How to say “what?” in Japanese

Japanese learner would maybe say “nani desu ka”. It have the right to be taken as a polite means to speak “what?” in Japanese. But, in reality, it sounds weird come Japanese indigenous speakers. In this blog post, i will explain the expression, “nani desu ka”, in detail based on its components. And also, i will define why it sounds weird. Let’s gain started!

Contents

Definition and an interpretation of “nani desu ka”

First of all, permit me begin with the an interpretation and an interpretation of “nani desu ka”.

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nani desu ka – 何ですか (なにですか) : a polite expression definition ‘what?’ in Japanese.Its an interpretation and an interpretation are quite basic and clear, ns think. To understand it a little bit more, however, let me define its components in detail.

Components of “nani desu ka”

As its illustration suggests, it can be broken down into the following three parts:nani – 何 (なに) : an unknown pronoun definition ‘what’ in Japanese. It can be offered alone through the pitch increased to to speak “what?” in Japanese. Actually, Japanese aboriginal speakers quite frequently use this word to say “what?” in Japanese especially in speaking.desu – です : an assistant verb used after a noun or adjective to make it polite. In the expression, the is placed after the unknown pronoun, “nani”, to make it sound polite.ka – か : a sentence ending particle placed at the finish of a sentence to make a question. In the expression, it is put at the finish of the sentence to do a question.From these 3 components, we can understand that “nani desu ka” is accurate a Japanese polite expression meaning ‘what?’ But, again, it sound weird come Japanese native speakers. I will explain the reason below.

Why go “nani desu ka” sound weird?

In the Japanese language, sometimes, native connections come to be much more important than individual words. This trait i do not care conspicuous especially in speaking. Pronunciations of part words have the right to vary depending upon words used along with them. Come tell the truth, “nani” is one of them. As soon as it is adhered to by a bit or assistant verb, its pronunciation is readjusted to “nan” because that a far better connection. So, as soon as it is adhered to by “desu”, the pronunciation need to be “nan” instead of “nani”. This is the factor “nani desu ka” sound weird come Japanese indigenous speakers. Basically, they suppose “nani” come be changed to “nan”. In short, once we want to speak “what?” in a polite means in Japanese, we need to say “nan desu ka”.

Does “nani” always become “nan”?

As I described above, when “nani” is adhered to by a fragment or assistant verb, the pronunciation needs to be changed to “nan” because that a much better connection. The question right here is, does this constantly happen? my answer is, in many cases yes. But we have to be careful with, in ~ least, one exemption below.nani de – 何で (なにで) : a combination of the indefinite pronoun, “nani”, and a case particle, “de”. This particle is provided after a noun to suggest a means or method to perform something. In this regard, that is quite similar to English prepositions prefer “by” and also “with”. So, “nani de” deserve to literally be translated as “by what” or “with what”. It can be thought about as a way to ask how to carry out something in Japanese.“Nani” go not always become “nan” as soon as it is complied with by a fragment or assistant verb. So, I said “in many cases yes”. But, this doesn’t typical that us cannot to speak “nan de” come ask exactly how to do something in Japanese. Actually, Japanese aboriginal speakers quite often use “nan de” because that this purpose. However, we have to be cautious with the confusion between “nan de” and also “nande”. Below is the difference.

Difference between “nan de” and also “nande”

Honestly, the adhering to two can be confusing even for Japanese indigenous speakers.nan de – 何で (なんで) : a mix of “nani” and also “de” which have actually a better connection that pronunciations. That is more or much less the exact same as “nan de” described above. So, it deserve to be offered to ask just how to perform something.nande – 何で (なんで) : an adverb an interpretation ‘why’ in Japanese. It deserve to be offered to make why inquiries in Japanese. The is one word.Both have actually the same pronunciation and appearance. But, they have different meanings and roles. In addition, while “nan de” is grammar a mix of two words, “nande” is one word. So, we require to distinguish one native the other. In reality, however, that is quite difficult. Or probably I need to say, that is nearly impossible. So, depending upon the situation, also Japanese native speakers cannot know a meaning of “何で” correctly. Sometimes, they must confirm its meaning and intentionally of the speaker.Both are absolutely confusing also for Japanese learners, i think. So, when we hear people saying “何で”, we should be very careful through the context. Sometimes, we need to check its meaning and on purpose of the speaker.

Summary

In this blog post, I’ve defined the expression, “nani desu ka”, in detail based upon its components. And also, I’ve described why it sound weird to Japanese indigenous speakers. Furthermore, I’ve described “nani de”, “nan de”, and “nande”. Allow me summary them together follows.nani desu ka – 何ですか (なにですか) : a polite expression definition ‘what?’ in Japanese. But, it sounds weird to Japanese native speakers.nani de – 何で (なにで) : a combination of the indefinite pronoun, “nani”, and also a instance particle, “de”. This bit is supplied after a noun to indicate a means or means to carry out something. In this regard, that is quite comparable to English prepositions prefer “by” and “with”. So, “nani de” have the right to literally be translated as “by what” or “with what”. It can be thought about as a means to ask how to carry out something in Japanese.nan de – 何で (なんで) : a combination of “nani” and also “de” which have actually a better connection the pronunciations. It can be provided to ask just how to carry out something.

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nande – 何で (なんで) : one adverb an interpretation ‘why’ in Japanese. It deserve to be provided to do why concerns in Japanese. It is one word.Hope my explanations space understandable and also helpful for Japanese learners.