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Lesson Transcript

Peter: Learn Japanese phrases your teacher will never teach you. Hi everyone!
Naomi: Welcome back to JapanesePod101.com
Peter: Okay, I’m telling you right now. This lesson is really fun.
Naomi: : Because we’ll go over some phrases that your teacher might not teach you.
Peter: Now, we don’t want you to get the wrong idea. You’re not gonna find any swear words or really bad words or anything like that here.
Naomi: Just some Japanese phrases that are just a little too slangy to be introduced in the regular lesson.
Peter: Now, These are words, though, that you’ll encounter a lot in Japanese.
Naomi: A lot. In Japan, you’d probably hear them every day.
Peter: They’re really that common.
Naomi: So, if you’re ready to learn some fun Japanese, let’s get started.
Peter: The first phrase we’ll go over is:
- Great, awesome = "sugoi"
Naomi: Sugoi!
Peter: Now, this means “awesome, great.” But I think one of the best translations is just “wow.”
Naomi: Sugoi!
Peter: You’ll hear this word all the time.
Naomi: Right. When people hear or see something interesting or unusual, usually the first reaction would be, sugoi!
Peter: Like, “Hey, Naomi-sensei, I just won the Lotto!”
Naomi: Sugoi!
Naomi: Just like that!
Peter: That’s all I get for winning the Lotto? Naomi-sensi, Come on, It would be a nice long one, like, a nice prolonged sugooooi!
Naomi: You’re right. Some people prolong the second syllable, "go", like: sugoooi!
Peter: And sometimes people even use it if there’s nothing really amazing about what they just heard.
Naomi: It just becomes a habit to say it.
Peter: So, You can tell by the tone of their voice. Naomi-sensei, I just won the lottery!
Naomi: Aa, sugoi.
Peter: So, if they don’t sound impressed, they probably aren’t.
Naomi: Right.
Peter: Next we have:
- Stupid, idiot, or fool = "Baka"
Peter: Now, be very careful who you say this to.
Naomi: Right.
Peter: In fact, it might be better to not use it at all, but it’s a good one to know anyway.
Depending on the situation and how it’s used, this word can come off as a strong insult or a playful joke.
Naomi: That’s right. It all depends on how the person uses it.
Peter: If you’re really angry and you call someone...
Naomi: "baka"
Peter: ...that’s pretty harsh. Now if you’re just joking around with your friend and you use it, it comes off as playful. Now, if you watch anime, this is something you’ll come across again and again.
Naomi: I agree.
Peter: Next we have:
- Lie = "uso"
Naomi: "Uso"
Peter: ...literally means “lie,” as in, “to tell a lie.” But when used as an exclamation like...
Naomi: "Uso!"
Peter: ...it’s pretty close to saying something like “No way!,” or “You’re kidding!”
Naomi: Right. Basically it’s used when you’re really surprised or shocked by something.
Peter: Like, you just can’t believe it.
Naomi: But in most cases, you don’t actually think that what the person is saying is a lie.
Peter: So if someone responds to something you say with "uso!" don’t worry, they’re not actually calling you a liar or anything like that. Okay, now on to some slang used by young people. Just note that all these phrases are very, very informal. So, you want to be a little careful when using them, although these phrases may fade out after some time because what young people are saying always is changing. But for now they should be good. So just be a little careful.
Naomi: The first one is..."cho"
Peter: This is a prefix you can attach to an adjective when you really want to emphasize it.
Naomi: like "cho baka".
Naomi: As we learned "baka" means stupid, so "cho baka" means something like “really stupid,” or “so foolish.
Peter: Complete idiot,” or.. it could get strong depending on if you’re using is playfully, or in a context where it could be interpreted strong. So, it’s kind of used like English “so,” kind of like “so stupid.”
Naomi: Or “super stupid.”
Peter: Yes. So that’s what this prefix "cho" does. Long vowel. "Cho".
Naomi: Another slangy word is "yabai".
Peter: Now, the literal meaning of
Naomi: "yabai"
Peter: ...is “risky” or “chancy,” but I think it’s strayed a bit away from its original meaning. "yabai" is interesting because it can be both good and bad.
Naomi: That’ true, it all depends on the context. So for example, if you say “That movie was "yabai",” it could mean that it was "yabai" in a good way, like it was really cool or something. Or, it could be "yabai" in a bad way, maybe acting was bad or something.
Peter: It’s hard to know unless the person expands on it more.
Naomi: "yabai" is also used as an exclamation.
Peter: Kind of like “Oh no!” or “Oh shoot!”
Naomi: Right. "Yabai!" If you’ve just realized something bad..
Peter: "Yabai!" I overslept! Or something like that.
Naomi: Yeah. That’s a "cho yabai" situation, isn’t it!?
Peter: Okay, next is
Naomi: "maji"
Peter: "Maji" is like "cho" in that it comes before words to emphasize them.
Naomi: You can combine it with the word we just learned and create "maji yabai", for example.
Peter: Yeah, that’s right. Whether it’s good or bad, we don’t know, but it’s pretty.. whatever way it is.
Naomi: Right. But "maji" is also used like "maji?" which is a slangy way to say “really?”
Peter: It’s based off the word "majime", which is “serious,” so its kind of like “seriously”?
Naomi: Sou desu ne. Right. “Are you serious?”
Peter: Interesting lesson! Okay, now we’re going to go over some words that are called:
Naomi: "Aizuchi".
Peter: "Aizuchi" are words that you say in response to someone who is talking to show that you are listening and understand what the person is saying. "Aizuchi" in Japanese are interesting because they are used really frequently. We have some equivalents in English such as “Uh huh,” “mm-hmm,” and “okay,” but we don’t use them nearly as much.
Naomi: Some people might use them after almost every sentence.
Peter: Saying nothing and just listening could be considered strange. So, what are some common "aizuchi"?
Naomi: If you agree with the person, you can say "sou sou".
Peter: Or even, "sou sou sou sou sou".
Naomi: That’s right. A lot of people use it over and over.
Peter: I remember it sounded funny at first, hearing all these "sou"s in a row, but I’m kind of used to hearing it.
Naomi: You could also use "un", as in "un un". This is used more to show that you’re just listening.
Peter: It’s kind of a metric of how long you’ve been in Japan. If you’re listening to someone speak and you start going "un un un", you’ve probably been here between 1-2 years. You start to subconsciously or unconsciously add in "aizuchi". Now, if you’re impressed by what someone says, you can say:
Naomi: "he~"
Peter: You can use use:
Naomi: "he~"
Peter: ...to show you’re impressed, or that you didn’t know something.
Naomi: It’s used together a lot with "sugoi", so you can get "he~ sugoi!".
Peter: You definitely hear that one a lot. There was even a popular quiz show that introduced interesting facts, and the panelists rated them on how interesting they were by pressing a "he~" button.
Naomi: I remember that show.
Peter: If you thought it was interesting, you would give it a lot of "he~"s.
Peter: So, overall what we introduced today is frequently used slang, but not appropriate for the classroom, and not appropriate for every situation. So be aware of them, but be cautious when using them, because using them in the wrong situation could create a couple of issues.
Naomi: Right.
Peter: At this stage, absorb, and recognize, and acknowledge that you know what’s going on.
Naomi: See you!

