Speakin' Japanese: Talking with children

by Tetsuo Nakahara
Stripes Okinawa

A great way to practice you limited Japanese is with children. When your colleague brings his/her children to work or if are invited to your friend’s house and meet the children, try your Japanese on them.

• “Genki desuka?”
= How are you?
“Anata no namae wa nandesuka?”
= What is your name?
“Nansai desuka?”
= How old are you?
“Watashi wa America kara kimashita.”
= I am from America.
“Otokonoko desuka? Onnnanoko deuska?”
= Boy or girl?
“Watashi mo kodomo ga imasu.”
= I have children (or a child), too.

• “Yochien ni ittemasuka?”
= Are you going to a kindergarten?
“…. ni ittemasuka?”
= are you going to ….?
“Hoikuen”
= nursery school
“Shogakko”
= elementary school

• “Nan nensei desuka?”
= What grade are you?
“Ichi nensei”
= 1st grade
“Ni nensei”
= 2nd grade
“San nensei”
= 3rd grade

• “Totemo Kawaii akachan desune.”
= Very cute baby.
“Totemo … desune.”
= Very ….
“Kakkoii”
= Handsome
“Tsuyoi”
= Strong
“Kirei”
= Beautiful

• “Bero bero bar”
This is a classic phrase that Japanese often use when they see a baby and try to make it smile. Japanese make a funny face when they say it. Try use it next time you see a baby.

WHEN ON OKINAWA, you can also say it in “Uchinaanguchi” (island dialect) like this:
“Akanguah” = a baby
“Warabinchah” = a child
“Ikiganguwa” = a boy
“Inagunguwa” = a girl

nakahara.tetsuo@stripes.com

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