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Lesson Transcript

Naomi: なおみです!(Naomi desu!)
Katherine: Kat here! If you’re going to say it in Japanese you better say right. Hi,everyone and welcome to the Newbie Series Season 5, Lesson 1.
Naomi: And welcome to the Newbie Series, Kat-san!
Katherine: はい!みなさん、こんにちは。キャットです。よろしくお願いします。(Hai! Mina-san, kon’nichiwa. Kyatto desu. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.) So I'll be the English host on the Newbie series with Naomi-sensei, so…
Kat &Naomi: よろしくお願いします! (Yoroshiku onegai shimasu!)
Naomi: There's a bonus track introducing Kat, so please listen to the bonus track.
Kat: Thank you!
Naomi: So Kat-san, could you please explain a little bit about this series for our listeners?
Katherine: Sure. In this Newbie series, we'll be focusing primarily on informal speech! So this series is geared towards those who have already completed the previous Newbie series.
Naomi: そうですね。(Sō desu ne.) That's right. So,we will be making lots of references to things that we learned in other series, so we recommend that you listen to those first!
では (dewa), what are we going to learn in this lesson?
Kat: In this lesson we're going to learn about formal greeting and informal greeting.
Naomi: And where does this conversation take place and who is it between?
Kat: The conversation takes place at school, and it's between Madoka, Kent, and their teacher, Ms. Kurokawa.
Naomi: まどかさん、ケントさん、それから黒川先生ですね。(Madoka-san, Kento-san, sorekara Kurokawa-sensei desu ne.) And what about the politeness level?
Kat: Well, we're actually going to hear both formal and informal Japanese in this conversation, but we'd like you to particularly listen to how Madoka corrects Kent's Japanese.
Naomi: それでは、(Soredewa,)
Kat: Let's listen to the conversation.
黒川先生 (Kurokawa-sensei):おはよう、赤木さん、赤木くん。 (Ohayō, Akagi-san, Akagi-kun.)
まどか (Madoka):おはようございます。(Ohayō gozaimasu.)
ケント (Kento):おはよう、黒川先生。(Ohayō, Kurokawa-sensei.)
まどか (Madoka):ケント、「ございます」。(Kento, "gozaimasu".)
ケント (Kento):ああ、ごめん、先生。おはようございます。(Ā, gomen, sensei. Ohayō gozaimasu.)
まどか (Madoka):ケント、ケント、「すみません」。(Kento, Kento, "sumimasen”.)
もう一度、お願いします。今度はゆっくりお願いします。(Mō ichido, onegai shimasu. Kondo wa yukkuri onegai shimasu.)
黒川先生 (Kurokawa-sensei):おはよう、赤木さん、赤木くん。 (Ohayō, Akagi-san, Akagi-kun.)
まどか (Madoka):おはようございます。(Ohayō gozaimasu.)
ケント (Kento):おはよう、黒川先生。(Ohayō, Kurokawa-sensei.)
まどか (Madoka):ケント、「ございます」。(Kento, "gozaimasu".)
ケント (Kento):ああ、ごめん、先生。おはようございます。(Ā, gomen, sensei. Ohayō gozaimasu.)
まどか (Madoka):ケント、ケント、「すみません」。(Kento, Kento, "sumimasen”.)
今度は英語が入ります。(Kondo wa Eigo ga hairimasu.)
黒川先生 (Kurokawa-sensei):おはよう、赤木さん、赤木くん。(Ohayō, Akagi-san, Akagi-kun.)
Kat: Good morning, Miss Akagi, Mr. Akagi.
まどか (Madoka):おはようございます。(Ohayō gozaimasu.)
Kat: Good morning.
ケント (Kento):おはよう、黒川先生。(Ohayō, Kurokawa-sensei.)
Kat: 'Morning, Ms. Kurokawa.
まどか (Madoka):ケント、「ございます」。(Kento, "gozaimasu".)
Kat: Kent, it's "Good morning."
ケント (Kento):ああ、ごめん、先生。おはようございます。(Ā, gomen, sensei. Ohayō gozaimasu.)
Kat: Ohh, sorry, Ms. Kurokawa. Good morning.
まどか (Madoka):ケント、ケント、「すみません」。(Kento, Kento, "sumimasen”.)
Kat: Kent, Kent, "I'm sorry."
Kat: Naomi-sensei, it sounds like Kent is having a lot of trouble with his Japanese.
Naomi: Ah,Yeah, I know what you mean... his Japanese is not bad at all - actually his Japanese is pretty good! - but it looks like he's having trouble with the politeness levels.
Kat: Well he grew up abroad, didn't he?
Naomi: うん、たぶんね。(Un, tabun ne.) Maybe.
Kat: Maybe he's just not used to speaking Japanese in all of these different kinds of situations. Speaking to a teacher is a lot different from speaking to your friends or family.
Naomi: そうね、そうですね。(Sō ne, sō desu ne.) That's right. Did you ever experience something similar when you were learning Japanese?
Kat: Yes, when I was on study abroad I had a really hard time remembering to use polite forms all the way to the end of a conversation.
Naomi: あ〜、ね。(Ā, ne.)
Kat: So I would start off OK but then if the conversation got interesting and I got like into the conversation, I would forget that I was speaking to you know a teacher or someone higher than me socially, I would start using plain forms and slang, and then have to stick です (desu) on the very end of a really long sentence to try and save the situation!
