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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.


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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😉

September 15th, 2017 at 12:44 am
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Thank you for your posting.
Yes you can But since parents of your friend are someone who may be older than you, It’s better asking them ”XXX さんは、おられますか?” It’s more polite😉


Team JapanesePod101.com

September 14th, 2017 at 9:15 am
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Can I use 田中さん は います か if for example I arrive at a friend house and I ask his parents for him/her?

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