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Say Hello in the Japanese Language


The word 'Japanese' in Japanese

The Japanese culture is quite heavily influenced by honorific traditions as well as hierarchy based on social status, age, and family relations. Naturally, this influence extends to the Japanese language and thus to day-to-day communication. Hence, greeting in Japanese requires being respectful and formal. Much like in Arabic, there is a great deal of emphasis on the demarcation between morning and evening greetings in Japanese. It’s also customary to bow respectfully while greeting in this language. Learn how to greet people appropriately in Japanese at different times of the day here.

English:Good dayI am (your name)
Japanese:KonnichiwaWatashi-wa (your name), desu
Pronunciation:Koh-NEE-cheewahWah-TAH-sheewah (your name), DEHSS
Japanese Script:KonnichiwaWatakushi-wa

If you ask someone “how do you say hello in Japanese?”, the answer you’re likely to get is konnichiwa. This is the one greeting acceptable to use with anyone during daytime. It is, however, not advisable to greet people with konnichiwa too early in the morning and after the sun sets. Before 10 a.m., ohayō gozaimasu (pronounced oh-hah-yoh goh-zah-ee-muhss-oo) is the suggested way to say good morning instead of konnichiwa. This works well to greet people you don’t know too well or those in a higher position than you in terms of authority. With close family and friends, the less formal ohayō can be used. It’s important not to use the shorter version with strangers. To wish someone a good evening, you can say konbanwa (pronounced kohn-bahn-wah). This can be used in the late afternoon and also after the sun sets to greet someone while meeting them or as a way of saying bye while departing. While greeting people, bowing at the waist with a straight back and arms on the side is considered respectful. Although the bow is the Western equivalent of the handshake, a person is expected to bow while greeting another person in Japanese rather than after.

Did You Know You Were Speaking Japanese?

Much like in Arabic, many words with roots in Japanese have become a part of English over time. These include several words that you probably use frequently.

Words in English from the Japanese language:

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Japanese Characters

Here are some resources to help you understand Japanese characters:

Learning Japanese

These will help you explore the Japanese language further:

Japanese Culture

Here are some resources delve into various aspects of the Japanese culture:

Who Can You Talk To?

Japanese takes the 13th spot in the list of the 200 most spoken languages in the world. There are over 126 million people in Japan, American Samoa, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Germany, Guam, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the United States of America who speak Japanese. Now, you can say hello in Japanese to more than 126 million people!* *Source: Ethnologue: Japanese – (Register for free to access.)

Say Hello to the World was created by Lorri Mon.

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