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なおみ: なおみです。
Peter: Peter here.
Peter: Lesson 25. Does Your Japanese Sound Halfhearted?
なおみ: Halfhearted?
Peter: Halfhearted. I am not putting enough passion into it. Okay this is the final Yojijukugo lesson.
なおみ: そう、最後ですね。
Peter: The last one and again, in this series, we covered four character idiomatic phrases. We looked not only at their meaning but the characters that made up the phrase so that we can understand the origin and the way the thought process of how they developed. Now Naomi Sensei, the final phrase is probably I would say the most used Yojijukugo. Ah you don’t know yet and we almost missed it. It was a last minute replacement but luckily for you, we got it and so for those of you stuck around till the end, this will make it all worth it because this will be your new favorite phrase, your new best friend added to your lexicon and used all the time. Now let’s look at the first one too and then we can get on to the second one.
なおみ: はい
Peter: That’s such a bad introduction but anyway, it’s the last one, its okay.

Lesson focus

Peter: So Naomi Sensei, what do we have first?
なおみ: 臨機応変
Peter: To act according to circumstances. Break it down.
なおみ: りんきおうへん 臨機応変
Peter: First character is
なおみ: 臨
Peter: Confront.
なおみ: 機
Peter: Occasion.
なおみ: 応
Peter: Answer.
なおみ: 変
Peter: Change. Confront occasion answer change. Let’s take a look at the two two character kanji compounds that make up the four character kanji compound. Naomi Sensei, first one.
なおみ: 臨機
Peter: To adapt to circumstances. Second one,
なおみ: 応変
Peter: To deal with change. So you put it altogether
なおみ: 臨機応変
Peter: It means to deal with things flexibly and appropriately depending on the time and situation. Now on to the usage. This phrase is often used as an adverbial phrase. So if you remember from many of the other Yojijukugo, to use a Yojijukugo as an adverbial phrase, it’s usually followed by the particle
なおみ: に
Peter: So the expression goes.
なおみ: 臨機応変に
Peter: And it’s commonly used together with
なおみ: Suru.
Peter: So to act according to circumstances.
なおみ: 臨機応変にする
Peter: To act according to circumstances
なおみ: Or 臨機応変に対応する
Peter: So to adapt to circumstances. The first one kind of has this meaning too. So I think it’s a pretty good translation, to adapt to circumstances. Now this one too, you can use as a pronominal. Basically it precedes a noun and in between the noun and this phrase is
なおみ: な
Peter: So just a quick example we would have
なおみ: 臨機応変な行動
Peter: Kind of flexible action depending on the situation.
なおみ: 臨機応変な行動 is necessary ね
Peter: Definitely. Let’s take a look at the sample sentences. First we have
なおみ: お客様のリクエストに合わせて臨機応変に対応してください
Peter: Please deal with our customer’s requests in a flexible and appropriate manner. Next,
なおみ: ロボットは臨機応変な行動が取れない
Peter: Robots cannot adapt to circumstances.
なおみ: そうですね
Peter: Yikes! I can picture an engineer somewhere not accepting this. We will expect your email and finally we have
なおみ: いつもルール通りに進める事は難しい。もっと臨機応変にしたほうがいい
Peter: It’s difficult to always stick to the rules. You better act more flexibly depending on the situation. Ah I wonder if I can think this. Naomi Sensei 申し訳ございませんが、たまに日本人に臨機応変になって欲しいですね。
なおみ: You are telling me?
Peter: I am just saying sometimes it’d be really nice if like the Japanese also followed like to act a little more flexible.
なおみ: Ah like the people who works at a city office?
Peter: Yes.
なおみ: They should be もっと臨機応変にお願いします
Peter: Umm now you are going to have to get this stamp that desk over there. Then you are going to have to take another number and come back but I guess it’s kind of common place in countries all over the world but…
なおみ: そうね
Peter: Umm…
なおみ: もうちょっと臨機応変になってもらいたいですね
Peter: そうですねOkay Naomi Sensei, we are on to the bar none, probably most popular Yojijukugo you will come across.
なおみ: なんでしょう
Peter: Naomi Sensei お願いします
なおみ: 中途半端
Peter: Unvague, between. Kind of unclear. We are not coming out to explain this with just these words. We are going to have to get a bit into it but let’s first break it down.
