JPNS 3000

Dialogue for Presentation 3


(Supplements for the textbook
Genki: An Integrated Approach, Vol. 2)


Click here to listen to the entire dialogue.

Click on the links below to listen to each individual sentence. 


John has part-time job at a Japanese restaurant.  It is about to open in a few moments, but he and the manager have a lot to.  The manager begins by telling him what he should do first. 




ジョン:はい。(He tries the refrigerator, but it does not open.) あれ?きませんね。どうしたんだろう。


店長:そう? (She tries it but this time it opens.) きましたよ。




店長:(A few minutes later, she asks…) 外の電気はついて()るかな?








The store manager (店長 てんちょう) requests to him that first (まず), he should open (あける) the refrigerator (冷蔵庫 れいぞうこ) and get out the vegetables.  Notice that in her command, she uses a compound verb: the verb 出す (to get out) in the form, then verb おく (to do something in advance).  She is saying this because she wants him to get out the vegetables in advance before the customers come and they have to start cooking.  The final verb in her request is くれます, the verb of giving.  Can you remember what sorts of social relationships this verb shows?  This verb is used when something is given TO the speaker or his/her in-group, and it implies that the giver is not of higher social status than the speaker him/herself.  (The store manager is a boss here, so she does not need to be very polite.) 


Note that in her request, she uses the verb くれます without a to make it a question.  Still, if you listen to the audio, you will notice that she has a question intonation in her voice.  Sometimes Japanese people, especially when not being terribly formal, will ask questions and leave off the final .  The meaning does not change at all if the speaker leaves off the , but if you try to ask a question in this way, it is important that you use a rising question intonation.  If you forget the rising question intonation, the listener might misunderstand and think that you are making a statement rather than a question. 


Before continuing with the dialogue, let’s talk for a moment or two about the new grammar in this section.  One of the major points of this lesson is transitive and intransitive verbs.  In Japanese, there are certain verbs that can have a direct object. In other words, you can put a noun with them, followed by the particle .  These are called TRANSITIVE verbs.  Here are some examples using transitive verbs that you know.









In all of these sentences, there is a subject who is performing some act on a thing (the direct object).  Not every sentence with a transitive verb necessarily has the direct object and particle in every single sentence.  For instance, if it is clear from context that you are talking about studying Japanese, you can just say きのう勉強しました without including the 日本語を, which is understood from context. 


There are other verbs that CANNOT have a direct object. In other words, they cannot take a noun marked by the particle .  These are called INTRANSITIVE verbs.  Here are some examples using intransitive verbs. 






It would not make sense to put a ~in any of the sentences above, would it?  In all of these sentences, there is a subject which is performing some act, but that act is not performed on anything.  That act is just done by the subject themselves. 


Sometimes in Japanese, there are certain verbs that appear in appear in pairs.  For instance, there are two verbs that mean “to open.”  One of them is transitive and the other is intransitive.  あける (あけます) is the transitive form of the verb meaning “to open.”  That means that you can say things like these…


               ジョンさんはドアあけました      John opened the door.

               彼は手紙あけました                          He opened the letter.

               冷蔵庫あけてください。                     (You) please open the refrigerator. 


In each of these cases, someone is performing the act of opening on something. 


The INTRANSITIVE verb meaning “to open” is あく(あきます).  Note that in the ます form, the second hiragana is different.  Be sure to differentiate between them in saying the words.  This is used in cases when the act of opening happens, but the person who did the act of opening is not clear or is not specified.  For instance, take a look at the following samples. 


               When a door opens by itself, perhaps because of wind (reason unspecified):

               ドアあきました。                                    The door opened (by itself).


               When the refrigerator door swings open, perhaps because of a broken hinge:

               冷蔵庫よくあきます。          The refrigerator frequently comes open (by itself). 


               When talking about a new store:

               新しい店あきます。                               A new store will open (no indication of who opens it). 


In the case of intransitive verbs, the thing that opens is usually identified with a .  When something does not come open of its own accord, you might use the intransitive verb in the negative form. 


