Uki Uki NihonGO + Culture! – Lesson 9 – audience questions

July 19, 2014 - July 19, 2014
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Uki Uki NihonGO! Lesson #9 Q&A Part 2

Welcome to Uki Uki NihonGO + Culture!

In today’s lesson, we will continue to answer some of the comments and questions we received from our viewers.
(You can watch Q&A Part 1 here:

Q.1 What’s the difference between arigatou gozaimasu and arigatou gozaimashita?

You use arigatou gozaimasu to thank someone immediately, e.g. when someone just served you tea, held the door for you, or gave you a present/compliment, etc.

Arigatou gozaimashita, on the other hand, has the past-tense ending. You use this to thank someone for a past act of kindness, and is often accompanied with words like kinou wa: yesterday, kono mae wa: the other day, and senjitsu wa: the other day – more formal.
You also use ありがとうございました when you are about to end something, e.g. at the end of a speech, phone call, meeting, class, etc. In stores or restaurants, they will tell you  to thank you for shopping or dining as you are leaving.

Q.2 What is the intonation of common words like greetings?

Think of Japanese intonation like a wave — it goes up, goes down, or stays flat.
Words with an upward wave: inu: dog, tori: bird, kaeru: frog, etc.
Words with a downward wave: neko: cat, tanuki: Japanese raccoon

Let’s look at the waves in greetings.
Flat wave: Konnichiwa: hello
Upward wave: Ohayou: Good morning, Yoroshiku: Nice to meet you, Sayounara: Goodbye
Up and down wave: Arigatou: Thanks, Sumimasen: Excuse me

Sometimes, the tonal difference also gives different meanings.
e.g. Hashi – up: bridge/down: chopsticks, Shiro – up: castle/down: white, Suru – up: to do/down: pickpocket, print

Q.3 What’s the difference between yo and ne at the end of a sentence?

Ne is used when feelings/impressions/ideas are shared, similar to "isn’t it?" or "right?" in English. For instance, on a very hot day, you say atsui desune – "It’s hot, isn’t it?" because you know that the other person is also feeling the heat.

Yo, on the other hand, is used when you are providing new information. It’s similar to saying "just so you know," or "for your information" in English. For example, if someone is trying to use a conference room that has a broken AC, you can inform him/her by saying atsui desuyo — "Just so you know, that room is hot."

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Music by: Soichiro Migita 

  • Jul 19, 2014 at 12:00 am