Finally decide to make the leap to learn Japanese? Congratulations!
Whether you plan to travel to Japan this holiday season or simply have an uncontrollable love for the language, you’re in the right place. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to speak Japanese using some basic Japanese words and phrases.
Chances are, your initial goal is to have a flowing conversation with a native Japanese speaker. That’s why we’re going to focus on teaching you basic Japanese words that you can use in conversations.
30 Basic Japanese Words and Phrases to Lead Any Conversation
From basic greetings in Japanese to important questions you can ask, we’ve categorized them for you.
Japanese culture is built around polite greetings. It’s critical to know them inside and out because you’ll use them more than nearly any other language. What’s interesting about the Japanese language is that the way you greet someone changes based on what time of the day it is.
1. Good Morning (おはようございます)
You can use this early in the morning. If you want to say this in a casual way, say outside of the workplace, you can use おはよう(ohayou).
2. Good Afternoon (こんにちは)
Anytime after noonish on to the early evening, you can use this greeting.
3. Good Evening (こんばんは)
Simple Phrases in Japanese
Once you’re past the initial greeting, you’re going to need to know these basic Japanese phrases to start the conversation.
4. Yes (はい。)
5. No (いいえ。)
6. Please (おねがいします。)
Pronuncitation: O-negai shimasu
7. Thank you (ありがとう。)
8. You’re welcome (どういたしまして。)
9. Excuse me (すみません。)
10. I’m sorry (ごめんなさい )
Pronuncitation: gomen nasai
11. No problem (問題ないよ)
Pronunciation: mondai nai yo
Survival Japanese phrases
You’ll need to know basic words and phrases in Japanese that may save you in desperate times. We don’t mean when you’re in physical danger, but when you may not understand a native speaker.
Use the following to navigate your way around Japanese conversations in the early stages of your journey.
12. Do you speak English? (えいごをはなせますか。)
Pronunciation: Eigo o hanasemasu ka.
13. Does anyone here speak English? (ここに えいごおはなせるひとはいますか。)
Pronunciation: Koko ni eigo o hanaseru hito wa imasu ka.
14. I only speak a little Japanese. (わたしは にほんごがすこししか はなせません。)
Pronunciation: Watashi wa nihongo ga sukoshi shika hanasemasen.
15. I don’t understand. (わかりません。)
16. What did you say? (なんていいましたか。)
Pronunciation: Nante iimashita ka.
17. Can you speak more slowly? (もっと ゆっくりはなしてください。)
Pronunciation: Motto yukkuri hanashite kudasai.
18. I understand you perfectly (よくわかります。)
Pronunciation: Yoku wakarimasu.
Ordering Food in Japanese
Phew. All this knowledge can make you hungry. Let’s go over how you can order things when you head to a restaurant or a local ramen chain.
First, what meal of the day are you planning to have?
19. Breakfast (朝ごはん)
20. Lunch (ランチ)
21. Dinner (ディナー)
Once you’ve decided what meal you’re having, we should learn some basic phrases around dining:
22. To Eat (食べます)
23. To Drink (飲みます)
24. Restaurant (レストラン)
OK, so you’re in the restaurant and seated in your table. Here are some useful Japanese phrases you can use.
25. Do you have…? (…がありますか？)
Pronunciation: …ga arimasu ka
26. What is this? (これは何ですか？)
Pronunciation: kore wa nan desu ka
27. Can I use my credit card? (クレジットカードは使えますか？ )
Pronunciation: kurejitto kaado wa tsukaemasu ka
28. What is this? (これは何ですか？)
Pronunciation: kore wa nan desu ka
29. Good Tasting. Tasty. (美味しい )
30. Bon Apetite! (いただきます)
Which of these basic Japanese words or phrases did you find most useful? We hope you can take them with you during your trip to Japan or your Japanese learning journey.
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