
tabemono
nomimono
o-mizu
sumimasen
gomen nasai


English language
Yes
No
Where?
How much?
Ticket
Thank you (very much)
Toilet
food
drink
water
Excuse me/Sorry
I'm sorry


Meeting People

konnichiwa
sayonara
ja ne
watashi wa ........... desu
anatano namae wa nan desu ka?
yoroshiku onegaishimasu
genki desu ka
genki desu
igirisu jin desu
furansu jin desu
amerika jin desu
eigo wa wakarimasu ka?
shashin o totte ii desu ka?
nihon ga daisuki
aishite-iru
takusan
sukoshi


Hello
Goodbye
Bye
My name is .................
What is your name?
Pleased to meet you
How are you?
Fine
I'm English
I'm French
I'm American
Do you understand English?
Can I take your photograph?
Japan's great!
I love you
Lots
A little


General

sumimasen, chikatetsu wa doko desu ka

eki wa doko desu ka
aiteiru heya wa arimasu ka
kore wa ikura desu ka
nama biiru futatsu kudasai
nama biiru
oishii
eigo no menyu wa arimasu ka
ohkii
chiisai
ne?


Excuse me, where is the
subway/underground?
Where is the train station?
Do you have any vacancies?
How much is this?
Two draught beers, please
draught beer
Delicious
Is there an English menu?
Big
Small
Isn't it?


Taxi Talk

kuukou kudasai
Miyako Hoteru kudasai
ryoshusho kudasai


Take me to the airport please
To the Miyako Hotel, please
Please give me a receipt


Emergencies

Click here for embassies in Japan

keisatsu wo yonde kudasai!
kyuukyuusha wo yonde kudasai!
taishikan ni renraku shitai desu

bengoshi to sodan shitai desu


Call the police!
Call an ambulance!
I want to contact the embassy

I want to consult a lawyer


Stadium Stuff

sumimasen, sutajiamu wa doko desu ka

Excuse me, where's the stadium?

iriguchi
deguchi
sakkaa
waarudokappu
go-ru
shu-to
pee-kay (PK)
ko-na-kikku
suro inu
taijou
ganbare, nippon!
shinpan
go-ru ki-paa
bakayaro!
Kekkyoku, Buraian-san,
zenhan to kohan ga arimasu


Entrance
Exit
football/soccer
World Cup
Goal
Shot
Penalty
Corner kick
Throw-in
Sent off
Come on, Japan!
Referee
Goalkeeper
F%ck off! (lit: f%cking idiot!)
At the end of the day, Brian, it's a game of two halves...


Numbers

Read more here about Japanese numbering

 
1ichi 1
2ni 2
3san 3
4shi 4
5go 5
6roku 6
7 nana 7
8hachi 8
9kyu 9
10ju 10
20ni-ju 20
50 go-ju 50
100hyaku 100
200ni-hyaku 200
500go-hyaku 500
1,000sen 1,000
2,000ni-sen 2,000
5,000go-sen 5,000
10,000ichi-man 10,000
20,000ni-man 20,000
30,000go-man 50,000
 

Currency

en Japanese Yen
roku-man ni-sen go-hyaku nana-ju yon en 62,574 yen

Japanese-English Electronic Dictionaries


Books on Japan