Greetings are very important in numerous cultures and languages, including those in Japan. They are among the first things you learn when being introduced to a new language. In Japan, there are various versions of a greeting you can use depending on the conversation’s context. Formality levels also vary based on who you are greeting – whether it is a family member, friend, teacher, or a stranger.
As such, it is essential to understand how to greet properly in Japanese, especially if you are planning to study or live in Japan. The best way to learn proper Japanese greetings is to enrol in a reliable Japanese class in Singapore. To help you get started, here are some of the easiest and most common Japanese greetings that will certainly help improve your Japanese communication skills in no time.
1. Konnichiwa (こんにちは)
“Konnichiwa” is the most popular greeting in Japanese. It is one of the first few words that learners come across when getting started with the language. “Konnichiwa” basically means “hello” in English. It can be utilised at any hour of the day, but it is most typically used in the afternoon.
The way to write “Konnichiwa” in Kanji is “こんにちは”, which is a mixture of the words “today” and “sun.” The word is applicable to numerous types of situations, such as when casually greeting a relative or friend. You may also use it in formal settings. Ultimately, “Konnichiwa” is a convenient and safe way to greet in any social scenario.
2. Ohayo Gozaimasu (おはようございます)
“Ohayo gozaimasu” is a greeting to be utilised in the morning. The word is essentially the Japanese translation of “good morning.” Its Kanji expression is “お「早」うございます” which means “early.” You can express “good morning” in Japanese in two ways: “Ohayo” without the “Gozaimasu,” which is appropriate in casual situations, and the complete phrase “Ohayo Gozaimasu,” which is a formal greeting towards a stranger or a teacher.
3. Konbanwa (こんばんは)
“Konbanwa” is the opposite of “Ohayo Gozaimasu” – it is utilised in the night. The word basically translates to “good night.” It is expressed in Kanji as “今晩」は”, which means “tonight.” Like “Konnichiwa”, you can use “Konbanwa” when greeting relatives, strangers, and teachers. It is not appropriate in a casual situation where you are greeting a family member or friend. In other words, “Konbanwa” is more practical in formal situations.
4. Moshi-moshi (もしもし)
“Moshi-moshi” is a popular Japanese greeting that is used exclusively over the phone. If you call a Japanese person via phone, you are likely to hear them greet you with “Moshi-moshi.” This Japanese word is often used at the start of the conversation as a way of confirming that both individuals can hear the voices of each other. In a business situation, the more proper way of answering the phone is to say “Hai,” which simply means “yes” in English.
5. Sayonara and Mata (さようなら and また〜)
“Sayonara” and “Mata” are Japanese words used in farewells. You specifically use “Sayonara” when you are bidding farewell to your acquaintances. It translates to “if it is so” in English, but the more accurate expression is “goodbye.”
On the other hand, the English translation for the word “Mata” is “again.” It is usually combined with a date or time, such as “Mata Ashita,” which means “see you tomorrow,” or “Mata Kondo,” which means “see you next time.” Both “Sayonara” and “Mata” sound casual, and most people use them with their close acquaintances. For a formal expression of farewell, the word you should use is “Dewa.”
6. Ittekimasu and Itterasshai (行ってきます and 行ってらっしゃい)
“Ittekimasu” and “Itterasshai” are Japanese greetings that are used specifically when someone leaves the house. “Ittekimasu” basically means “I am leaving and will come back” in English, while “Itterasshai” means “be safe and come back.” You may commonly hear these expressions in everyday morning conversations between children to parents. These words have both casual and formal undertones.
Japanese is a rich language that has many intricacies even when it comes to its greetings. If you wish to learn Japanese in Singapore, you should start by learning the common Japanese greetings that you can use in your day-to-day conversations. Ultimately, it is very important to master different ways of greeting in Japanese, as doing so will certainly take you a step ahead of your communication with native Japanese speakers!
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