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#1
Old 04-19-2004, 07:12 PM
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Meaning of "Ah so", please.

I heard this expression quite a bit when I was in Japan, and because of context took it to mean pretty much what it sounds like in english. Ah, so you want a ticket to Tokyo, eh? I also, initially at least, took "hi" to mean "hello". Those poor, patient waitresses had heard it all a million times and still acted like they thought it was funny.
Anyway, what does the ticket agent mean when he looks at where I point on the schedule and says "Ah so".
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#2
Old 04-19-2004, 07:22 PM
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remember the old saw that the Japanese have trouble pronouncing the letter "L?"

He was calling you an "asshole!"
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#3
Old 04-19-2004, 07:23 PM
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Basically, it just means "ah, ok" or "got it." If it's pronounced like a question, it would mean "really?"

Also, the 'o' is usually stretched out for an extra beat, so it's usually romanized as 'soo'.

You might also hear the slightly more formal "soo, desu" which means "that's right," or "soo, desu nee" which means "yeah, that's true, isn't it?" and is usually accompanied by a lot of nodding and agreeing.

"soo ka na," however, means roughly "I don't think that's correct."
#4
Old 04-19-2004, 07:24 PM
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Anyway, what does the ticket agent mean when he looks at where I point on the schedule and says "Ah so".

Depending on context it can mean a couple of things but in this circumstance I would interpret it as "I see what you mean". It can also mean "that's right".
#5
Old 04-19-2004, 07:31 PM
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While I don't know for sure, the other posters' answers do seem to make sense. Think of it as "shorthand" for "ah, so it is."
#6
Old 04-19-2004, 07:45 PM
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The "ah" part = "oh" in English.

The "so" (or "sou," if you wanna get picky about romanization) is somewhat equivalent to "that." The man left off the copula "desu," which is common in spoken language.

anyway, "ah, sou desu" would mean "oh, that's it," or more naturally, "oh, I see" in English.
#7
Old 04-19-2004, 09:48 PM
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My nickname is the informal way to say "soo desu, ne". Desu becomes da, and I shortened the o so people don't call me Sue.
#8
Old 04-19-2004, 10:53 PM
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They even had a boy named 'Sue' in Japan?
#9
Old 04-20-2004, 12:09 AM
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And you typically won't here the "u" in "desu" pronounced, especially by men.

You'll hear: "Ah, soo des" with the "oo" denoting long o, not the typical English "oo" of "look" or "book".
#10
Old 04-20-2004, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by so_da_ne
My nickname is the informal way to say "soo desu, ne". Desu becomes da, and I shortened the o so people don't call me Sue.
Bit of fun trivia: in my neck of the woods it's "so ya ne."
#11
Old 04-20-2004, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RindaRinda
Bit of fun trivia: in my neck of the woods it's "so ya ne."
[hijack]
I studied a bit of Japanese in college, and I seem to remember hearing that Kansai-ben is far enough removed from standard Japanese that people who speak the two dialects sometimes have difficulty understanding one another. Is that actually the case? It just seems odd to me that two dialects in such close physical proximity would be so different.
[/hijack]
#12
Old 04-20-2004, 01:06 AM
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Anyway, what does the ticket agent mean when he looks at where I point on the schedule and says "Ah so".
Sometime "ah so" implies that sometime need to be considered. If it were a slam dunk request, he may just say wakarimashita. ah so and ah so desu ka are also often used after hearing bad news, such as when one's request is denied, but that wouldn't be the case here.
#13
Old 04-20-2004, 01:09 AM
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I take it that the word "so" being used to answer a question (meaning "yes") is the same word as in "s desu"?
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#14
Old 04-20-2004, 01:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Random
[hijack]
I studied a bit of Japanese in college, and I seem to remember hearing that Kansai-ben is far enough removed from standard Japanese that people who speak the two dialects sometimes have difficulty understanding one another. Is that actually the case? It just seems odd to me that two dialects in such close physical proximity would be so different.
[/hijack]
First of all, it depends on what generation you are speaking to. Some of the older folks (say, in their 70's and above) are nearly impossible to understand. Their speech is fairly removed from standard Japanese. Also, they speak in sub-dialects of Kansai-ben, so a person from one village may speak quite differently than a person from a village not 50 miles away.

However, the language I hear spoken by younger people is much easier to understand. I believe that Kansai-ben, and most other dialects, have been watered down over the years, so it's not difficult to figure out what they are saying from context. The vocabulary they use is not so different - perhaps it's comparable to American vs British English. Anyway, I had little trouble figuring out what people are saying. As for native Japanese, there are many entertainers from the Kansai area on TV and in the movies, so people are fairly used to hearing Kansai-ben.

