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Lesson Transcript

Do you know how to ask for someone over the phone? In this lesson, you are going to learn how to do that in Japanese. For example, when you call Mr. Tanaka’s office and someone else picks up the phone, what would you say? You can say たなかさんは、いますか。 (Tanak-san wa, imasu ka.) which literally means, is Mr. Tanaka there but it means, can I speak to Mr. Tanaka or may I speak to Mr. Tanaka. Let’s take a closer look at this sentence. Wa is a topic marking particle います (imasu) is a verb meaning to be or to exist and ka is a question marking particle. So たなかさんは、いますか。 (Tanak-san wa, imasu ka.) literally means is Mr. Tanaka there. Do you remember the sentence こうしゅうでんわは、ありますか。 (Kōshūdenwa wa, arimasu ka.) from the previous lesson? This sentence means, is there a Payphone? In this sentence, Arimasu is used to mean to be or to exist. Look at this sentence たなかさんは、いますか。 (Tanaka-san wa, imasu ka.) . In this sentence, Imasu is used to mean to be or to exist. Do you know what the difference is? The answer is, Imasu is used for animate things like people or animals, things that move and Arimasu is used for inanimate things like desk or Payphone. Let’s take a look at some examples. ハンバーガーは、ありますか。 (Hanbāgā wa, arimasu ka.) This means, do you have hamburgers? きょうだいは、いますか。 (Kyōdai wa, imasu ka.) This means, do you have any brothers and sisters? Let’s watch a skit that uses these expressions.
(Telephone rings)
はい、Innovative Language Learningです。 (Hai, Innovative Language Learning desu.)
ひろこさんは、いますか。 (Hiroko-san, imasu ka?)
ひろこは、スタジオです。(Hiroko wa, sutajio desu.)
じゃ、ゆういちさん、お願いします。(Jā, Yū-ichi-san, onegai shimasu.)
ぼくです。(Boku desu.)
うそ!ゆういちさん?!(Uso! Yūichi-san!?)
Here is Hiroko’s hint. In the skit, the lady said ゆういちさん、おねがいします。 (Yūichi-san, onegai shimasu.) to ask to talk to Yuchi. When おねがいします (onegai shimasu) is used in a sentence like noun plus おねがいします (onegai shimasu) it means someone or something please. See you next time.


Please to leave a comment.
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Friday at 6:30 pm
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Have you ever made a phone call in Japanese? Sounds a bit scary, doesn’t it 😶 At least now you know how to ask for the person you want to talk to😉

April 25th, 2017 at 1:34 pm
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> キッドさん、
Topic marker is always は, and が is the subject marker.
In the sentence ひろこさんはいますか。, you can omit は, but you cannot replace は with が.
Hope this helps!

> Bruno-san,
Those sentences are perfect. Well done!! 😆:thumbsup:
The second sentence can be used both on the phone and at the reception desk.

Natsuko (奈津子),
Team JapanesePod101.com

April 25th, 2017 at 1:55 am
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tanaka san ha imasuka
tanaka san wo onegaishimasu (this can be use on a phone call? or just for example at the reception desk of a company)

March 24th, 2017 at 3:16 pm
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Can I use が instead of は as a topic marking particle?
In the skit, I cannot hear the woman say the topic marking particle when she was saying ひろこさんはいますか?Whether she said that or she omitted it?
Thanks for the wonderful lessons by the way

July 25th, 2016 at 6:18 pm
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gary さん、
Thank you for your post.
Yuki 由紀
Team JapanesePod101.com

July 17th, 2016 at 1:40 am
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i love that the crows can be heard outside the studio in this video😄 transports me directly to my memories of past visits to tokyo😉

September 8th, 2015 at 5:26 pm
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Jaro san,
Konnichiwa. 😄
Onegaishimasu and kudasai mean “please” however, they sometimes take different sentence structures.
Something o onegaishimasu and something o kudasai have the same meaning which is “please give me something.”
However, when you want to make sentences including verbs, for example, “please tell me” and “please speak English”, you have to use verb te-form and “kudasai.”
Oshiete kudasai
Eigo o hanashite kudasai.
If you use “onegaishimasu” here, it doesn’t make any sense.
Yuki 由紀
Team JapanesePod101.com

September 6th, 2015 at 5:11 am
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what is the difference between onegaishimasu and kudasai?

August 24th, 2015 at 11:50 pm
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Firstly, the correct spelling konnichiwa is こんにちは because the ‘wa’ is a particle.
Same as this the ‘wa’ you mentioned in the first question is also ‘は.’
Regarding your second question, です is called copula verb and the equivalent meaning in English is ‘is’, ‘are’ and ‘am’ aslo follows adjectives and nouns.
However, あります is a verb so doesn’t need です.

Yuki 由紀
Team JapanesePod101.com

August 21st, 2015 at 6:10 pm
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I have a question. During the sketch part of the video, she sounds like saying “ひろこさん います
か” omitting the わ in the middle. Is it a common thing to omit it, or am I just not hearing it? 😅

Another question I have is this: I realized that we haven’t been using です at the end of the sentences anymore. Is it because あります and います are already verbs that mean “to exist”? 😇


April 8th, 2015 at 7:44 pm
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Kevin san,

Both “kudasai “and “onegaishimasu” are used when making a request for items. “Kudasai” follows the object and the particle “o”.
“Onegaishimasu” can be replaced with “kudasai” when you want an object. It sounds a little more polite than using ‘kudasai’.

However, there are some situations when only “onegaishimasu” is used.
First, when you are making a request for service. For example, when you ask a taxi driver to drive to Shinjuku station, you should say “shinjuku eki made onegaishimadsu”. In this case “Shinjuku eki made kudasai” doesn’t make any sense.

Second, when you are asking for someone on the phone. For example, you would like to talk to Tomoko on the phone. However, her father answers. In this case you have to say “Tomoko san wo onegaishimadsu”. Otherwise it sounds like a proposal of marriage, “do you allow me to marry Tomoko?”.

For making requests that involve action, the verb “te form” must be added to “kudasai”. “Onegaishimasu” cannot be used in this case. For example, “matte kudasai” which means “please wait” is a correct sentence. However, “matte onegaishimasdu” is never used.

I hope this makes sense to you and you will be able to use “onegaishimasu” and “kudasai” correctly from now on.
Yuki 由紀
Team JapanesePod101.com