Expressing Emotions

two female friends walking with shopping bags
Michael H / Getty Images

You will need quite a bit of experience in, and understanding of, a culture to speak its language naturally. If the proper expression does not come to mind instantly, it will sound like you are reading it. When you have a chance to hear the Japanese speaking, listen carefully to the way they speak as well as to their facial expressions. If you are interested in these exclamatory expressions, Japanese comic books (manga), which include many of them, might be good a resource to explore.

Here are some of the widely used expressions. Remember that exclamations are used almost always in informal style.

AAa 
あ、ああ
Oh.
A, nagareboshi da! 
あ、流れ星だ! 
Oh, that's a shooting star!
AreeOyaMaa 
あれえ、 おや、まあ
Oh my! Gee!
Maa, kirei na nagame nee! 
まあ、きれいな眺めねえ。 
Oh my, what a nice view!
("Maa" is used by women only.)
E 
え 
What?
E, Shigoto yameta no. 
え、 仕事やめたの。
What, you quit your job?
Masaka! 
まさか! 
No kidding!
Masaka sonna koto ga aruhazu nai yo! 
まさかそんなことがあるはずないよ! 
That can't be!
Hee! 
へえ!
Really!
Hee, sore wa yokatta ne! 
へえ、それは良かったね!
Wow, that's great!
Naruhodo 
なるほど 
I see.
Naruhodo, sou iu koto datta no ka. 
なるほど、そういうことだったのか。
I see, that's the way it was.
Yare yare 
やれやれ
Oh boy!
Yare yare, nante koto da! 
やれやれ、なんてことだ!
Oh boy, what a disaster!

 

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Abe, Namiko. "Expressing Emotions." ThoughtCo, Jun. 23, 2017, thoughtco.com/japanese-exclamations-4077274. Abe, Namiko. (2017, June 23). Expressing Emotions. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/japanese-exclamations-4077274 Abe, Namiko. "Expressing Emotions." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/japanese-exclamations-4077274 (accessed November 20, 2017).