On the other hand, the dialects of more remote prefectures, such as Akita and Kagoshima, are really, really different. I heard some Akita-ben once, and it may as well have been Korean.

Sorry about the hijack.
#15
Old 04-20-2004, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_mcl
I take it that the word "so" being used to answer a question (meaning "yes") is the same word as in "s desu"?
Yes. It's like saying, "that's so" or "that's right."
#16
Old 04-20-2004, 03:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RindaRinda
Bit of fun trivia: in my neck of the woods it's "so ya ne."
It wouldn't be 'so ya na'?
#17
Old 04-20-2004, 05:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cckerberos
It wouldn't be 'so ya na'?
It could be either "na" or "ne," but you're right - "na" is more common than "ne," whether spoken by men or women. My bad.
#18
Old 04-20-2004, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RindaRinda
It could be either "na" or "ne," but you're right - "na" is more common than "ne," whether spoken by men or women. My bad.
Actually, it depends on where you are. "Ya" for "da" is associated with Kansai but it's used commonly in other areas as well. You get every permutation of "sou/se", "da/ya", and "na/ne". Around here, "so ya ne" is standard.

Additional info about "so":
One of the fundamental elements of Japanese grammar is known as the ko-so-a-do. "Ko" refers to that which is close to the speaker. "So" is close to the person being spoken to, "a" is far from both and "do" is a question. Those aren't words in themselves but many words are formed from these syllables. For instance:
Kore: this thing (close to me)
Sore: that thing (close to you)
Are: that thing over there
Dore: which one?

"So" is part of the following series:
Kou: this way (as I'm showing/telling you)
Sou: that way (as you're telling me)
Aa: that way (as something over there is showing)
Dou: how?
#19
Old 04-20-2004, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jovan
Actually, it depends on where you are. "Ya" for "da" is associated with Kansai but it's used commonly in other areas as well. You get every permutation of "sou/se", "da/ya", and "na/ne". Around here, "so ya ne" is standard.
True, but we're both talking about Kansai

Just out of curiosity, what would you say the "ya" vs. "da" ratio in Gifu is?
#20
Old 04-20-2004, 07:23 AM
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Oh, sorry about the double post, I forgot about this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by RindaRinda
Also, they speak in sub-dialects of Kansai-ben, so a person from one village may speak quite differently than a person from a village not 50 miles away.
I used to live in a very rural, very remote fishing village. Even though the town didn't have such a large population, it was spread out over a number of little hamlets that were often separated by hills or even small mountains. I lived on the eastern side of town and the people there used to make fun of the way people on the western side of town spoke. Some people were very proud of their local sayings or vocabulary. "Local" here meaning a 200-people hamlet.
Quote:
The vocabulary they use is not so different - perhaps it's comparable to American vs British English.
Actually, there is a big difference. American and British English mostly differ by accent and relatively accidental vocabulary, e.g. lift/elevator, flat/appartment, etc. There is the same thing happening with Kansai and Kanto Japanese (naosu/katazukeru, akan/dame) but the biggest differences are at a very basic level, unlike English. The almighty copula is different, negatives are formed differently, final particles are different, and polite keigo language works differently in some areas.
#21
Old 04-20-2004, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cckerberos
True, but we're both talking about Kansai

Just out of curiosity, what would you say the "ya" vs. "da" ratio in Gifu is?
Oh my, I missed this one also.

"Ya ne" is also used in parts of Kansai. Very generally speaking, the farther away you move from Osaka, the more likely you are to hear it.

Gifu prefecture is really two very different areas grouped together: the former Mino province, a small, flat area to the south where most people live and the former Hida province a large mountainous and scarcely populated region. I've only been a few times in Hida so I can't say what's common over there.

