Japanese Alexa Commands: Arekusa, Speak Nihongo!

Japanese Alexa Commands: Arekusa, Speak Nihongo!

Alexa! Speak Japanese.

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.
Alexa speaks Japanese

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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.
  1. Open the Alexa App on your phone.
  2. Click on the bar icon to the top left and choose “Settings”
  3. Choose “Device Settings”
  4. Choose “Language”
  5. Choose “日本語”

JAPANESE ALEXA COMMANDS

You don’t need to be overly polite with Alexa. Drop the kudasai and masu/desu. Most of these commands are taken from the Japanese Alexa help page found here. https://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_v4_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201608460

COMMON ALEXA COMMANDS

アレクサ arekusa Alexa (the wake word; say this before a command)

Shut her up!

TIME

「何時ですか?」 nanji desu ka?  What time is it?

Most commands have a shortcut which usually can be used in casual speech anyway. For example, to ask for the time, you can just say:

WEATHER

Other weather questions

MUSIC


TIMERS AND ALARMS


INFORMATION

Just as you would in English, ask Alexa trivia, like how tall is Mt. Fuji or Who invented the light bulb.

「空はどうして青いの?」 sora wa doushite aoi no? Why is the sky blue?


MATH

Plus: 「1たす1は?」 ichi tasu ichi wa? What is 1 + 1?

Minus: 「1ひく1は?」 ichi hiku ichi wa? What is 1 – 1?

Multiplication: 「1かける1は?」 ichi kakeru ichi wa? What is 1 x 1?

Division: 「1わる1は?」 ichi waru ichi wa? What is 1 / 1?


NEWS

「今日のニュースは?」 kyou no nyu-su wa? What is today’s news?

To get Japanese news, you’ll need to find and enable the country/ language specific skill in the app and then add it to your briefing.

FUN


Learn More:
Alexa commands in Japanese: (most of the above was taken from this page)
Alexa commands in English:
A site with a great overview of Japanese commands (in Japanese):
https://yuki-no-yabo.com/what-is-amazon-echo/
Beginner Japanese Sentences: Asking Questions

Beginner Japanese Sentences: Asking Questions

Building upon the first podcast, this episode covers adding a か ka at the end to change a statement into a question.

何か食べたいです。 I want something to eat. – nanika tabetai desu.

[Note: the ‘I’ is assumed, but it just as easily be ‘you’ in the right context.]

To make that into a question, just add か

[Notice I didn’t say ‘Would I like something to eat?’ since it is obvious ‘you’ would be more appropriate]

何か飲みたいです。 I want something to drink. – nanika nomitai desu.

何か飲みたいですか? Would you like something to drink – nanika nomitai desu ka?

Pimsleur Language Programs


 

Countries and Language Names in Japanese

Countries and Language Names in Japanese

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.

Regular Examples

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)

 

Irregular Examples

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

Language Names in Japanese Chart
This, of course, is not a full list. Feel free to add other countries in the comments below.

 

I Want to… I Really Do, But How Do I Say I Want to in Japanese?

I Want to… I Really Do, But How Do I Say I Want to in Japanese?

Basic Japanese grammar lesson: Using ~たい ~tai–to want to…

  • Adding ~tai adds the “want to” meaning.
  • This is formed by finding the ~masu form and adding ~tai.
  • For example:
    To eat → to want to eat:
    食べる → 食べます → 食べ+たい → 食べたい
    taberu → tabemasu → tabe+tai  →  tabetai
    To Drink → to want to drink:
    飲む → 飲みます → 飲み+たい → 飲みたい
    nomu → nomimasu → nomi+tai  → nomitai

なにか飲みたいです。

nanika nomitai desu.
I want to drink something.

なにか nanika–something
飲みたい nomitai–want to drink [This is formed with the ~masu form of 飲む nomu–to drink + たい tai–(want to…)] です desu–copula (usually like to be)

Next, let’s turn this into a question.

Notice in the above example, we didn’t use a pronoun. The “I” was understood. In this next example, we still won’t use a pronoun, but by adding the question marker か ka, the “you” is implied.

なにか食べたいですか。

nanika tabetai desu ka.
Do you want to eat something?

なにか nanika–something
食べたい tabetai–want to eat [This is formed with the ~masu form of 食べる taberu–to eat + たい tai–(want to…)] です desu–copula (usually like to be)

Pimsleur Language Programs


 

Japanese Conversational Interjections 相槌 aizuchi

Japanese Conversational Interjections 相槌 aizuchi

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.


ええ yeah
ee

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

Literally, something strange.


 

Aizuchi Japanese Conversational Interjections