Did you know you can set your Alexa device to answer in Japanese? Same thing with Siri and other AI assistants. While I am certain these commands work for other devices, let’s look at Alexa specifically.
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SETTING UP ALEXA IN JAPANESE
If you have a newer Alexa device, you should be able to set it to Japanese using your Alexa App. First generation Echos do not support Japanese, unfortunately.
Open the Alexa App on your phone.
Click on the bar icon to the top left and choose “Settings”
In English we say “Japanese” and “Spanish,” but not “Germanese” or “Americanish.” In Japanese, saying language names is, in some ways, easier. Just add a 語 go after the country mainly associated with the language.
日本 nihon Japan 日本語 nihongo Japanese
スペイン supein Spain スペイン語 supeingo Spainish
フランス furansu France フランス語 furansugo French
ドイツ doitsu Germany ドイツ語 doitsugo German (language)
ロシア roshia Russia ロシア語 roshiago Russian (language)
イタリア itaria Italy イタリア語 itariago Italian
韓国 kankoku (South) Korea 韓国語 kankokugo Korean
中国 chuugoku China 中国語 chuugokugo Chinese (language)
イギリス igirisu England アメリカ amerika America オーストラリア o-sutoraria Australia ニュージーランド nyu- ji-rando New Zealand etc. 英語 eigo English
イスラエル israeru Israel ヘブライ語 heburaigo Hebrew or ヘブル語 heburugo Hebrew
インド indo India ヒンディー語 hindi- Hindi
This, of course, is not a full list. Feel free to add other countries in the comments below.
Carrying on a conversation (in any language) isn’t just about getting your ideas across. It is also about showing the other person, the speaker, you are listening. This is especially important in Japanese since it is used all the time.
In English, we might say, “Oh, really?” or “Is that so?” or “Uh huh” to show the speaker we are interested and understanding what he or she is saying. This video lists several important 相槌 aizuchi for showing you are interested or agree with the speaker.
Aizuchi to show Attention
Let’s first look at 相槌 aizuchi that could be considered positive. None of these fully imply the listener even agrees with the speaker. But the listener is interested, engaged, and understanding what the speaker has to say.
Here are the main words (there are many more):
はい yes hai
While this means “yes,” はい is often used in conversation to show attention and interest.
This is sometimes written as えー. This is a common substitute for はい with generally the same meaning. I’m listening and I’m interested. When said with a rising tone, it can show surpise or disbelief.
うん yep un
This is a less formal but common way to say “yes.” As mentioned above, saying this doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with the speaker, but just that you are showing interest.
なるほど I see naruhodo
When the listener explains something you didn’t previously understand, you can say, “I see” or “I get it” or “indeed.”
さすが As expected… sasuga
This means “as one would expect” and is often used as a compliment. If the speaker says an accomplishment, compliment him or her with “I knew you could do it.”.
すごい！ Amazing! sugoi!
すごい means “amazing” and can be compared to the slang word “cool” or “awesome.” When the speaker says something amazing, use this.
そうですね。 That’s right. sou desu ne.
Also shortened as そうだ, this literally means “That is so.” It shows mild agreement, but it could also just be used to show interest.
うそ (surprise) No way! uso
This literally means “lie.” When said with surprise, it means “Really?” but when said with disbelief, it can mean “I don’t believe that.”
うそ (disbelief) I don’t believe that. uso
Depending on how you say this, it can show agreement (with shock) or disbelief (also with shock).
ほんと (I) swear; really; (I’m) telling the truth honto
This can be used to agree with the listener. I swear. That’s for sure. I’m telling the truth. This literally means “true” or “fact.” In less colloquial circumstances, it really has a う at the end: ほんとう.
ほんとに really; truly honto ni
The adverbial form can be used to confirm what someone said is really true.
まさか It can’t be…; no way; you don’t say masaka
This is usually said when the listener suddenly realizes what the speaker is saying may actually be true despite it sounding absurd. It can’t be…
信じられない I don’t believe it
Literally, this means “I cannot believe.” but this can also be said when believing but not wanting to believe. I can’t believe (he did that).
ありえない impossible; no way arienai!
This means impossible, but again, it may simply show the listener is shocked by what she hears.
おかしい That’s odd; funny; little strange okashii
This means “odd” or “strange.” Something’s funny about that.
なんかへんな Something’s wrong with that; that’s odd nanka henna