なおみ: ちゅうとはんぱ 中途半端
Peter: First character
なおみ: 中
Peter: Middle.
なおみ: 途
Peter: Way.
なおみ: 半
Peter: Half.
なおみ: 端
Peter: And.
なおみ: 中途半端
Peter: Middle way half and. Let’s take a look at the two two kanji character compounds. First we have
なおみ: 中途
Peter: Half way, along the way. This is actually used as it’s – on its own quite often. Then we have
なおみ: 半端
Peter: To be on neither side or to be vague. So we put it together
なおみ: 中途半端
Peter: It indicates the state of things are left unfinished or the state or someone or something is vague or unclear.
なおみ: 中途半端な笑いとかね
Peter: Yeah it kind of means like how can I explain this a bit better. The word that comes out of my mind is kind of halfhearted. That’s a good way to put it, halfhearted.
なおみ: Or not perfect.
Peter: Yeah. So it can be used as a pronominal modifier. Again before the noun, in that case, it is followed by
なおみ: な
Peter: Or it can be used as an adverbial phrase. In that case, it’s followed by
なおみ: に
Peter: Now it usually has a negative connotation.
なおみ: そうですねRight.
Peter: For example you’d say
なおみ: 中途半端な仕事
Peter: And it doesn’t just mean unfinished work but it also applies like a halfhearted effort or a poor job.
なおみ: No a perfect job.
Peter: Yeah. So let’s take a look at some sample sentences and then we are going to try to explain it further. Naomi Sensei, first we have
なおみ: 中途半端な努力では成功しない
Peter: You can’t succeed or you can’t make it with a halfhearted effort. Next.
なおみ: 中途半端な態度をとると誤解される
Peter: If you have a vague attitude, you will be misunderstood.
なおみ: 仕事を中途半端に終わらせてはいけない
Peter: You can’t leave your work half done.
なおみ: 中途半端にやるな!真面目にやれ!
Peter: Don’t do it half right, do it right.
なおみ: Pretty strong sentences.
Peter: I like them but it’s such a common phrase.
なおみ: そうですねRight.
Peter: You know, you are kind of doing something but your heart is not in it 中途半端or you kind of want to say something but you are not explaining it right because maybe you are holding back.
なおみ: そうね。中途半端な説明
Peter: It’s kind of like a half hearted explanation.
なおみ: Or 中途半端な態度
Peter: Kind of vague or unclear.
なおみ: Attitude.
Peter: And on TV especially in conversations, this is quite common as maybe people they leave a topic unexplored kind of touch on it and you know, that explanation which is you know halfhearted. You didn’t finish or with work or with sports clubs, all different things. You know, people – I guess people tend to do things half hearted. Naomi Sensei, what will you say the frequency of this Yojijukugo is?
なおみ: これは Quite high 中途半端は中途半端でなく使いますね
Peter: Naomi Sensei, would you agree that this expression is probably one of the most used?
なおみ: そうですねOne of the most used Yojijukugo expressions.
Peter: I think this makes for a pretty good joke next time someone asks you how is your Japanese studying going.
なおみ: 中途半端。あーなるほどね
Peter: Kind of like you are stuck or…
なおみ: そうね。
Peter: Maybe you are not trying as hard as before or things aren’t coming together but by saying that, you are actually using such a really sophisticated phrase. So it’s kind of like you will surprise the person.
なおみ: そうかもしれないですね。私の英語も中途半端ですね。I think my English is 中途半端
Peter: So stop by, use this one and this one, you could use with your friends. So I recommend trying this phrase out as soon as you can and if you master this one, it looks really, really impressive if you can use this one.


Peter: Okay Naomi sensei, that does it. The course – Yojijukugo course is finished.
なおみ: 終わりましたね。
Peter: But if you like this course’s style, we are going to continue on with
なおみ: 擬態語・擬音語
Peter: Onomatopoeia.
なおみ: Onomatopoeia.
Peter: So basically we are going to keep the similar structure and we are going to focus on a few onomatopoeia and help you master those so you can build the vocabulary and build your sentences up, put a little muscle on them.
なおみ: ワクワクしますね
Peter: We are looking forward to it. So it’s pretty exciting. We will see you next year with the Onomatopoeia course.
なおみ: はい。じゃあみなさんよいお年を
Peter: Happy New Year and thank you again for listening to this series.
なおみ: じゃあまた。


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