Naomi: I see! So it’s like… これおいしい!・・です。(Kore oishii! …desu.)
Kat: そうそうそう。(Sō sō sō.) 
Naomi: It's delicious!
Kat: です。(Desu.)
Naomi: I see. あ、でもね。(A, demo ne.) But I think Japanese kids often do the same thing.
Kat: Ah, and then they get told by their parents.「です」でしょう! (“Desu” deshō!)
Naomi: そうそうそう (sō sō sō), right! So don't feel bad!
Kat: OK!
Kat: OK, so now let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Naomi: おはよう (ohayō) [natural native speed]
Kat: Good morning (informally)
Naomi: おはよう (ohayō) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Naomi: おはよう (ohayō) [natural native speed]
Kat: And the next phrase is
Naomi: おはようございます (ohayō gozaimasu) [natural native speed]
Kat: Good morning (formal)
Naomi: おはようございます (ohayō gozaimasu) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Naomi: おはようございます (ohayō gozaimasu) [natural native speed]
Kat: OK, and next.
Naomi: 先生 (sensei) [natural native speed]
Kat: teacher
Naomi: 先生 (sensei) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Naomi: 先生 (sensei) [natural native speed]
Kat: OK, next.
Naomi: ごめん (gomen) [natural native speed]
Kat: sorry
Naomi: ごめん (gomen) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Naomi: ごめん (gomen) [natural native speed]
Kat: And the next phrase is
Naomi: ごめんなさい (gomen nasai) [natural native speed]
Kat: I'm sorry
Naomi: ごめんなさい (gomen nasai) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Naomi: ごめんなさい (gomen nasai) [natural native speed]
Kat: Next word is
Naomi: すみません (sumimasen) [natural native speed]
Kat: excuse me, I'm sorry, thank you
Naomi: すみません (sumimasen) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Naomi: すみません (sumimasen) [natural native speed]
Kat: So,now, let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Naomi: The first word, we will look at is さん (san).
Kat: What's this, Naomi-sensei?
Naomi: さん (san) is a polite suffix that goes after a person's name. It's used to show respect and it's somewhat similar to "Mr." or "Mrs." in English.
Kat: Now, if you’ve listened to the previous Newbie series, you probably recognize さん (san) and the other name suffixes we'll cover in this lesson.
Naomi: Right, they showed up a lot in the other Newbie series so this may be a review for some of you.
Kat: Right, so how was さん (san) used in this dialogue?
Naomi: Ms. Kurokawa called Madoka, 赤木さん (Akagi-san). She used her last name, 赤木 (Akagi), plus さん (san).
Kat: So さん (san) can be used after someone's last name AND first name.
Naomi: Right. Like キャットさん (Kyatto-san). So キャット (Kyatto) is your first name, right?
Kat: Of course, yes, so なおみさん (Naomi-san).
Naomi: そうです。(Sō desu.)
Kat: So in reverse, what did Ms. Kurokawa call Kent?
Naomi: 赤木くん (Akagi-kun)
Kat: So his last name 赤木 (Akagi) plus the name suffix くん (kun).
Naomi: はい。(Hai.)
Kat: This is our next vocabulary word.
Naomi: くん (kun) is a name suffix used towards someone with a lower status than yourself. It's usually used towards boys and young men.
Kat: Usually, meaning... not always?
Naomi: あ、そうですね。(A, sō desu ne.) Right...there are some cases where it can be used towards women. For example, in business setting, younger female employees may be addressed using くん (kun).
Kat: Ah I see! But it's safe to say that *usually*, くん (kun) is used for males, right?
Naomi: そうですね。(Sō desu ne.) Right!
Kat: And what's the last word?
Naomi: 先生 (sensei), as in 黒川先生 (Kurokawa-sensei).
Kat: 先生 (sensei) means "teacher", or "professor". It also works as a name suffix the same way that さん (san) and くん (kun) do. When you use 先生 (sensei) to address someone, though, it's not only limited to people who are actually teachers, is it?
Naomi: あ〜、そうですね。(Ā, sō desu ne.) Good point! 先生 (sensei) is used with doctors, lawyers, and other authority figures.
Kat: Ah, I see. Also, you don't really need to use someone's name when you use 先生 (sensei), do you? It can be used as a stand-alone title, like 先生、おはようございます (sensei, ohayō gozaimasu)!
Naomi: そうですね。(Sō desu ne.) That's another good point! In fact, it's really common for students to refer only to their teachers as 先生 (sensei).「先生、こんにちは!」(“Sensei, Kon’nichiwa!) Kent addressed the teacher as just 先生 (sensei) in the dialogue when he said... ああ、ごめん、先生。(Ā, gomen, sensei.)

