Dialogue

Vocabulary

Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Naomi: ナオミです。 (Naomi desu.)
Peter: Peter here. Your Japanese is Great.
Naomi: ペラペラですね。 (Perapera desu ne.)
Peter: “You are fluent.” Now today, in addition to learning how to take a compliment on how good your Japanese is, we are going to cover two grammar points. Naomi-san, first grammar point.
Naomi: 始める (hajimeru) as in 食べ始める (tabe hajimeru)
Peter: To start eating.
Naomi: 勉強し始める (Benkyō shi hajimeru)
Peter: To start studying.
Naomi: The second one is なかなか~ない (nakanaka ~ nai) as in なかなか覚えられません (Nakanaka oboe raremasen).
Peter: When なかなか (nakanaka) is used with ない (nai) it means something doesn’t happen as expected or easily. More about this in the grammar section. Now Naomi-sensei, what else can you tell us about today’s conversation?
Naomi: 今日は、アキさんとキムさんの会話です。 (Kyō wa, akisan to Kimu-san no kaiwa desu.)
Peter: A conversation between Aki and Mr. Kim.
Naomi: アキさんは日本人です。キムさんは韓国人です。 (Akisan wa Nihon-jin desu. Kimu-san wa Kangoku-jin desu)
Peter: Aki is Japanese and Mr. Kim is Korean.
Naomi: Korea は韓国 (wa Kankoku). 韓国人は (Kangoku-jin wa) Korean.
Peter: Now, are they friends?
Naomi: たぶん (tabun) not sure.
Peter: So if you are not sure, you want to stick to polite Japanese and today’s conversation is in polite Japanese. Let’s take a listen.
Naomi: はい (hai)
DIALOGUE
アキ:日本語がとても上手ですね。日本に来られてどれくらいなんですか
Aki: Nihongo ga totemo jōzu desu ne. Nihon ni korarete dorekurai na n desu ka.。
キム:今、ちょうど3カ月です。
Kimu: Ima, chōdo sankagetsu desu.
アキ:えっ。たったの3カ月ですか。なんでそんなに日本語が流暢なんですか。
Aki: Ee. Tattano sankagetsu desu ka. Nande sonna ni Nihongo ga ryūchō na n desu ka.
キム:日本語は11歳から勉強し始めました。でも漢字はなかなか覚えられません
Kimu: Nihongo wa 11 sai kara benkyō shihajimemashita. Demo kanji wa nakanaka oboeraremasen.
アキ:韓国では漢字は使わないのですか。
Aki: Kankoku de wa kanji wa tsukawanai no desu ka.
キム:昔は使っていたのですが、今はほとんど使われていないんです。
Kimu: Mukashi wa tsukatte ita no desu ga, ima wa hotondo tsukawarete inai n desu.
アキ:そうなんですか。
Aki: Sōu na n desu ka!
もう一度お願いします。ゆっくりお願いします。
(Mōichido onegaishimasu. Yukkuri onegaishimasu.)
アキ:日本語がとても上手ですね。日本に来られてどれくらいなんですか
Aki: Nihongo ga totemo jōzu desu ne. Nihon ni korarete dorekurai na n desu ka.。
キム:今、ちょうど3カ月です。
Kimu: Ima, chōdo sankagetsu desu.
アキ:えっ。たったの3カ月ですか。なんでそんなに日本語が流暢なんですか。
Aki: Ee. Tattano sankagetsu desu ka. Nande sonna ni Nihongo ga ryūchō na n desu ka.
キム:日本語は11歳から勉強し始めました。でも漢字はなかなか覚えられません
Kimu: Nihongo wa 11 sai kara benkyō shihajimemashita. Demo kanji wa nakanaka oboeraremasen.
アキ:韓国では漢字は使わないのですか。
Aki: Kankoku de wa kanji wa tsukawanai no desu ka.
キム:昔は使っていたのですが、今はほとんど使われていないんです。
Kimu: Mukashi wa tsukatte ita no desu ga, ima wa hotondo tsukawarete inai n desu.
アキ:そうなんですか。
Aki: Sōu na n desu ka!
今度は英語が入ります。
(Kondo wa Eigo ga hairimasu.)
アキ:日本語がとても上手ですね。日本に来られてどれくらいなんですか
Aki: Nihongo ga totemo jōzu desu ne. Nihon ni korarete dorekurai na n desu ka.。
Aki: Your Japanese is very good. How long have you been in Japan?
キム:今、ちょうど3カ月です。
Kimu: Ima, chōdo sankagetsu desu.
Kim: It's been exactly three months now.
アキ:えっ。たったの3カ月ですか。なんでそんなに日本語が流暢なんですか。
Aki: Ee. Tattano sankagetsu desu ka. Nande sonna ni Nihongo ga ryūchō na n desu ka.
Aki: Really? Just three months? How are you so fluent in Japanese?
キム:日本語は11歳から勉強し始めました。でも漢字はなかなか覚えられません
Kimu: Nihongo wa 11 sai kara benkyō shihajimemashita. Demo kanji wa nakanaka oboeraremasen.
Kim: I began studying Japanese when I was 11. But I can't remember kanji very well.
アキ:韓国では漢字は使わないのですか。
Aki: Kankoku de wa kanji wa tsukawanai no desu ka.
Aki: You don't use kanji in South Korea?
キム:昔は使っていたのですが、今はほとんど使われていないんです。
