相槌= あいづち= aizuchi = gap filler

April 15, 2015 in Colloquial, conversation, Expressions


ミトンズ: 「実は、犬と付き合っているの…」

= Mitonzu: “Jitsu wa, inu to tsukiatteiruno…”

=Mittens:  “You know I am seeing a dog.”

フ:「うそっ! ほんとに?」

Fu : “Uso! Honto ni?

Fu : “No way! Really?”


= Maji hikuwaa…

= Now that really creeps me out.

Hi everyone! Today we have two lovely cat teachers, ミトンズ ( = Mitonzu) and ( = Fu).
They are having a secret 恋バナ ( = koibana), a  love story, a romantic story.
Hmm… I wonder who she is dating …

こんにちは!= Konnichiwa! = Hello!!

ミトンズとフです。= Mitonzu to Fu desu. = We are Mittens and Fu.

Today we will teach you  ★相槌/ 相づち ( = aizuchi )★

The linguistic translation of 相槌 / 相づち( = aizuchi ) is “back-channel feedback”. In other words, it’s conversation gap filler — short and quick responses made while listening to someone to show your interest or willingness to hear their story or to encourage the speaker to keep talking. Examples of this in English would be: “Right.”, “Uh-huh”, “Oh really?”, “I see.”, etc.

★the verb :

 :rrrr: 相槌を打つ = 相づちを打つ = aizuchi wo utsu

= to give back-channel feedback.

(The literal translation is “to hit the hammer“.)

We realized during our meeting with Maggie Sensei and Yukari that they nodded and used interjections much more than we usually do.
They said if we don’t do the same, they’ll feel uncomfortable because they won’t be able to tell if we are listening to them attentively or not.
So today we’ll learn a lot of different kinds of useful interjections. They’ll help you sound more natural and help the conversation along.

★To show you are listening:

When you listen to someone, you nod and say:


= Hai, (hai, hai…)

=  Yes. / I see. / Uh-huh. / OK.


= Ee… (Ee..)

= Yes. /  I see. / Uh-huh. / OK.




= Un, (un, un)

= Yeah. / Uh-huh. / I see. / Mm hm.

Note: はい ( = hai) ,ええ ( = ee) and うん ( = un) are usually used as “Yes” to answer someone’s question. But in this case, you  just  say these to show the speaker that you are listening to them.
Sometimes you repeat はい ( = hai) ,ええ ( = ee) and うん ( = un) a few times (or more.)
If you have a chance to listen to Japanese conversations, you will hear a lot of はい ( = hai) ,ええ ( = ee) and うん ( = un) accompanied with nodding.

We will show you how to make gap fillers.

A: 「明日の会議ですが、」

= Ashita no kaigi desuga,

= As for the meeting for tomorrow…

B: 「はい。」

= Hai.

= Yes.

A: 「村上さんがまだ大阪にいて、」

= Murakamisan ga mada Osaka ni ite,

= Mr. Murakami is still in Osaka and…

B: 「ええ。」

= Ee.

= OK.

A: 「2時から始めたいと思っているのですが、」

= Niji kara hajimetai to omotte iru nodesu ga,

= I would like to start at 2:00…

B: 「はい」

= Hai

= Sure.

A: 「みんなに知らせてくれますか?」

= Minna ni shirasete kuremasu ka?

= Could you tell everybody (about this)?

B: 「はい、わかりました。」

= Hai, wakarimashita.

= OK, I will take care of it.

OK, here are some more gap fillers. Some of them are very colloquial. You may not see them in your textbooks.
These are not just for verbal usage. You can use them when you write comments on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

★When you agree with what the speaker said / When you support the speaker’s point of view:

Ex. 「人生は楽しむためにあるんだよね。」

= Jinsei wa tanoshimu tame ni arunda yone.

= You have to enjoy your life, you know.

 :rrrr: 「そうですね。」

= Soudedsune.

= That’s right. / You should. / I agree.


Ex. 「日本の温泉、最高!」

= Nihon no onsen, saikou!

