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Lesson Transcript

Jessi: Being Sorry in Japan. In the last lesson, we learned how to say thank you, and you're welcome!
Naomi: ありがとうございます!(Arigatō gozaimasu!)
Jessi: Which is "thank you" and...
Naomi: どういたしまして (Dō itashimashite)
Jessi: Which is "you're welcome."
Naomi: So Jessi?
Jessi: Yes.
Naomi: What are we going to learn in this lesson?
Jessi: In this lesson, you'll learn how to say "I'm sorry" in Japanese.
Naomi: You never know when you might need this phrase.
Jessi: That's true. You never know when you might run into someone, spill something, break something, forget about something. Well, we could go on. But it's good to know what to say in that kind of situation!
Naomi: You might feel more at ease!
Jessi: Okay. Let's begin.

Lesson conversation

(crowd of people)
A: イタタタ (Itatata)
あの…すみません。 (Ano... sumimasen.)
B: はい? (Hai?)
A: あし…。 (Ashi....)
B: あ、すみません!(A, sumimasen!)
English Host: Let’s listen to the conversation again slowly.
A: イタタタ (Itatata)
あの…すみません。 (Ano... sumimasen.)
B: はい? (Hai?)
A: あし…。 (Ashi....)
B: あ、すみません!(A, sumimasen!)
English Host: Now let’s listen to it with the translation.
(crowd of people)
A: イタタタ (Itatata)
Jessi: Ouch!
A: あの…すみません。 (Ano... sumimasen.)
Jessi: Umm...excuse me.
B: はい? (Hai?)
Jessi: Yes?
A: あし…。 (Ashi....)
Jessi: My foot...
B: あ、すみません!(A, sumimasen!)
Jessi: Oh, I'm sorry!
Jessi: Okay. So what happened here? It sounds like someone got their foot stepped on!
Naomi: Yes, poor guy. He said イタタタ (Itatata)!
Jessi: Which is like "ow ow ow"!
Naomi: Right. If someone is in pain, they might say いたい! or this variation, いたたた~ (Itatata~)
Jessi: If you are Japan long enough, or if you hang around Japanese people long enough, you might start to say this yourself actually.
Naomi: Right. And there are more variations. Like...いたっ!(Ita!) or イタタ! (Itata!)
Jessi: I've also heard いてっ (ite).
Naomi: That's the common one too.
Jessi: All right. So as the conversations get longer, we're going to hear more and more new words. So here, we're going to introduce some of the new words to you. We already went over one, let's go over some more. The next one is...?
Naomi: あの... (Ano...)
Jessi: Which is used to get someone's attention, and means "umm" or "uhh"...
Naomi: In the dialogue, the man used あの... (Ano...) to get the attention of the woman.
Jessi: Right. The woman didn't realize she was stepping on the man's foot.
Naomi: It's a good way to lead in to what you're going to say.
Jessi: Yeah, to kind of get someone's attention. If you just suddenly start talking, it might take the other person off guard, so this is good way to let them know you're about to say something. And the next word is...
Naomi: はい? (Hai?)
Jessi: This is the word はい (hai) said with rising intonation. はい (hai) is a super common word in Japanese..
Naomi: It's often translated as yes.
Jessi: And in a lot of situations, it's used to mean "yes", but a lot of the time people use it just to let the other person know they are listening.
Naomi: Like はい、はい、はい (Hai, hai, hai)
Jessi: So if you are saying something to someone in Japanese, and they go..
Naomi: はい、はい。(Hai, hai.)
Jessi: It just means they're listening to you and understanding what you're saying. That's all.
Naomi: That's right. If you say it with rising intonation, though, it's a question.
Jessi: So はい? (Hai?) would mean "yes?" or "I'm sorry?"
Naomi: If someone doesn't understand you, they might say はい? (Hai?)
Jessi: In the conversation, the man said "Excuse me..." and the women went はい? (Hai?)
Naomi: Like "Yes? What is it?"
Jessi: Okay, let's move onto the lesson focus.

Lesson focus

Jessi: Okay, in this lesson, you'll learn how to say "Excuse me" and "I'm sorry." You never know when you might have to excuse yourself or apologize for something, right?
Naomi: Right. The best part is you only have to learn one phrase for both.
Jessi: One phrase for both! That's right. There is one phrase that covers both of these meanings. That makes it easy! And that word is, Naomi...?
Naomi: すみません (sumimasen)
Jessi: すみません. One time slowly?
Naomi: (Slowly) すみません (sumimasen)
Jessi: And one more time regular speed.
Naomi: すみません (sumimasen)
Jessi: So this すみません (sumimasen) has TWO meanings - "Excuse me" AND "I'm sorry".
Naomi: We heard both meanings in the conversation.
Jessi: So the first meaning of すみません (sumimasen), "Excuse me", is used to get the attention of somebody, so that means you can use it to call out to a stranger or a waiter at a restaurant, things like that.
Naomi: The woman was stepping on the man's foot, so the man said あの...すみません... (Ano... sumimasen...)
Jessi: "Umm, excuse me..." like that.
Naomi: So that's the first meaning of すみません (sumimasen).
Jessi: The second meaning, again, is "I'm sorry".
Naomi: The woman realized that she was stepping on the man's foot, and she said あ!すみません!(A, sumimasen!)
Jessi: "Oh! I'm sorry!" This is really useful. If you make some kind of mistake, bump into someone, step on someone's foot like in the dialogue, it can all be handled with すみません (sumimasen).
Naomi: Please remember this phrase!
Jessi: Okay, let's try saying it with both meanings. The first one, Naomi? With the meaning of "Umm, excuse me?"
Naomi: あの…すみません。 (Ano... sumimasen.)
Jessi: あの…すみません。 (Ano... sumimasen.) Repeat after Naomi.
Naomi: あの…すみません。 (Ano... sumimasen.)
Jessi: Great, and now the second meaning - "I'm sorry"
Naomi: すみません。 (Sumimasen.)
Jessi: すみません。 (Sumimasen.) Repeat after Naomi.
Naomi: すみません。 (Sumimasen.)
Jessi: Great, sounding good! Okay, now let's try it in a situation! Hmm, what's a good one. Let's say you're making your way around a store and Naomi is blocking your way. You can't get past her. What would you say to get her attention? Here we go.
Naomi: ♪ ~(humming)
[Pause] あの…すみません (Ano... sumimasen.)
Naomi: Sorry for being in the way.
Jessi: Very nice! I think we can function in a lot of situations with this word.
Naomi: Me too! It helps to keep this word in the front of your brain. Thanks for listening, everyone.
Jessi: Until next time.

Lesson conversation

A: イタタタ (Itatata)
あの…すみません。 (Ano... sumimasen.)
B: はい? (Hai?)
A: あし…。 (Ashi....)
B: あ、すみません!(A, sumimasen!)