Kimu: Mukashi wa tsukatte ita no desu ga, ima wa hotondo tsukawarete inai n desu.
Kim: We used to, but now we hardly ever use it.
アキ:そうなんですか。
Aki: Sōu na n desu ka!
Aki: Really?
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Peter: Naomi Sensei キムさんの日本語はすごいでしょ (Kimu-san no Nihongo wa sugoi desho)?
Naomi: すごい! 上手ですね。 (Sugoi! Jōzu desu ne.)
Peter: Kim san’s Japanese is something else.
Naomi: ネイティブみたい。日本人みたい。 (Neitibu mitai. Nihon-jin mitai.)
Peter: Like the Japanese person.
Naomi: Yeah that’s a compliment too like 日本人みたーい (Nihon-jin mitāi)!
Peter: 日本人 (Nihon-jin) being Japanese and みたい (mitai) means “like, seems like.”
Naomi: Or “sounds like.”
Peter: In this case.
Naomi: そうですね。ピーターさん、日本人みたい。 (Sō desu ne. Pītā-san, Nihon-jin mitai.)
Peter: いやいやいや。ナオミ先生はアメリカ人みたい? (Iyaiya iya. Naomi sensei wa Amerika-jin mitai?)
Naomi: ええ? そうですか? 日本語が? (Ē? Sō desu ka? Nihongo ga?)
Peter: そうです……あ! (Sō desu…… a!) No your English.
Naomi: Okay. So you are talking about English, not Japanese ね (ne)。
Peter: Yes. Okay let’s take a look at this compliment 日本語、お上手ですね (Nihongo, o jōzu desu ne)。 Now for foreign speakers of Japanese, this is a compliment you will come across quite a bit.
Naomi: Japanese people don’t usually expect foreigners to speak Japanese.
Peter: So if a foreigner does speak Japanese, they go over the top a bit.
Naomi: そうですね。 (Sō desu ne.) They are surprised and they are also happy.
Peter: Now if you hear this expression 日本語お上手ですね (Nihongo o jōzu desu ne). It doesn’t really mean it.
Naomi: It sometimes does mean.
Peter: Sometimes but most of the time, it’s a comment that’s kind of sprinkled into the conversation early as soon as I hear you say a word or two.
Naomi: ああ、そうかもしれないですね。 (Ā, sō kamo shirenai desu ne.)
Peter: So maybe we should look at that. Depending on where it comes in the conversation, we will tell you how sincere it is. If you meet a Japanese person, you say こんにちは (Konnichiwa). Peterです (desu). If someone says that to you.
Naomi: Oh it means oh wow! You are trying to speak Japanese.
Peter: Yes but if you just finished a speech in Japanese and they say to you.
Naomi: 日本語上手ですね。 (Nihongo jōzu desu ne.)
Peter: They are pretty sincere. So rather than the compliment itself, the timing of when it’s said has more to do with sincerity. Now let’s take a look at the literal meaning. First we have
Naomi: 日本語 (Nihongo)
Peter: Japanese.
Naomi: 上手 (jōzu)
Peter: Good at
Naomi: ですね (desu ne)
Peter: “Are” and here the 日本語 (Nihongo) the sentence ending particle is adding emphasis. So literally we have “Japanese, good at, are” and the emphasis there. You are good at Japanese is what this translates to.
Naomi: あの (ano) Instead of 日本語上手ですね (Nihongo jōzu desu ne). Sometimes people put honorific お (o) in front of 上手 (jōzu) and say 日本語お上手ですね (Nihongo o jōzudesu ne).
Peter: It’s the same meaning, just a little more polite. Now if we just dissect this a bit further, there is the が (ga) in there 日本語が (Nihongo ga) but when speaking, that gets dropped.
Naomi: そうですね。 (Sō desu ne.)
Peter: So the expression is really 日本語が上手ですね。 (Nihongo ga jōzu desu ne.)
Naomi: 本当は「あなたは日本語が上手ですね」。 (Hontō wa `anata wa Nihongo ga jōzu desu ne'.)
Peter: And here the が (ga) is not acting as a subject. Okay so let’s take a look at the vocab. What do we have here? Naomi-sensei お願いします (onegaishimasu).
VOCAB LIST
Naomi: 流暢 (ryūchō)
Peter: Fluent, flowing.
Naomi: りゅ・う・ちょ・う「流暢」 (Ryu u cho u `ryūchō')
Peter: Next
Naomi: 漢字 (Kanji)
Peter: Chinese characters.
Naomi: か・ん・じ「漢字」 (Ka n ji `kanji')
Peter: Next
Naomi: 覚える (oboeru)
Peter: To remember, to recollect, to memorize.