= Japanese hot springs are the best!



= Soudesu yone!

= That’s right. / I agree.

(This shows stronger agreement than そうですね ( = Soudesune))


 (Casual but polite)


= Desu yo ne!

= That’s right! / I agree!

(casual / slightly feminine )


= Dayonee~

= That’s right. /  I agree.

Ex.「 あんな彼のことは忘れてもっといい人を見つける!」(casual)

=Anna kare no koto wa wasurete motto ii hito wo mitsukeru!

= I will forget about that guy and find someone better.


Encouraging the speaker.



= Soudayo.

= That’s right. /  I agree.



= Sousou!

= That’s right! / I agree! / There you go!


Ex. 「 マギー先生はいつも宿題を一杯だすけどチェックしないから宿題をやっても無駄だよね。」

= Maggie Sensei wa itsumo shukudai wo ippai dasukedo chekku shinai kara shukudai wo yatte mo muda dayone.

= Maggie Sensei always gives us homework but she never checks it. I think doing homework is a waste of time.


What you said is right.



= Ieteru!

= That’s right! / Exactly! / Right! / Tell me about it!


Ex. 「週末、休みがないのはきついな。」(male)

= Shuumatsu, yasumi ga nai nowa kitsuina.

= It’s tough not being able to take day off on the weekend.


(casual / male )


= Dayona!

= That’s right! / Exactly!


= Mattaku!

= Exactly!


Ex. 「やっぱりここのラーメンは美味しいなあ。」

= Yappari koko no raamen wa oishii naa.

= As I expected, the ramen here is the best.




= Desho!

= Isn’t it?  (I think so, too!/ I told you!)

(casual/ stronger)

*「でしょ! でしょ!」

= Desho! Desho!

= Isn’t it?!? / I told you it’s good!

★To share the same feeling. (You are on the same side of the speaker.)

Ex. ミトン 「私達は人間よりも日本語上手だもんね。」(casual)

= Miton “Watashitachi wa ningen yori mo nihongo jouzu damon ne.

= Mittens “Our Japanese is better than human beings’ Japanese, isn’t it?”


(casual / girlie)

フ 「ね~!」

= Fu: “Nee!”

= Fu: “That’s right!”

★When you understand the speaker’s point or emphasize their feelings.

Ex. 「主人を亡くしてから家で一人でいるのが寂しくて…」

= Shujin wo nakushite kara ie de hitori de iru no ga sabishikute…

= Since I lost my husband, I feel really lonely staying home alone…



= (Okimochi) Yoku wakarimasu.

= I know exactly how you feel. / I understand very much.


Ex. 「彼のことを思うとご飯も喉に通らないんだ。」

= Kare no koto wo omouto gohan mo nodo ni tooranainda.

= When I think of him, I can’t even eat…


(casual / a little feminine )


= Wakaruu!

= I know (how you feel)!

(casual / a little feminine )


= Wakaru, wakaru!

= I know (how you feel)!

★When you encourage a speaker to talk more.

Ex. 「昨日、財布を家に忘れてきちゃってさあ。」

= Kinou, saifu wo ie ni wasurete kichatte saa.

= You know I left my wallet at home yesterday

(Note: さあ( = saa) is a casual suffix)



= Sorede doushitan desu ka?

= And what happened? / And what did you do?



= Sorede doushita no?

= And what happened? / And what did you do?



= Eh, sorede?

= And then what happened?

★To show you’re interested in something someone has just said:

Ex. 「これが私の描いた絵です。」

= Kore ga watashi no kaita e desu.

= This is the picture I draw.


「ほお~」 /「 ほう 」( a bit old fashioned / older men use this more)
= Hoo…/ Hou…
= Wow…

Ex. 「これ、マギーからもらったの。」

= “Kore, Maggie kara morattano.

= I got this from Maggie.



= Hee

= Oh…(I see…)


= fuun.

