Japanese - You Forgot To Greet Me!

皆さん、こんにちは!

Ok, so, we’ve covered a few things now, I almost forgot one important thing…I forgot to teach you how to greet people! Don’t worry, we’ll do this now, so we can move on with the other things.

So, greeting people isn’t that hard. You already know the standard greeting:


こんにちは


Now, let’s look at some of the others, and when I say others, I mean saying “goodbye” to people, because there are so many different ways you can say “goodbye”. It just depends on the situation you’re in, which phrase you use.


The Standards


Let’s start off with the standard “goodbye” which you’re probably familiar with. This one’s taught in nearly every Japanese class you’ve probably attended, and it’s pretty straight forward, in most cases.


さようなら


Simple right? We all know this greeting, “say-ou-na-ra”. I mean you’ve even heard its English derivative “sy-o-nah-rah”, but remember, you’re speaking Japanese. You need to make it sound Japanese. So, don’t use the derivative, use the proper sounds. Ok, remember when I said that each ひらがな symbol stands for a certain phonetic sound? Now, remember when I told you how those symbols sound. Say it with me then, “say(as in “sigh”, not “say”)-ou(hold here…)-na-ra”. So, さようならhas different stress points than its English derivative. Where the English derivative stresses each syllable, and each vowel, the proper Japanese pronunciation holds on the “ou” part of the word, and rushes through the last part “nara”.

With me so far? Good. Now, let me tell you that this standard greeting is never really used, unless you’ll never see the person again, at least for a long time. It’s actually very definitive. So, it’s only used when you’re saying goodbye to someone who’s going away for a long time, or maybe at the end of a news cast. The point is, this phrase, or this word, isn’t appropriate when you’re talking to friends and family, or even colleagues. So, be careful when using さようなら because it might just confuse the people you’re talking to.


Alright, so we know now how to say goodbye as in “goodbye”, but how do you say goodbye to friends and family you’re close with? Well, that’s easy.


じゃあね


Now, remember what I said about double vowels before? You see how you have the や(ya) and the あ(a) symbols next to each other? Remember to slur that together, and elongate it, because of the double “a” there. So instead of saying “jya ah-enh”, you say it as “jya-ne”.


Still with me?


Ok, so this phrase means “later”, or “see you”. It’s very casual, so only use it with close friends, or family members who you’re close with. What I mean is, don’t use it with elders who might take offence at the casual tone of the phrase, use it with cousins or siblings who you’re close with. I wouldn’t say use it with your parents, because they’re people you should respect. So, unless you have a very close rapport with them, don’t use it.


When You’re Leaving

Now, with English, you don’t have this option. It’s either, “see you later” or “take care”, but with Japanese (and Korean if you’re paying attention to it), you have the option of either being the one that stays behind, or the one that leaves. In Japanese, there are a few phrases to say, when you’re leaving, either your home, your work or your school. Basically, it’s a habit that many Japanese people, have grown accustomed to, and if you want to look like a native, you’ll want to say these phrases too. So, let’s take a look at one of these phrases.


行って来ます


Alright, so with the かんじ(or 漢字) mixed in there, you probably don’t know what this word is. The full ひらがな of the word looks like this: いってきます. In its Romanised form, it sounds like “i-tte ki-ma-su”.


Now, you see that little っ symbol there? It doesn’t mean add a “tsu” in the middle of the word, it actually means elongate the て, which comes after it. It works like a double vowel except it means you need to elongate the consonant, instead. So, that’s why there’s a double “t” in its Romanised sound. Like with じゃあね you slur it, you don’t focus attention to it. Basically, what you need to do here is put a little more stress on the “t” because it’s a double consonant. So, think about a word like “take” you stress the “t” in it right? That’s what you do here.

Ok, so when do you use this phrase? Simple, it’s whenever you leave your home, especially if you have roommates, housemates or you’re living with your family. You say this phrase, to make sure they know you’ve left the house. Otherwise, they might think you’re still there. I don’t know why, but it’s a custom that they’ve adapted into everyday life. So, always use it when you’re leaving the house, even if there’s no one inside. It’ll give the illusion to passers-by that someone is still inside, preventing any time of theft or burglary.


Are you guys still good? Ok, let’s move on.


お先に失礼します


Again, the かんじ doesn’t really help us beginners, but you guys need to also start getting used to them too, to fully understand what you’re reading, when you read ひらがな. So, in full ひらがな form, the phrase should look like this: おさきにしつれいします. It’s a long one, so take some time to read it.

This is where things might get confusing. Remember how I said that つ was meant to elongate the consonant. Here, it doesn’t. I haven’t figured out why yet, so don’t ask me just yet. Anyway, in its Romanised form, the phrase should sound like this “o-sa-ki ni shi-tsu-rei-shi-ma-su”. Do you see what I mean by the つ not elongating the next consonant? Again, don’t ask me why, I don’t know yet.

Now this one is used when you’re leaving the office. Normally, it’s just a way to excuse yourself, because people might still be working. It means “I’ll be leaving first” or “excuse me for leaving first”. It’s cute right? It’s just a polite way of saying goodbye to your colleagues, so you don’t really disturb them, while they work.


We’ll Take A Look At More Next Time!

Ok, I think that should be enough for now. I know I haven’t covered the form where you’re the one that’s staying behind, but I think this should be enough. After all, it’s a lot to get your head around, and even I have to do some research to figure out why certain words are the way they are. Anyway, I’ll leave it there for you. Remember to keep practicing, so you can sound fluent and basically sound like a natural! So, the next time I see you, you guys better be able to say “goodbye” one way or another!


Well, that’s it from me today, I’ll see you guys next time. For now, don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow for more updates and the latest posts here on Feather’s Charm and on my social media accounts. Oh, and share these posts with family and friends, those who you’d think might enjoy these topics and tips! I’ll see you later!


With love,


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