Naomi: お・ぼ・え・る「覚える」 (o bo e ru `oboeru')
Peter: Next
Naomi: 韓国 (Kankoku)
Peter: Korea.
Naomi: か・ん・こ・く「韓国」 (Ka n ko ku `Kankoku')
Peter: Naomi Sensei, let’s take a closer look at some of the words we looked at today. First word?
Naomi: 流暢 (ryūchō)
Peter: Fluent in regards to language skill. Flowing. That’s just a really difficult word.
Naomi: はい。とても難しいです。 (Hai. Totemo muzukashii desu.)
Peter: The pronunciation is difficult and the kanji is really difficult. Now the second kanji 暢(ちょう) (chō) is not actually a 常用漢字 (jōyōkanji), right, Naomi?
Naomi: No it’s not 常用漢字 (jōyōkanji).
Peter: Now the 常用漢字 (jōyōkanji) are the government approved kanji that someone with a high school degree should know.
Naomi: When non 常用漢字 (jōyōkanji) appears on the newspaper, they put ふりがな (Furigana) on that, that’s usually the case.
Peter: Because people are not expected to know it.
Naomi: はい。 (Hai.)
Peter: Now let’s take a look at how to use this word. Naomi Sensei, can you give us an example?
Naomi: 流暢な日本語ですね。 (Ryūchō na Nihongo desu ne.)
Peter: “Your Japanese is fluent, you speak fluent Japanese. You speak Japanese fluently.” So this word is a な (na) adjective. So notice how we place 流暢 (ryūchō) in front of 日本語 (Nihongo) and as the な (na) adjective we need a な (na). So we wind up with
Naomi: 流暢な日本語ですね。 (Ryūchō na Nihongo desu ne.)
Peter: So, in Naomi Sensei’s case, I can say 流暢な英語ですね (ryūchō na Eigo desu ne).
Naomi: まだまだです。 (Madamada desu.)
Peter: Yes. We are going to go over that a little bit in a bit but yeah let’s just do it now. Naomi Sensei’s response is the – one of the ideal responses to taking a compliment. What did you just say?
Naomi: まだ、まだ (mada, mada)
Peter: “Still, still” or “not yet”.
Naomi: まだまだです。 (Madamada desu.)
Peter: So I still have a way to go.
Naomi: 英語は難しいです。 (Eigo wa muzukashii desu.)
Peter: “English is difficult.” So this is the ideal way to respond to somebody complimenting you on your Japanese.
Naomi: Yeah that’s a very humble way.
Peter: Yeah and we want to be humble.
Naomi: ああ、本当? (Ā, hontō?)
Peter: Yeah.
Naomi: Are you a humble person, Peter?
Peter: Of course. So whenever anybody says if they say
Naomi: 流暢な日本語ですね。 (ryūchō na Nihongo desu ne.)
Peter: いえいえ、まだまだです。 (Ieie, madamada desu.)
Naomi: おお。 (Ō.)
Peter: No, no, still, still or いえ、そうですもありません。 (Ie, sō desu mo arimasen.)
Naomi: Not really?
Peter: Yeah that’s not the case. And I will always follow with まだまだです (madamada desu) means “still a long way to go”. Naomi Sensei 流暢な英語ですね (ryūchō na Eigo desu ne)。
Naomi: いやあ、まだまだです。 (Iyā, madamada desu.)
Peter: So it comes down to this, being humble is a very good way to respond to a compliment in Japanese.
Naomi: Especially to older people or someone in a higher position.
Peter: Now let’s stay on this topic of complimenting people and we are talking about the word 流暢 (ryūchō). Now this is a very sophisticated word.
Naomi: はい。 (Hai.)
Peter: So I think if you use it, people will be pretty impressed. You know a fact? I didn’t even see this word until we looked at the script.
Naomi: We usually say 上手ですね (jōzu desu ne).
Peter: You are good at.
Naomi: Or ペラペラですね (perapera desu ne).
Peter: ペラペラ (perapera). This is an onomatopoeia that is used in Japanese to describe fluency in a language.
Naomi: 例えば、「日本語ペラペラですね」。 (Tatoeba,`Nihongo perapera desu ne'.)
Peter: “You are fluent in Japanese.” So if you are talking in a causal situation, you know not even a casual situation, polite situation, this is most likely the word you will hear ペラペラ (perapera).
Naomi: People use it very often.
Peter: Okay, let’s take a look at today’s grammar point.