= Oh…(I see…)

Note: へ〜  (=hee) changes the nuance depending on the intonation. When you say it enthusiastically, you show your interests and if you say it in a lower tone,  you show your indifference.

ふ〜ん (=fuun) is usually use when you are not that interested.


Ex. 「彼、大阪に引っ越したらしいよ。」

= Kare, Osaka ni hikkoshitarashiiyo.

= I heard he moved to Osaka.



= Hee sounanda.

= Oh, really?

★When you just found out something or the the reason something happened, etc.

Ex. 「電源が入っていないから動かなかったのです。」

= Dengen ga haitte inai kara ugokanakatta nodesu.

= It didn’t work because the power was off.



= Aaa~

= Oh… (that’s why it didn’t work…)


Ex. 「いろいろあって会社をやめることにしました。」

= Iroiro atte kaisha wo yameru koto ni shimashita.

= Many things happened and I decided to leave the company



= Sounan desuka.

= Oh I see..


= Aa sou.

= Oh really./ Oh I see.

(more casual)


= Sokka~

= Oh I see…

★To show your surprise

Ex. 「彼が警察に捕まったらしいよ。」

= Kare ga keisatu ni tsukamatta rashii yo.

= I heard he was arrested by police.



= Masaka

= No way! / It’s impossible!


= Shinjirarenai desu.

= I can’t believe it.



= Shinjirarenai.

= I can’t believe it. / Unbelievable



= Uso!

= No kidding! / Get out of here!


= Hontou desu ka?

= Really? / Seriously?




= Hontou?

= Really? / Seriously? / No way!


(more casual)


= Really? / Seriously? / No way!

Note: You can write REALLY both ways: 本当 (ほんとう / hontou) & ほんと (honto).

Ex. 「ノビ太が静香ちゃんと付き合っているらしいよ。」

= Nobita ga Shizuka chan to tsukiatte iru rashii yo.

= I heard Nobita is seeing Shizuka.


(casual / slang)


= Maji de?

= Seriously? / No kidding! / No way!


= Maji?

= Seriously? / No kidding! / No way!

「マジか!」(male speech)

= Majika!

= Seriously? / No kidding! / No way!


= Arienai!

= No way! / It can’t be!


Ex. 「この時計、50万円もしたんだ。」

= Kono tokei, gojuuman-en mo shitanda.

= This watch cost me 500,000 yen.



「うわ~ 」(could be negative or positive)

= Uwaa

= Wow…


= Eehh?

= What???


= Sonnani?

= That much?


Ex. 「納豆に砂糖を入れて食べてみたよ。」

= Nattou ni satou wo irete tabete mitayo.

= I tried Natto with sugar.




= Gee!

= Yikes!

Note : Maybe this is just how you react…

★When you hear exciting news:


= Konnsaato no ken, amatta kara ageru!

= I got an extra concert ticket so I will give one  to you.




= Waai!!

= Yay!!



= Waa yattaa!!

= Yay! / Yippee!/ Yes!

(very casual)


= Ee…maji de?

= No way!



= Toudai ni ukatta yo!

= I passed Tokyo University!



= Sugoi desu ne!

= That’s great! / Good for you!



= Sugoi!

= Great!! / Wow! That’s great! / Awesome!


= Sugoooi!

= Woow! / Greaaat! / Awesome!


= Sugoinaa.

= Woow! / Greaaat! /  Awesome!

スゲー (male speech/ a bit rough)

= Sugee!

= Wow! / That’s great! / Awesome!



= Ahita kara nyuuyooku ni ikunda.

=I’m going to N.Y. from tomorrow.



= Waa, ii desunee.

= Wow, that’s great! / Good for you! / I’m jealous!



= Waa, iinaa…

= Wow, that’s great! / Good for you! / I’m jealous!



= Waa, iinee.

= Wow, that’s great! / Good for you! / I’m jealous!


= Sore wa tanoshimi desune.

= That is very exciting!



= Sore wa tanoshimi dane.

= That is very exciting!