Lesson focus

Kat: Now, in this lesson, we'll take a look at some important set phrases in Japanese and see how they're different in formal and informal Japanese. So, as you probably already know, Japanese has different levels of politeness.
Naomi: Right, and it's very important to know the differences.
Kat: Up until now in the Newbie lessons, we have focused only on formal Japanese - which means Japanese that uses です (desu) and ます (masu) forms. The polite forms are of course crucial to know, but if you want to have a conversation with your friends... what would happen if you spoke like this, Naomi-sensei?
Naomi: Well... your friends would probably tell you that you sound too formal.
Kat: All right, I see. Yes, I used to have that happen to me when I was first learning, as well.
Naomi: 'Why are you being so formal?!'
Kat: Yeah, exactly, like 'What's wrong? Have we done something to offend you?!'
Naomi: そうそうそう。(Sō sō sō.) 'You wanna keep the distance?!'
Kat: Right! Exactly! Because even if your Japanese is textbook-correct, you have to kind of fit it to the situation that you're in. So that's why it's important for us to study casual Japanese.
Naomi: はい。(Hai.) So that's why, in this series, we'll be introducing you to more informal Japanese.
Kat: And the great thing is, if you've been listening to the previous Newbie lessons, you most likely already know the polite forms of the phrases we're going to introduce to you!
Naomi: そうですね。(Sō desu ne.) So you can compare those two speeches.
Kat: So what's the first one we'll be going over?
Naomi: The first one is ごめんなさい (gomen nasai).
Kat: This means "I'm sorry", and this is the formal version. This is what you -should- use with teachers and elders and people like that... but what did Kent actually say in the dialogue to his teacher?
Naomi: ごめん (gomen)
Kat: This is ごめんなさい (gomen nasai) without the なさい (nasai). ごめん (gomen), it's really informal, like "Sorry, my bad" kind of thing.
Naomi: そうそうそう。(Sō sō sō.) And Madoka had to remind him not to speak casually to the teacher.
Kat: That's right, what did she tell him to say instead of ごめん (gomen)?
Naomi: すみません (sumimasen)
Kat: すみません。(Sumimasen.) This also means "I'm sorry", and is also used to mean "Excuse me" a lot, like when you bang into someone in the station it'll be すみません (sumimasen).
Naomi: そうですね。(Sō desu ne.) A lot of people feel that it is more formal than ごめんなさい (gomen nasai).
Kat: Yeah, that’s right. For me ごめんなさい (gomen nasai) implies a kind of heartfelt connection when you apologize, whereas すみません (sumimasen) is more detached, which kind of admitting you were wrong without being emotional about it.
Naomi: そうね。(Sō ne.) So we don't recommend that you use ごめんなさい (gomen nasai) in a business situation.
Kat: That's right.
Kat: What's the next phrase?
Naomi: おはようございます (ohayō gozaimasu)
Kat: Good morning!
Naomi: This is the formal way to say good morning.
Kat: Right - this phrase technically has two parts. おはよう (ohayō) plus ございます (gozaimasu). If we wanted to say this in a casual way, how would we go about that, Naomi-sensei?
Naomi: Leave off the ございます (gozaimasu) and just say おはよう (ohayō).
Kat: This is good for using with friends and family. Kent used おはよう (ohayō) with his teacher and got in trouble, though.
Naomi: そうですね。(Sō desu ne.) So please be careful!
Kat: Can we hear them side by side hearing? First, the informal way to say "good morning"-
Naomi: おはよう (ohayō)
Kat: And the formal version of that?
Naomi: おはようございます (ohayō gozaimasu)
Kat: So please make sure you know the difference! But Naomi-sensei, in a worst-case scenario, what would happen if you made the mistake Kent made in real life?
Naomi: Well, unless the person was a close friend or family member, they probably wouldn't say anything! But they might take notice of it.
Kat: Ah, I see. So if you're ever in doubt about how polite you should be in Japan, it's always a good idea to err on the side of caution and use formal language, which might be more formal than you need. If the people you're speaking to think it's too formal for the situation, they'll probably let you know because they're your friends. If you do the opposite, though, speak informally in a situation that calls for formal Japanese, you'll probably never find out about it! So when in doubt, please stick to polite Japanese.
Naomi: そうですね。(Sō desu ne.) I think it's really good advice!


Kat: OK, so that’s about everything for this lesson.
Naomi: じゃあ、また!(Jā, mata!)
Kat: See you next time!
黒川先生 (Kurokawa-sensei):おはよう、赤木さん、赤木くん。 (Ohayō, Akagi-san, Akagi-kun.)
まどか (Madoka):おはようございます。(Ohayō gozaimasu.)
ケント (Kento):おはよう、黒川先生。(Ohayō, Kurokawa-sensei.)
まどか (Madoka):ケント、「ございます」。(Kento, "gozaimasu".)
ケント (Kento):ああ、ごめん、先生。おはようございます。(Ā, gomen, sensei. Ohayō gozaimasu.)
まどか (Madoka):ケント、ケント、「すみません」。(Kento, Kento, "sumimasen”.)


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