Dialogue for Presentation 7
(Supplements for the textbook
Click on the links below to listen to each individual sentence.
John and Akiko are outside school having a conversation about their plans. Akiko wonders if John plays tennis and so she starts this conversation.
あきこ： じゃあ、にちようびに テニスをしませんか。
ジョン： あ、にちようびは ちょっと…
Akiko starts off by asking John if he plays tennis (in general). He seems to be a little surprised and pleased that Akiko asking him this question. (Although she does not know it, he has a crush on Akiko.) For that reason, he lets out a little あ of pleased surprise before he says はい. The effect is something like saying in English, “Oh, well as a matter of fact, yes!”
Akiko says, “Well then…” (じゃあ) and invites him to play tennis with her on Sunday. にちようび is the Japanese word for Sunday. It is followed by the particle に which comes after a calendar or clock time. Because she is inviting him, she uses しません, the negative of the verb します. (For more details about the use of a negative as an invitation, see TB p. 62.)
John lets out another little あ of recognition and surprise, this time because he realizes that Sunday will not work out. Japanese speakers often use the word ちょっと when they are unable do something or do not want to do something. ちょっと literally means “a little bit” so the literal meaning of his incomplete, fragmentary statement is “Oh, Sunday is a little…” The implication is that Sunday won’t work out. ちょっと is a very handy word to use since it is much more polite to use it than to say outright that you cannot or do not want to do something. (Japanese would immediately recognize this as a refusal.) Sometimes the word ちょっと is called a “hesitation word” because Japanese speakers use it in order to show their hesitation to take up an offer.
Akiko says そうですか, then asks him how Saturday would be. The Japanese word for Saturday is どようび. The word どう means “how.” Her question, どようびはどうですか means something like “Saturday, how about it?” or “How would Saturday be?” どようび comes before the particle は because it is the thing she is talking about. The particle は is often used in situations like this where there is an implied contrast. In other words, Akiko already knows that Sunday is no good, so she is asking about another, second option (Saturday, in contrast to the first option of Sunday).
Because John likes Akiko and wants to play tennis with her, he takes up her invitation. He says ええ, which is a slightly less formal way to say “yes” than はい. いい is an adjective meaning “good”, “fine,” or “okay.” John adds ね to the end of the statement because he is a making a spontaneous reflection out loud. (This is the same use of ね that we saw in the expression たかいですね, meaning “that’s expensive.”）