(casual / male speech, a little rough)


= Sore wa tanoshimi dana.

= That is very exciting!


Ex. 「実は、今年、結婚することになりました。」

= Jitsu wa, kotoshi kekkon suru koto ni narimashita.

= Actually, I am going to get married this year.


「わ~!! 」

= Waa!!

= Wow!!


= Waa omedetou!

= Wow! Congrats!


= Yokatta desune.

= I am very happy for you.



= Yokattane.

= Good for you! / I’m happy for you!

(casual / male speech, a little rough)


= Yokattana

= Good for you! / I’m happy for you!

★When you hear something unfortunate:


= Jitsu wa, saikin, kubi ni narimashita.

= Actually, I got fired recently.



= Soudesuka.

= Is that so? / Oh I see…


= Sou…

= Oh is that so…. / Oh I see…

(casual / male speech, a little rough)


= Souka,

= Oh is that so…. / I see…


Ex. 「アルゼンチンに行くんだけど30時間もかかるんだって。」

= Aruzenchin ni ikundakedo sanjuujikan mo kakarun datte.

= I am going to Argentina, but it’s going to take 30 hours.



= Sore wa kitsui desune.

= That’s tough, isn’t it?




= Sore wa kitsuine.

= That’s tough, isn’t it?


(casual / male speech, a little rough)


= Sore wa kitsui na.

= That’s tough, isn’t it?

★When someone asks your opinion and you don’t know what to say:


= Kono mondai ni tsuite dou omoimasu ka?

= What do you think about this problem?



= Soudesunee.

= Well…. / Hmmm



= Uunn…

= Well…. / Hmmm

★Showing feeling of disgust or surprise:

Ex. ミトンズ「彼、フのこと好きなんじゃない?」

Mitonzu “Kare, Fu no koto sukinan janai?”

Mitttens “I think he has a crush on you”


(casual / girly /childish)


= Yadaa!!

= No way!

Note: やだ( = yada) is also used to show surprise.


= Yamete yo!

= Now stop it!

★When you want to show doubt or disagreement

Ex. 「女性はやっぱり家にいてうちのことをやって欲しいんだよね。」

= Josei wa yappari ie ni ite uchi no koto wo yatte hoshiin dayone.

= After all I want women should stay home and  do housework.



= Sou deshou ka?

= Is that so?  (I don’t think so)


= Sou kanaa?

= I wonder if you are right.

★When you want to avoid expressing your opinion in a subtle way:

Ex. 「もう彼と別れた方がいいのかなあ。」

= Mou kare to wakareta hou ga ii no kanaa.

= Do you think I should break up with him now?


「そうですね~…. 」

= Soudesunee…

= Well…..

Note: This might be very confusing but if you say そうですね ( = Soudesune) , it means “Yes, you are right. You should break up with him.” and you give your opinion.
But if you stretch the last letter, ね~(=nee) (or  ねええ=nee) ,  the listener can tell you are not sure.


= Uuun…

= Hmm…


= Maanee…

= You could be right but…


= Saa…

= Well… I don’t know…

★From the picture :


= Mitonzu : “Jitsu wa inu to tsukiatteiruno…”

=Mittens :  “You know I am seeing a dog.”


Fu = Uso! Honto ni?

Fu = No way! Really?


= Maji hikuwaa…

= Now that really creeps me out.

Note : マジひくわ。= Maji hiku wa. or マジでひくわ。= Maji de hiku wa.

is a very colloquial expression when you see / hear something too weird or creepy.


Mitonzu: Kore de watashitachi no ressun wo owarimasu. Mata mina to kokode aetara iina.

Mittens: Now we’ll wrap up this lesson. We hope to see you here again.


Fu: Honto! Honto!!

Fu:  I hope so, too!

maggie-senseiマギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei


= Kikijouzu no hito wa moterun datte.
= I heard good listeners are very popular with girls and boys.

= Minna mo kono ressun de benkyou shite kikijouzu ni nattene.
= Hope you become a good listener by studying this lesson.