Friday, January 13, 2006

Get Your Japanese Language Podcast

A little about the Japanese Podcast 101:

Our goal is to make Japanese, easy and fun, while incorporating culture and current issues into our lessons. We believe the more you speak the quicker you learn, so we have designed our program to get you speaking right away. Situational Japanese is heavily stressed, and our 4-member team role play various situations to demonstrate what form of Japanese to use when speaking with friends, customers, executives, etc. Knowing which form to use, separates good speakers from great speakers.

I admit, the dialogues are a little slow, but it's great listening practice and they break down vocabulary wonderfully. Also, you can' t beat having a native speaker.


Thursday, January 05, 2006


Possibly one of the most important verbs you'll learn in Japanese, Jim Breen defines Chigau as:

Chigau - (vb) to differ (from)

Chigau is a word you'll hear more often than you think. More than just 'different from' it's a usually used as a graceful way of saying no.

Because the Japanese society tends to be more group focused (as opposed to American/European societies, which tend towards a more individualistic focus), group harmony is something that is highly prized. As such, Japanese people tend not to say no straight out. It's considered polite to leave people a way to say no without saying no.

Hence, if you ask "would you like to get something to eat with me", the polite way to say it would be closer to 'would you not like to get something to eat with me'

Watashi to isshou ni nanika tabemasen ka?
Would you NOT get something to eat with me?

Leaving the possibility of refusing by saying yes. (though you'd probably just use a trailing sentance instead).

Chigau is a graceful way of saying no while still keeping things positive."I'm not saying anyone or anything is wrong, it's all just different"

This is a standard godan verb, so to make it standard polite you would say chigaimasu.

So remember, you don't have to just say no, just say different and chigau your way to polite refusal/rebuttal.