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Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi everyone! アリッシャです! Alisha here!
Natsuko: こんにちは!ナツコです!Hi everyone, I'm Natsuko.
Alisha: Welcome to Lower Beginner Season 1, Lesson 24 - Calling a Plumber in Japan.
Natsuko: In the previous lesson, Emily had a plumbing problem.
Alisha: That’s right. It seems the caretaker of her building will call the repair shop. So, we’ll find out what happened after that. What are we going to learn in this lesson?
Natsuko: We’ll learn how to introduce a topic of a conversation, and how to tell someone a telephone number.
Alisha: And where does this lesson’s dialog take place?
Natsuko: Over the phone - someone from the repair shop calls Emily.
Alisha: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Natsuko: Ah, so no one answered the phone. The repair person left the message on an answering machine.
Alisha: Leaving a message on the phone is not one of my favourite things.
Natsuko: I know! I always get nervous. On formal occasions like this, hanging up the phone with proper polite expression is fairly important.
Alisha: But I didn’t hear the repair person say thank you in Japanese.
Natsuko: He actually used a different polite expression しつれいします which is close to “excuse me, please”. It’s often used to say good bye, and the idea behind it is “please forgive my rudeness to disappear from your sight”.
Alisha: Wow, that’s very interesting! Can we use that also in conversation in person?
Natsuko: Yes, you can. It’s very polite, so you might hear it a lot if you stay in a hotel, for example.
Alisha: I see. We might hear that often and we can use it in different situations. Okay, let’s move on to vocab.
Alisha: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson. Natsuko, what do we have for this lesson?
Natsuko: もしもし This is the most common expression for answering the phone. You can use this when you can’t hear the other side on the phone as well.
Alisha: So, it’s almost equivalent to the English “Hello?”
Natsuko: That’s right. When Emily called the caretaker, she also started her conversation with this: もしもし、401ごうしつのエミリー・マーティンです。
Alisha: もしもし sounds …funny.
Natsuko: (笑) You’re not the only person who thinks so! When you say or hear もしもし, both し might sound like the hissing sound of snakes. SHhhh.
Alisha: Ah, rather than mo-shi-mo-shi. Good to know! Okay, what do we have next?
Natsuko: Now we’ll learn how to tell someone a phone number. We add “no” between city code, area code and personal numbers; city code usually has 2-4 digits, then the area code is with 3 or 4 digits, and personal numbers are 4 digits.
Alisha: In the dialog, the repair person said…
Natsuko: でんわばんごうは、89-1234-567です。
Alisha: Is it the same for mobile numbers?
Natsuko: Yes. This の separates a chunk of numbers, so the listener can understand easily. Speaking of understanding easily, we usually use よん for four and なな for seven to avoid confusion or misunderstanding the numbers.
Alisha: I see! Listeners, try saying your number in Japanese! Now, let’s move onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Alisha: In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to introduce a topic of a conversation.
Natsuko: When you make a phone call, you have to explain the purpose of the call. You can tell that using the phrase [topic]のことで which means “about [topic]”.
Alisha: In the dialog, the repair person introduced the topic saying…
Natsuko: トイレ修理のことで電話しました。
Alisha: I’m calling about the toilet repair.
Natsuko: You can use this [topic]のことで in many different situations, like 日本語のことで、質問があります。
Alisha: I have a question about Japanese. That’s a useful line!
Natsuko: I thought so. Also, 予約のことで、連絡しました。
Alisha: “I’m contacting you about a reservation.” This can be used by either speaker, the person who makes the reservation or the company, hotel or restaurant that received the reservation who need to confirm something.
Natsuko: That’s right. So, the main sentence can be both past tense and non-past tense, but past tense is often used when you’re calling someone, visiting someone or contacting someone.
Alisha: Okay, let’s practice those sentences. Listeners, please repeat after Natsuko. First, “I have a question about Japanese”.
Natsuko: 日本語のことで、質問があります。
Alisha: [wait 5 sec.] Now, “I’m contacting you about a reservation”.
Natsuko: 予約のことで、連絡しました。
Alisha: [wait 5 sec.] How did it go? Now listeners, it’s your turn to start; try saying “I have a question about Japanese”.
Natsuko: [wait 5 sec.] 日本語のことで、質問があります。
Alisha: Now say “I’m contacting you about a reservation”.
Natsuko: [wait 5 sec.] 予約のことで、連絡しました。
Alisha: Listeners, check the lesson notes for more examples on this grammar point.


Alisha: Okay everyone. That’s about all we have time for this lesson! See you next time.
Natsuko: じゃ、また。


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