               ドアあきません。                                    The door doesn’t open (of its own accord). 


Another common use of the intransitive verb is to describe the state that something is in, for instance if something is an ongoing state of openness, we might put the intransitive verb in the form and use it with いる.  For instance,


               ドアあいています。                               The door is open.

               手紙あいています。                               The letter is open.

               ふうとあいています。                          The envelope is open.

               あいています。                                    The store is open. 


               Or in the negative form…

               手紙あいています。                               The letter is not open.

               あいていません。                               The store is not open. 


Remember that the て+いる form generally indicates the resultant state from something happening.  What happens here is that the letter / store/ door etc. has come open (no indication of who exactly did it) and remains in that state of openness for an extended period of time. 


In the dialogue, the store manager gives John a command to open the refrigerator using the TRANSITIVE verb あける.  Notice that she says, 冷蔵庫をあけて, there is a direct object, which is marked with a .  That is because she is telling him to act upon the door, opening it. 


John tries to open the door, but he finds that it does not open of its accord, so after his utterance of surprise (あれ?), he comments to the store manager that it does not open (of its own accord), using the INTRANSITIVE verb あきません. 


John follows this with the muttered statement どうしたんだろう, which means something like “what could have happened, I wonder?”  This statement is not in the ます form but in the direct form.  This is because he mutters this half to himself.  He is more talking to himself than to the store manager.  If John instead said something like どうしましたか」, it would sound like he was talking directly to her, asking her “What’s happened here?”  This statement would sound accusatory, as if he suspected that she was doing something weird that broke the refrigerator. 


The store manager gives the refrigerator handle a tug, but for her it comes right open.  She tells him that it came open, using the intransitive verb:あきました(it opened).  The implication of the use of the intransitive verb is that the door came open of its own accord.  She did not have to do anything special to get it open.  John apologies as if he was embarrassed. 


A few minutes later, the store manager wonders, half to herself, half out-loud to John, if the outside lights are on with the sentence 外の電気はついて()るかな? The word 電気 has two meanings, one is “light(s)”(as in signs, lamps, etc.) and the other is “electricity.” 


The verb つく is an INTRANSITIVE verb meaning “to go on” or “to be on.”  Its TRANSITIVE partner is the verb つける, which means “to turn on.”  Look at the sample sentences. 



               電気つきました                        The lights came on (by themselves) (e.g. after a blackout)

               電気つきます            The lights come on (by themselves) (e.g. because of motion sensor)

               電気ついています。                   The lights are on. 

               電気ついていません。              The lights are not on. 



               ジョンさんは 電気つけました             John turned on the lights.

               ジョンさんは 毎日電気つけます        John turns on the lights every day.


Once again, in the case of the intransitive verb, there is no direct object (no particle marked with an ). 
In the case of a transitive verb, there is both a subject (marked with or ) and an object . 


If you listen carefully to the store manager’s statement 外の電気はついて()るかな?, she contracts the phrase ついている into ついてる.  We saw this in the previous dialogue.  It is relatively common that the て+いる pattern gets contracted into て+る when a person is speaking quickly.  Of course, this is only in spoken language.  When writing, you would usually spell out て+いる completely, unless quoting someones speech. 


John pauses and looks out the window while saying the hesitation word ええと.  He then comments that the lights are not on.  He offers to turn the lights on by saying つけましょうか。  Note that he is using the TRANSITIVE verb つける (or in theますform, つけます).  The reason is that there is an implied direct object: he is saying (電気を)つけましょうか, but simply does not include the 電気を because it is obvious from context. 


The store manager asks him to turn it on.  once again, she uses the TRANSITIVE verb つける (or in the command form つけて+ください).  お願い is short way of saying お願いします, and can be used in cases when one does not feel the need to be so polite. 


The store manager points to a switch and says, “if you press (おす) that switch, then it turns on.”  Here, she uses the INTRANSITIVE verb つく(or in theますform, ます).  The reason is that the lights turn on on their own accord, when one presses the switch.  


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Updated September 24, 2010