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Greetings, desu (to be), and the particle wa

Let’s review what you’ve learned in Vocabulary Builder 1.

Greetings

You learned how to greet a person:

in the morning おはようございます。 Ohayoo gozaimasu.
in the afternoon こんにちは。 Konnichi wa.
in the evening こんばんは。 Konban wa.
parting at night or before going to sleep おやすみなさい。 Oyasuminasai.

You also learned how to say how do you do? and nice to meet you:

How do you do? はじめまして。 Hajimemashite.
Nice to meet you. どうぞよろしく。 Doozo yoroshiku.

You also learned how to introduce yourself and ask someone for their name:

I am … わたしは~です。 Watashi wa …desu.
What’s your name? おなまえは? Onamae wa?

です desu and wa

The Japanese equivalent of to be, です desu, comes at the end of a sentence. わたし Watashi is the first person pronoun, the equivalent of I in English, and wa is a particle that follows the topic of a sentence. Particles are used to indicate the different function of words in a sentence. In many cases, the topic particle wa is used after the subject of a sentence. We’ll learn more about other particles in future lessons.

Introducing Yourself

When you are introducing yourself in Japanese, you should use your family name, as it is customary in Japan to call a person by his or her family name. However, most Japanese people know that first names are commonly used in English, and may offer to use first names in your conversation.