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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hokudai/Cast 98: How Do You Say...?

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(Believe it or not, that was a sneeze.) Como se dice Japon en ingles? That's Spanish for 'How do you say Japan in English?' 'Como se dice' in Japanese is '何と言いますか?' Let's start backwards. 'か' means whatever you said before it is a question. For example,

Today is Saturday.

We can make into a question by adding か:

Now it means, 'Is today Saturday?'

'何と言いますか?' iimasu (言います) means ' to say' from the verb iu (言う). Nanto (何と) means 'what is.' 'to (と)' is an indicator that goes with the verb iu. Before iu (言う) we often say to (と). And 'nan' (何) means 'what?'

So, 'What do you say this word?' would actually be "How do you say this?" in Japanese.

This is useful for nouns but it's not so useful for verbs unless you like to spend a lot of time doing pantomime. However, it's very important if you are going to a country that speaks English to learn how to say "How do you say..."? and then point at something.

How do you say this? How do you say that?

This is one way you can increase your vocabulary in any language if you learn how to say "How do you say...?" or '何と言いますか?' or 'Como se dice?" The more you use it perhaps the larger your vocabulary will become.

Thank you and good luck.
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Mirai Sozo is the School of Future Learning at Hokuriku University. The primary focus is on language (English and Chinese) and management (hospital administration, sports, and business).
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