Lesson focus

Naomi: 今日のgrammarは「始める」 (Kyō no grammar wa `hajimeru')
Peter: A verb plus
Naomi: 始める (hajimeru)
Peter: Now 始める (hajimeru) is a verb meaning “to start.” Now in this case, we are using it with another verb. So it’s acting as an auxiliary. So we take the まず (mazu) stem of another verb and we attach 始める (hajimeru) and in doing so, we form a construction meaning to start something and that something is the verb that was attached, was the verb that was placed in front of the 始める (hajimeru) Let’s take a look at the verb 食べる (taberu) “to eat”. Now we need the ます (masu) stem. Naomi Sensei, give us the ます (masu) stem.
Naomi: 食べ (tabe)
Peter: So we drop the る (ru) and we have 食べ (tabe). Once we have the ます (masu) stem, we attach it to
Naomi: 始める (hajimeru)
Peter: To form
Naomi: 食べ始める (tabe hajimeru)
Peter: To start eating. 始める (hajimeru) means “to start” 食べ (tabe) is the stem, is the ます (masu) stem of 食べる (taberu) which means “to eat.” So “to start eating.” Let’s take another verb.
Naomi: 飲む (nomu)
Peter: To drink, ます (masu) stem is
Naomi: 飲み (nomi)
Peter: Attach it to
Naomi: 始める (hajimeru)
Peter: To get
Naomi: 飲み始める (nomi hajimeru)
Peter: To start drinking.
Naomi: What about する (suru)?
Peter: Yes of course, する (suru) is an irregular verb. There aren’t many in Japanese but there are a few. So how do we do what is the ます (masu) stem of ます (masu)?
Naomi: し (shi)
Peter: So, attach it to
Naomi: 始める (hajimeru)
Peter: To form
Naomi: し始める (shi hajimeru)
Peter: And I think a really good example of this is, “to study.”
Naomi: 勉強し始める (benkyō shi hajimeru)
Peter: “To start studying.” Can we have an example sentence?
Naomi: 昨日からジャパニーズポッド101ドットコムで勉強し始めました。 (Kinō kara japanīzupoddo 101 dottokomu de benkyō shi hajimemashita.)
Peter: “I started studying with JapanesePod101.com yesterday.” Okay let’s take a look at our second grammar point today.
Naomi: なかなか~ない (nakanaka ~ nai)
Peter: Now, this again means something doesn’t happen as expected or easily. So let’s have an example.
Naomi: 人の名前がなかなか覚えられない。 (Hito no namae ga nakanaka oboe rarenai.)
Peter: “I have trouble memorizing people’s names.” So that なかなか~ない (nakanaka ~ nai) “just can’t seem to.”
Naomi: 私はそうです。人の名前がなかなか覚えられません。 (Watashi wa sō desu. Hito no namae ga nakanaka oboe raremasen.)
Peter: 私もそうです。 (Watashi mo sōdesu.)
Naomi: 私の名前、知ってますか? ピーターさん。 (Watashi no namae, shittemasu ka? Pītā-san.)
Peter: もちろん、ナツコ。 (Mochiron, Natsuko.)
Naomi: あ! (A!)

