5 short responses to enrich your day-to-day conversations in Nihongo


Maybe you’ve noticed you need various types of Nihongo short responses for Japanese conversations. In fact, one survey shows Japanese speakers use short responses two times more than English speakers in a conversation.

So, mastering these 5 short responses makes you become a smooth conversationalist even in Japanese. Surprise your friends with a little bit of Kansai -ben (Western Japan dialect) essence!

5 Useful short responses in Nihongo (polite form)

  1. はい “hai”

This should be one of the most common phrases in your Japanese conversation. Like “yes” in English, you can use “hai” anywhere, anytime.

  1. なるほど “naruhodo”

“Naruhodo” is also a very useful phrase. It is “I see” in English. When you understand something, when you learn something, say first, “naruhodo”!

  1. そうですね “sou-desu-ne”

When you agree with what the speaker said, “soudesune” should be the best phrase. It is “indeed” in English. If you can add your opinion after “soudesune”, it’s perfect!

  1. そうなんですね “sou-nan-desu-ne”

When you get surprised or you learn something new, try to use “sounandesune”. It means “oh, really?” in English, but you can use it even when you understand what the speaker said, like “naruhodo”.

Here comes the magical Kansai-ben Japanese phrase!

  1. せやなあ “seyanaa”

This is Kansai area’s dialect. One English word cannot translate “seyanaa” because the meaning depends on the context. “Seyanaa” includes “hai”, “naruhodo”, “soudesune” and more. Notice that it is a very casual phrase. Don’t use it in formal situations.

Hope these short responses enrich conversations with your colleagues or friends. If you think this article is useful for other Japanese learners, don’t hesitate to share it!


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