Speakin' Japanese: Respect for the Aged repartee

Speakin' Japanese: Respect for the Aged repartee

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Japan

Respect for the Aged Day is just another way we honor our elders. These are some great phrases to practice before you greet your elderly neighbors or grandparents.

“Anata wa nansai desuka?” = How old are you?
(“anata” = you, “nansai” = how old)

“Watashi wa _ sai desu.” = I am ___ years old.
(“watashi” = I, “sai” = years of age)

“Rokujyu sai/nanajyu sai /hachijyu sai/ kyuujyu sai” = 60 years old/70 years old/80 years old/90 years old
(“rokuju” = 60, “nanajyu” = 70, “hachijyu” = 80, “kyuujyu” = 90)

“Kono kyuujitsu wo donoyouni iwai masuka?” = How will you celebrate this holiday?
(“kono” = this, “kyuujitsu” = holiday, “donoyouni” = how, “iwau/iwaimasu” = celebrate)

“Keirou no hi no terebi no tokuban ga totemo tanoshimi desu” = I can’t wait to watch the special program on TV for Respect for Aged Day.
(“Keirou no hi” = Respect for Aged Day, “terebi” = TV, “tokuban/tokubetsu bangumi” = special program, “totemo” = very (much), “- ga tanosimi desu/ - wo tanoshimi nisuru” = look forward to)

“Watashi no ojiichan to obaachan ni purezento wo agemasu” = I will give gifts to my grandfather and grandmother.
(“watashi no” = my, “ojiichan” = grandfather, “obaachan” = grandmother, “puresento” = gift, present, “ageru/ agemasu” = give)

“Kenkou de nagaiki shite kudasai” = please take care of your health and enjoy a long life.
(“kenko” = health, “nagaiki” = long life, “shite kudasai” = please do)

 

Pronunciation key: “A” is short (like “ah”); “E” is short (like “get”); “I” is short (like “it”); “O” is long (like “old”); “U” is long (like “tube”); and “AI” is a long “I” (like “hike”). Most words are pronounced with equal emphasis on each syllable, but “OU” is a long “O” with emphasis on that  syllable.

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