who is he/she/that?
for the first time
first time meeting
treat me favorably
the group of
dare desu ka?
- ‘irasshai’ is used to welcome people that have arrived from a trip, or arriving for the first time; ‘irasshaimase’ is used to welcome people to stores and restaurants.
Eng: Where in America do you live?
lit: Do you live in America’s where?
America no doko ni sunde i-masu ka?
アメリカの どこに すんでいますか。
America no doko ni sunde iru?
アメリカの どこに すんでいる。
The following comments explain some of the grammar in more detail.
Suffixes and Prefixes
-tachi – たち
‘-tachi’ is a suffix that means ‘the group of people with someone’. In some cases this has a direct translation to English, e.g., ‘watashi-tachi’, is the ‘the group of people with me’, or ‘we’; in some other cases it does not, e.g., ‘sensei-tachi’ is the group of people with sensei’, which is simply ‘the teacher and the group of people with him/her’.
me & my group
me & my group
you & your group
you & your group
John & his group
The ‘-tachi’ suffix can only be attached to personal pronouns.
hajime-mashite / yoroshiku
These two greetings show up on the first encounter with a person. First comes ‘hajime mashite’ that means ‘This is the first time we meet’ because, indeed, it is only used the first time you meet; after this comes the exchange of names and/or affiliations, and finally, we close the introduction with a version of ‘yoroshiku’, which means ‘treat me well’, or ‘favor me with your friendship’. As usual, the longer the intro, the more respectful it is:
- hajime mashite. tanaka desu. douzo yoroshiku onegai shimashita.
- hajime mashite. tanaka desu. douzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
- hajime mashite. tanaka desu. yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
- hajime mashite. tanaka desu. douzo yoroshiku.
- hajime mashite. tanaka desu. yoroshiku.
- hajime mashite. tanaka desu. douzo.
We will translate ‘hajime mashite’ as ‘Glad to meet you’, and ‘yoroshiku’ as ‘how do you do’.
‘o-hairi’ is the honorific ‘o-‘ with a variation of the verb 入る (hairu, to enter). Thus, together with ‘kudasai’, which means ‘please, do for me’ we find that ‘o-hairi kudasai’ means ‘respected person, do me the favor of entering’. This can be made more polite preceding the whole thing with another ‘please’ in the form of ‘douzo’.
The polite invitation of the host should be followed by a polite acknowledgement that we are intruding. If we are entering someone’s house, this is done with ‘o-jama shimasu’, which means ‘(I’m sorry) I am a nuisance (entering your house)’; if we are not being invited to a house but instead we are entering, say, a conference room, or a doctor’s office, or something similar, then the response is ‘shitsurei shimasu’, which is ‘(I’m sorry) I’m being rude (entering your business)’.
Hence, the invitation to enter is:
- douzo. o-hairi kudasai.
- o-hairi kudasai.
and the acknowledgement is
- doumo arigatou gozai-masu. [o-jama / shitsurei] shimasu.
- arigatou gozai-masu. [o-jama / shitsurei] shimasu.
- doumo arigatou. [o-jama / shitsurei] shimasu.
- arigatou. [o-jama / shitsurei] shimasu.
- doumo. [o-jama / shitsurei] shimasu.
- [o-jama / shitsurei] shimasu.