Survive a Lesson

Now we're getting into the good stuff.

One terrifying thing about taking a lesson online is not knowing what is going to happen when your teacher says things that you don't understand, or when you don't know how to express what you want to say.

This lesson should help you get through such situations without too much trouble.

Specifically, we're going to look at:

  1. Asking the Japanese for English words.
  2. Asking the meaning of Japanese words.
  3. Asking the teacher to repeat things.
  4. Asking the teacher to speak more slowly.
  5. Asking the teacher to write what they're saying.

Here we go...


1. Asking the Japanese for English words.

Here is our sentence pattern for this one:

「dog」の日本語は何ですか?
「ドッグ」 の にほんご は なん です か?
What is "dog" in Japanese?
Literally: "dog + の + Japanese (language) + は + what + です + か?"

As you might have guessed, you can replace the word "dog" with whatever English word it is that you want to say.

This phrase isn't much use unless your teacher knows some English. But a lot of teachers are at least conversational in English, so there is a good chance that they'll be able to help you.


2. Asking the meaning of Japanese words.

Your teacher is going to say words and phrases that you don't understand.

This is a good thing. If we understood everything our teachers were saying, then we wouldn't be learning much, would we?

Let's say that your teacher used the word 大丈夫 (だいじょうぶ), which means "OK" or "all right" in Japanese.

If you were unfamiliar with this word when your teacher said it, you could ask...

「大丈夫」ってどういう意味ですか?
「だいじょうぶ」 って どういう いみ です か?
What does "daijoubu" mean?
Literally: "OK / all right + って + what kind of + meaning + です + か?"

Switch out 大丈夫 (だいじょうぶ) with whatever word it is that you want to know the meaning of.


3. Asking the teacher to repeat things.

I have mixed feelings about this one.

As a student of Japanese, we are going to want people to repeat themselves quite a bit. If we're talking to a teacher, then they hopefully will repeat what they've said when we ask them to.

In real life, however, people rarely say the same thing a second time for you. Instead, they'll try to make what they said easier or speak English when we ask "Could you say that once more, please?" Grr. Student struggles.

Anyway, the following phrase is at least useful in lessons...

もう一度言ってもらえますか?
もう いちど いって もらえます か?
Could you say that once more, please?
Literally: "once more + say (and) + can (I) receive + か?"

Is this ~てもらえますか request ending overwhelming you? We cover a ton of requests like this in the Bunkai Beast Grammar Course.

You're technically asking "can (I) receive [action]?" with "[action]" being the verb that you've put into て-form. We'll see this in our three remaining request, too.


4. Asking the teacher to speak more slowly.

Japanese people have a tendency to talk fast.

With an experienced teacher, this might not be a problem because they're used to talking to low-level students. But there are still times when they'll probably blow you away with their high-speed phrasing.

When overwhelmed with rapid-fire successions of kana coming from your teacher's mouth, you can ask...

もう少しゆっくり話してもらえますか?
もう すこし ゆっくり はなして もらえます か?
Could you speak a bit more slowly, please?
Literally: "a bit more + slowly + speak (and) + can (I) receive + か?"

Again, their response depends a lot on experience, I think. People that are not used to talking with students often have a difficult time slowing down what they're saying. When Rei was just getting started with English, I used to ask my parents to talk more slowly to her. They just couldn't do it. I'm not sure why. I've met some Japanese people that were the same.

Oh, well. All we can do is ask them to slow down and hope for the best. And take comfort in the fact that our listening skills will be much, much better in the future.


5. Asking the teacher to write what they're saying.

This is one phrase that I use a lot in my Japanese lessons:

チャットボックスに書いてもらえますか?
チャットボックス に かいて もらえます か?
Could you please write it in the chat box?
Literally: "chat box + に + write (and) + can (I) receive + か?"

Wait. I thought we weren't supposed to be using the Skype chat box...

You're right. We shouldn't. But if you're like me, then sometimes you'll be too lazy to explain to a new teacher that you want to use a Google Doc with them, at least for the first lesson.

In any case, you can just drop of the チャットボックスに part.

By simply saying 書いてもらえますか? (かいて もらえます か?) your teacher should understand that you mean "Could you please write it (in the Google Doc)?"

I use this phrase all the time for two reasons: (1) It's easy to look up the meaning of a word during the lesson if it's written down (especially if you can just hover over it thanks to a browswer plug-in, like we talked about earlier), and (2) there are a lot of words that I want to review after the lesson is complete.

Well, that's it. You're now prepared to handle any unfamiliar phrases your teacher throws your way. Props to you!

The sentences we looked at in this lesson are a bit longer than the other ones we've seen so far, so you might want to spend extra time practicing them and using the shadow loops below.


Practice time:

「dog」の日本語は何ですか?
「ドッグ」 の にほんご は なん です か?
What is "dog" in Japanese?
Literally: "dog + の + Japanese (language) + は + what + です + か?"

「大丈夫」ってどういう意味ですか?
「だいじょうぶ」 って どういう いみ です か?
What does "daijoubu" mean?
Literally: "OK / all right + って + what kind of + meaning + です + か?"

もう一度言ってもらえますか?
もう いちど いって もらえます か?
Could you say that once more, please?
Literally: "once more + say (and) + can (I) receive + か?"

もう少しゆっくり話してもらえますか?
もう すごし ゆっくり はなして もらえます か?
Could you speak a bit more slowly, please?
Literally: "a bit more + slowly + speak (and) + can (I) receive + か?"

チャットボックスに書いてもらえますか?
チャットボックス に かいて もらえます か?
Could you please write it in the chat box?
Literally: "chat box + に + write (and) + can (I) receive + か?"




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