56 Comments

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JapanesePod101.com Verified
September 28th, 2009 at 06:30 PM
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Hi everyone! So, this lesson actually has a lot more than 5 phrases... :mrgreen: There were just too many good slangy words and phrases that we wanted to share! :nihon:

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 17th, 2016 at 05:50 PM
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Raichu san,

Konnichiwa.

I see.:smile:

I didn’t know that Japanese and Greek have the similar the expression.

Thank you for sharing that.

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 13th, 2016 at 08:18 AM
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Michel Sowa san, Graziela Heidgen san, Merry san

konnichiwa.

Thank you for your positive feedback.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask us.:smile:

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

Merry
October 9th, 2016 at 06:24 AM
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:thumbsup:very nice lesson arigato

Raichu
October 7th, 2016 at 08:03 AM
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I was once talking with some Japanese colleagues and when someone said something surprising, I said "へ〜!" The two Japanese ladies giggled. I think that they were amused that I could say that, but actually I am from a Greek background and we have a similar expression so I almost didn't have to think about getting used to it in Japanese.


This lesson really was fun to listen to so thanks for posting it again. I do hear these expressions in anime/manga. Obviously a lot of slang is not suitable for the office but I have heard "soo soo" and sometimes even "sugoi" between Japanese colleagues at work.

Graziela Heidgen
October 7th, 2016 at 04:48 AM
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:thumbsup:

Michel
October 7th, 2016 at 01:13 AM
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Very nice podcast!!

Really like it, thank you very much.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
September 30th, 2015 at 08:32 PM
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Wael san,

Konnichiwa.

Yes, you can just copy what the other person said.

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

Wael
September 26th, 2015 at 07:31 PM
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1)すきなのはJ-pop かな。

[J-popですか]。ぶくはよくしらないですけど。

2)すみません、この電車は花井駅に止まりますか。

[花井駅ですか]?。止まりません、次の普通電車です。

[1] when use 「~~ですか。」by repeat something that just has been said?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 5th, 2015 at 09:14 PM
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Javier-san,

こんにちは。


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Both よし and そうか are frequently used in daily conversation.:sunglasses::thumbsup:

However, please be careful and also note that both can be used only in casual conversation and

if you use them in a wrong timing, you could be rude.

Actually, I personally had a conversation with my foreign friend who used よし to me and I thought

it was rude. Both expressions can sound authoritative tone if used wrongly, so there are many cases

and occasions that you shouldn't use them. Please understand the exact meaning and sense

of those two expressions before you actually use them.:innocent:


Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

Javier
June 1st, 2015 at 12:11 AM
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みなさん、こんいちは!

Mina-san, kon'nichiwa!

Hola a todos!


I would add よし (Yoshi), pronounced "Yosh", which –i think– means "ok" or "all right" (as if you are ready to do something).

Yo añadiría よし (Yoshi), pronunciado "Yosh", que –creo– significa "ok" o "de acuerdo" (en el sentido de estar dispuesto a hacer algo).


Also, as another Aizuchi: そうか (souka), which means "really?" or "I see…".

Además, como otro Aizuchi más: そうか (souka), que significa "ah sí?" o "ya veo…".


ありがとうございました!またね!

Arigatougozaimashita! See you!

Thank you! Nos vemos!