Toll Free: (800) 790-3680

Japanese Conversation Openers and Fillers

From Namiko Abe,
Your Guide to Japanese Language.

In conversations, openers and fillers are used quite often. They don't always have specific meanings. Openers are used as signals that you are about to say something, or to smooth communication. Fillers are usually used for pauses or hesitation. English also has similar expressions such as "so," "like," "you know," and so on. When you have opportunity to hear native speakers' conversation, listen carefully and examine how and when they are used. Here are some openers and fillers frequently used.

 

Marking a new topic

Sore de
それで So
De
で So (informal)

 

Saying something off the topic

Tokorode
ところで By the way
Hanashi wa chigaimasu ga
話が違いますが To change the subject
Hanashi chigau kedo
話、違うけど To change the subject (informal)

 

Adding to the current topic

Tatoeba
たとえば For example
Iikaereba
言い換えれば In other words
Souieba
そういえば Speaking of
Gutaiteki ni iu to
具体的に言うと More concretely

 

Bringing up the main topic

Jitsu wa
実は The fact is ~, To tell the truth

 

Shortening the preliminary topics

Sassoku desu ga
さっそくですが May I come straight
to the point?

Free Quote

Introducing someone or something you have just noticed

A, Aa, Ara
あ、ああ、あら "ara" is mainly used by
female speakers.

Note: "Aa" can also be used to show that you understand.

 

Hesitation Sounds

Ano, Anou
あの、あのう Used to get
the listener's attention.
Eeto
ええと Let me see ...
Ee
ええ Uhh ...
Maa
まあ Well, say ...

 

Asking for repetition

E

(with a rising intonation) What?
Haa
はあ
(with a rising intonation) What? (informal)

Japanese Translation Articles:

Translation Services USA® is the registered trademark of Translation Cloud LLC, New York

© 2002–2017 Translation Services USA, all rights reserved.