Make a Phone Call in Japanese

We've mostly been covering basic greetings so far. But now it's time for us to really dig in to Japanese that we'll use in lessons, specifically.

We'll start with... making the phone call!

If you're using Skype, then all you should need to do is open the program, then sit and wait until your teacher calls. Some of them will just call right at the allotted lesson time. Others may send you a message in the chat box warning you that they are about to call.

In any case, the important thing is that you do not have to initiate the call — your teacher should be the one to do that.

But what do I say when my teacher calls me?!

Say what people say when answering a phone call:

もしもし。
もしもし。
Hello?
Literally: "hello (on the phone)."

Your teacher will say this back to you, most likely.

If the connection is bad, and you can't hear your teacher, you can say it a second time:

もしもし。
もしもし。
Hello?
Literally: "hello (on the phone)."

If you want to convey to your teacher that you cannot hear them very well, then you can say this:

よく聞こえません。
よく きこえません。
I can't hear you very well.
Literally: "well + are not audible."

If you can't hear your teacher at all, then remove the よく and just say 聞こえません (きこえません).

If you suspect that maybe your teacher can't hear you, then you can ask this:

聞こえますか?
きこえます か?
Can you hear me?
Literally: "am audible + か?"

We're not going to cover every single phrase you might want to use in this situation, but here are some others:

  • はい(はい // Yes
  • 聞こえます(きこえます // I can hear you
  • 聞こえません(きこえません // I can't hear you
Starting a phone call is a bit of a disorienting process, at times.

Once everything gets squared away, you can say this to your teacher (who will also say it to you, most likely):

よろしくおねがいします。
Thank you for meeting with me.
Literally: "please treat me well."

↑ This phrase is a bit of a nightmare for translators because it's very hard to put into English. I have found that thinking of it as literally meaning, "Please treat me well" can be helpful.

よろしくおねがいします is said at the beginning of all kinds of interactions with other people. The nuance is that you want to have friendly relations with the person listening when doing whatever it is you plan to do.

Rather than try to understand it via my limited explanations, I recommend just getting out there and interacting with Japanese speakers. You will hear this phrase nonstop.



Practice time:

もしもし。
Hello?
Literally: "hello (on the phone)."

もしもし?
Hello?
Literally: "hello (on the phone)?"

聞こえますか?
きこえます か?
Can you hear me?
Literally: "am audible + か?"

よく聞こえません。
よく きこえません。
I can't hear you very well.
Literally: "well + are not audible."

よろしくおねがいします。
Thank you for meeting with me.
Literally: "please treat me well."




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