Outro

Peter: すいませんでした。またくだらない冗談を言ってしまいました。 (Suimasen deshita. Mata kudaranai jōdan o itte shimaimashita.) That’s it. We are done for today. That’s going to do it for today.
Naomi: じゃあ、また! (Jā, mata!)

Grammar

Japanese Grammar Made Easy - Unlock This Lesson’s Grammar Guide

Easily master this lesson’s grammar points with in-depth explanations and examples. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Kanji

Review & Remember All Kanji from this Lesson

Get complete breakdowns, review with quizzes and download printable practice sheets! Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

47 Comments

Hide
Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
November 6th, 2007 at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Mina-san, how many times have you heard this compliment? How do you usually respond?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
April 13th, 2017 at 11:38 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Louis さん、

こんにちは。

奈津子先生に代わって、どういたしまして。

:smile:

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

Louis
March 27th, 2017 at 10:01 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Waw, thank you so much 奈津子!どうもありがとうございます。


I do have a bad habit of switching politeness levels mid sentence depending on what comes naturally. Thank you for correcting me! :grin:

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 27th, 2017 at 09:33 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Louis さん、

こんにちは。:smile:

そうでしたか。3日、遅かったですね。:sweat_smile:でも、いつか役に立ちますよ!

(Oh really; sorry. It was 3-day too late. However, I'm sure it'll come in handy some day!)


I corrected your sentences to be more consistent in formality/politeness level, and also to sound more natural.

Please check below and feel free to ask us questions if any! :wink:

このビデオを3日前に見るべきでした。飛行機で僕の隣に日本人の女の人が座っていました。私たちは、2時間くらい一緒にしゃべりました。彼女は、「日本語が上手ですね」を5度くらい言いました。私が何と言えばいいかわからなかったからです。ちょっと恥ずかしかったです。

(As you see, corrections are very few. You did great!!:sunglasses::thumbsup:)


Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

Louis
March 16th, 2017 at 07:10 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

このビデオを3日前に見るべきでした。飛行機で僕の隣に日本人女の人が座っていた。私たちは、2時間くらい一緒にしゃべました。彼女は、「日本語が上手ですね」を5度くらい言いました。何言うことがわからなかったです。ちょっと恥ずかしかったです。


I should have watched this video 3 days ago. On the plane, a Japanese woman was sitting next to me. We spoke together for about 2 hours. She said "your Japanese is very good" about 5 times. I didn't know what to say. It was a bit embarrassing.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
September 22nd, 2016 at 02:42 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Victor-san,

konnichiwa!


Those are all different forms/tense.

使われていない => Negative form of non-past (i.e. present) continuous tense

使っていた => Affirmative form of past continuous tense

使わない => Negative form of simple non-past tense.


Hope this helps.


Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

Victor
September 11th, 2016 at 10:07 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi,

I have a question about the multiple variants of the word 使う in this lesson:


昔は使っていたのですが、今はほとんど使われていないんです


1. 使われていない

2. 使っていた


3. in the earlier part of this lesson, the speaker use the variant 使わない


Could someone please explain the relationship among these different forms?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 19th, 2015 at 03:38 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

KevinKa さん、

こんにちは。:smile:

The passive form of 来る and one of honorific forms of 来る are the same.

According to the context here, that is an honorific expression.

The te-form indicates a time sequence.

That means ‘after coming to Japan how long have you lived here? (politely asking)’

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

KevinKa
October 15th, 2015 at 10:31 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

For the sentence にほんにこられてどれくらいな んですか。I read Jessi's comments on the passive form, but wonder why こられて is in the -te form?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
April 9th, 2015 at 06:14 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Melissa san,

Konnichiwa.

Douitashimashite. You are welcome.

That is a common mistake. :wink:

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

Melissa
April 7th, 2015 at 11:04 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Oh, really? I hadn't paid attention to that yet. Great thanks, I won't make that mistake again! :sweat_smile: