WELCOME: International Web Developers,
Students of English and Japanese Languages, and anyone interested in the
Universal challenge of Life and Language!
Let’s learn some unique differences (surprises!?) in Japanese and English…
- NEGATIVE QUESTIONS seem to be OPPOSITE: but the differences makes sense with a simple shift of perspective. When in doubt, an expressive face and positive gesture can over come a grammatical technicality.
- “Didn’t you promise to be arrive by 7 AM?” Technically
- Wouldn’t you like some custom sushi? (Accept the offer with ‘Yes’ in English and ‘I accept’ (itadakimasu!)
- Japanese logically answers the statement implied by your verb pair “didn’t you…”
But English answers the negative accusation INVITING correction or denial. “arrive by”
(In either case Yes or No is best replaced with an friendly explanation, “Actually, beginning NEXT week when Daylight Saving time starts…”
- YES and NO
In professional, cross-generation conversations, Yes and No are often replaces with LESS DIRECT alternatives in Japanese. These are counter-intuitive to English speakers
- No (thank you): “Ii desu”, “mo ii desu”, “kekko desu”, often along with a facial expression and hand gesture. (See video – more 7/30/2019)
- Yes (thank you): “O-negai-shimasu”, “Domo”, “Un!” (not professional, but common with casual friends)
|Japanese||Proper||Confused with similar||Example / Note|
|kawaii||cute||kowaii == horrible||“Your baby is so ‘kawaii’ ”|
|ningen||People||ninjin == carrot||“Look at all the people [carrots?!] riding bicycles home from work.”|
|written: ai 合い||written: meet||ai愛 == love||Texting can be more delicate than speaking: when in doubt use kana.
7(Nana)-Ji Shigoto mae, Otaku ni aimasyoo ka? Do not use the kanji for “love” instead of “meet”. They’ll probably know what you mean, but why not save your friends’ patience for your more complex blunders?
|Yes||“unh”||(To the westerner it may seem as a guttural negative)||It is Proper, but please exercise care|
|No||textbook equivalent “iie” (short vowels)||alternatives include: “ii desu”, [mo] ii desu, “daijobu”, “kekko desu”||good, already good, I’m ok, it’s enough|
|You arrived 30 minutes early but are asked, “you didn’t arrive late again did you?” (mada osoku sukimasendeshitaka?!)
(or “Mata osoku tōchaku shinakatta nodesu ka?“”)
|Japanese: “hai, I did not arrive late”||English: “No, I was NOT late at all!”||Avoid use “chigau” (it’s different , ‘au contraire’!)
Better to avoid one word answers, and restate the fact
(see this Stackexchange item