Japanese Conversation

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Expressions used for telephone conversation

Telephone Expressions 1

Practice the following exressions

1.Making a phone call
[Watashi wa] Mori-san ni denwa o shimasu.
[I] ring Mori-san.
2.Answering a phone
[Watashi wa] Denwa ni demasu.
[I] answer the phone.
3.A phone call from someone
[Mori-san] kara denwa ga kimashita.
[Mori-san] kara denwa ga arimashita.
There was a phone call from [Mori-san].

Telephone Expressions 2

Practice the following exressions

1.Answering a phone
Hai. Mori desu.
Hai. Tokyo Denki desu.
Hai. Tokyo Denki de gozaimasu.
Yes, it's Mori. (Mori desu.)
Yes, it's Tokyo Denki. (Tokyo Denki de gozaimasu.)

Moshimoshi means "Hello" on the phone and this is used only on the phone nowadays.

de gozaimasu is a much politer way to say desu.

2.Confirming the receiver on the phone
Mori-san no otaku desu ka?
Tokyo Denki-san desu ka?
Is that Mori-san's residence?
Is that Tokyo Denki?

When phoning a private number, use the phrase otaku desu ka? to confirm that it is the correct number. Otaku means "residence" by the way.

When confirming that it is the correct company or store you're phoning, add -san to the name of that company or store. This habit is also used in other contexts such as business meetings.

3.Identifying oneself
Yamashita to mooshimasu ga.
Yamashita desu ga.
My name is Yamashita.

When the receiver doesn't know who you are, say your name and add to mooshimasu.
When the receiver is already familiar with you, use desu.

ga at the end of a sentence, as in Yamashita desu ga., is used for softening the tone of the whole statement and is very often used in everyday conversation.

4.Asking for someone
Mori-san wa irasshaimasu ka?
Mori-san, onegai shimasu.
Is Mori-san there, please?
Mori-san, please.

irasshaimasu ka? is normally used but in a situation such as asking for a colleague of yours on the phone while you're out of the office, use onegai shimasu.

5.Telling someone's absence
Mori wa dekakete orimasu.
Mori wa dekakete imasu.
Mori is out.

When speaking to someone you don't know, use dekakete orimasu. When speaking to someone you know, use dekakete imasu.

6.Asking what time the person you wish to speak to will be back
Mori-san wa nan-ji goro o-modori ni narimasu ka?
Mori-san wa nan-ji goro o-kaeri desu ka?
O-modori wa nan-ji goro deshoo ka?
Around what time will Mori-san be back?

The above three sentences mean more or less the same. It is all right to use any of them.

7.Telling that someone is on the phone or at the meeting
Mori wa ima denwa-chuu desu.
Mori wa ima kaigi-chuu desu.
Mori is on the phone at the moment.
Mori is at the meeting right now.

When Mori-san belongs to the same unit with you, e.g. company, and you tell about Mori-san to someone who is outside your unit, you address Mori-san Mori without -san. If you, the person you're speaking to on the phone and Mori-san all belong to the same company, i.e. colleagues, you address Mori-san with -san.

8.Holding the line
Shooshoo o-machi kudasai.
Hold on a second, please.
9.Forwarding a phone call
Mori-san, Yamashita-san kara denwa desu.
Mori-san, a phone call for you from Yamashita-san.
10.Returning to the call which has been put on hold
Omatase shimashita.
Omatase itashimashita.
Thank you for waiting.

This expression can also be used in many other situations.

11.Telling that you will ring again later
Mata ato de o-denwa shimasu.
I'll ring again later, thanks.

O-denwa shimasu is an honorific expression. Use this when you phone a client company and the like. In the telephone conversation with a friend, you can use the usual phrase, denwa shimasu.

12. Leaving a message that you've called
(Mori-san ni) Yamashita kara denwa ga atta to o-tsutae kudasai.
Please tell (Mori-san) that I've called.
13.Asking someone to call back
Orikaeshi o-denwa itadaki-tai-n desu ga.
O-modori ni nattara, o-denwa itadaki-tai-n desu ga.
I would like him to ring me back.
I would like her to call me when she comes back.

Orikaeshi means "return" in Japanese. O-modori ni nattara means "when he/she comes back".

14.Asking who is calling
Shitsurei desu ga, dochirasama deshoo ka?
Excuse me but who's calling, please?

Dochirasama is the honorific form of dare "who".

15.Asking someone their telephone number
O-denwa-bangoo, onegai shimasu.
O-denwa-bangoo, onegai itashimasu.
May I have your telephone number?
16.Ending a call
Onegai itashimasu.
Onegai shimasu.
Shitsurei shimasu
Thank you.

How to hang up, i.e. how to end telephone conversation, depends on how the conversation progresses and reaches an end.

If you asked someone to do you a favour, you should conclude the conversation with Onegai shimasu "Please take care of the matter.". Arigatoo gozaimasu would be wrong.

You can use Arigatoo gozaimasu when you asked someone to do you a favour and this someone has done the favour for you. You asked someone to do you a favour and this someone has not done it yet, then, you cannot use Arigatoo gozaimasu.

Also, when leaving a message or requesting some information to be sent before hanging up, use Onegai shimasu instead of Arigatoo gozaimasu.

This applies in situations such as leaving clothes to a dry cleaner before leaving the shop.

If you didn't make any request during your call, you could say Shitsurei shimasu before hanging up. If it is a friend you've been speaking to, then, simply say Dewa or Mata.

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