In Mino, it's a bit all over the place. Older folks are definitely "ya" people, though somewhat a less pronounced "ya" than in Osaka. Younger folks tend to switch from Gifu-ben to either pure Kanto-ben or Kansai-ben. Many study outside the prefecture and they tend to adopt the speech manners of where they went to college.
#22
Old 04-20-2004, 06:32 PM
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Wow! this turned out to be much more interesting that I thought. What a complex language. Do speakers of one dialect pretend to "not get" another dialect, even though they are very similar? You sometimes see this in spanish as spoken among mexicans.
Anyway, back to the subject;
If I understand correctly, soo is pronounced with the long "o", held for a beat or two. That is as I recall, and there could have been more following the so. I found it interesting that the phrase meant so closely to what it sounded like in english.
I thought "hi" meant "yes". Is it a different meaning of "yes" than "so"?
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#23
Old 04-20-2004, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jovan
Actually, there is a big difference. American and British English mostly differ by accent and relatively accidental vocabulary, e.g. lift/elevator, flat/appartment, etc. There is the same thing happening with Kansai and Kanto Japanese (naosu/katazukeru, akan/dame) but the biggest differences are at a very basic level, unlike English. The almighty copula is different, negatives are formed differently, final particles are different, and polite keigo language works differently in some areas.
Right, there are actually a lot of differences, but usually it's not difficult to figure out what they mean, whether the difference is word used (akan/dame, honma/hontou), or the verb conjugations. If you already know some Japanese, it's not too difficult to figure out that "wakaran" = "wakaranai" and "orareru" = "irrassharu."
#24
Old 04-20-2004, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mangeorge
Do speakers of one dialect pretend to "not get" another dialect, even though they are very similar?.
Not really. A lot of the manzai comedy is in kansai dialect, so people are very familiar with that. Dialet speakers will often use Hyojungo Tokyo dialect when in Tokyo.

I used to live in Kyushu, and most people would use Hyojungo with me. However, they would use their local dialect themselves.

Quote:
If I understand correctly, soo is pronounced with the long "o", held for a beat or two. That is as I recall, and there could have been more following the so. I found it interesting that the phrase meant so closely to what it sounded like in english. I thought "hi" meant "yes". Is it a different meaning of "yes" than "so"?
"hi" means "yes" but it also means "I heard that you said something," which is very different than "yes."
#25
Old 04-20-2004, 08:40 PM
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I didn't catch this when I posted earlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mangeorge
I thought "hi" meant "yes". Is it a different meaning of "yes" than "so"?
To be picky, neither is the exact equivalent to "yes."

There is an often-used explanation for why "hai" isn't equivalent to "yes": the "Yes, we have no bananas" example. When asked a negative question like "You don't like ice cream?", in English you would say "No, I don't", but in Japanese you'd say "Hai, I don't."
#26
Old 04-20-2004, 09:20 PM
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The classical example of this is an angry girlfriend:

"You don't even love me, do you?"

"Iie!" (No!) which means, yes, I love you.

(Sadly this might be my last post since I am unemployed and membership starts tommorow. I will keep reading all the interesting Japanese threads though. )
#27
Old 04-20-2004, 09:28 PM
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(That looks like "LIE" but the word no is spelled i-i-e)
#28
Old 04-20-2004, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RindaRinda
Right, there are actually a lot of differences, but usually it's not difficult to figure out what they mean, whether the difference is word used (akan/dame, honma/hontou), or the verb conjugations. If you already know some Japanese, it's not too difficult to figure out that "wakaran" = "wakaranai" and "orareru" = "irrassharu."
In my experience it wasn't so easy. If you have no previous knowledge of the dialect it might be hard to figure out that:
Nou ga orahenkatta'n ya mon de sa. (Mie-ben)
Is the same as:
Anata ga inakatta'n desu yo. (Standard)

My point, however, was that in Japanese basic elements of grammar also change along with vocabulary, unlike English. (The only example I can think of in English is "isn't"/"ain't".)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mangeorge
Wow! this turned out to be much more interesting that I thought. What a complex language. Do speakers of one dialect pretend to "not get" another dialect, even though they are very similar? You sometimes see this in spanish as spoken among mexicans.
I've never seen anyone pretend they don't understand. If you go to slightly more remote areas, you don't need to pretend. Sometimes the locals will make an effort to speak in proper-ish Japanese, sometimes they don't (or can't). I've heard plenty of stories of Japanese people travelling to remote places in Shikoku. Kyushu, Aomori, etc. and not understanding a word of what people were saying.?Take examples like this ("Where are you going?"):

Standard:
Anata, doko ikimasu ka?
Kumamoto:
Nusha doke iki yotto?

There's no way a non-local could figure out what this means. (Admitedly Kumamoto dialect is one of the most extreme.)
#29
Old 04-21-2004, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jovan
Sometimes the locals will make an effort to speak in proper-ish Japanese,
That will get you in trouble. Tell everyone outside of Tokyo that they don't speak "prober-ish" Japanese.
#30
Old 04-21-2004, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo_Mann
That will get you in trouble. Tell everyone outside of Tokyo that they don't speak "prober-ish" Japanese.
And next time I'll try prober-ish English.
#31
Old 04-21-2004, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo_Mann
That will get you in trouble. Tell everyone outside of Tokyo that they don't speak "prober-ish" Japanese.
I didn't mean this as a put-down. I just meant that some people have a hard time speaking proper hyoujungo.
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