Japanese Lesson – Greetings

Greetings and farewells are a very important part of communication. It is the first thing you do when you meet someone and the last thing you say when you leave. In this lesson we will learn some basic greetings and farewells in Japanese.

 

vocab

good morning おはようございます ohayou gozaimasu
good afternoon こんにちは konnichiha
good evening こんばんは konbanha
goodbye さようなら sayounara
see you later またね mata ne
how are you? 元気ですか? genki desuka
I am fine 元気です。 genki desu

 

 

Sample sentences

Tom: おはようございます!

Akira: おはようございます!

 

Tom: Good morning!

Akira: Good morning!

 

This is a very standard morning greeting. Japanese people use this greeting until about noon. In the afternoon, until about sunset, they use こんにちは and after sunset they use こんばんは. The way each phrase is used, is exactly the same as おはようございます。

 

 

Tom: さようなら!

Akira: またね!

 

These are fairly standard farewells. The difference between the two is a matter of politeness and informality. じゃまたね is informal and used more with friends while さようなら is more formal and business and other formal situations, although can also be used with friends.

 

Tom: こんにちは

Akira: こんにちは

Tom: 元気ですか?

Akira: 元気です。

 

Tom: Good afternoon.

Akira: Good afternoon.

Tom: How are you?

Akira: I’m fine.

 

 

So now we see the next stage in greeting, 元気ですか. 元気 in and of itself can mean physically well or energetic, so the exact translation is something close “are you energetic?” But, we can roughly translate it to “how are you?” The response is just げんきです which literally means, “is energetic” but for our purposes we will translate it as “I’m fine.”

There are two other elements to this dialog that you should pay attention to: です and か.

です is a copula that links the predicate of a sentence with its subject and can be translated as “to be” or “is.” です, much like “is” in English, is very common in Japanese and you will see it a lot in the next several lessons.

か is a particle. A particle is a word that is used to modify a noun, adjective, verb or sentence. か is a particle that modifies a sentence by turning it into a question. There are many Japanese particles and we will discuss more of them in the coming lessons.

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