Dialogue for Presentation 9
(Supplements for the textbook
Click on the links below to listen to each individual sentence.
John and Akiko were supposed to meet at McDonalds before going to see the movie, but John was not able to find the McDonalds. For that reason, he asks someone on the street where it is.
（points at a building in the distance)
John politely gets the attention of someone on the street by saying あの、すみません。あの is a hesitation word, and as we saw in previous dialogues, it is very often used before the word すみません meaning “excuse me.” John then asks the question that means, “Where is McDonalds?”
The stranger responds with an echo question that confirms that she has heard the question. She points then at a building in the distance and says, “Over there, is a hospital, right?” びょういん is the Japanese word for hospital or a doctor’s office. (In English, the word “hospital” is usually used for very big complexes that contain lots of offices and lots of beds, but in Japanese, the word びょういん can be used both for big medical complexes as well as for smaller doctor’s offices, even ones that only have a single doctor.)
At the end of the stranger’s sentence is the particle ね , which we saw in Chapter 2 of our textbook (TB p. 38). The particle ね at the end of a sentence is a way of gently soliciting confirmation from John. She uses it at the end of the utterance because she wants to confirm that he understands. It is like adding, “right?” at the end of the sentence.
John answers with a sentence that means something like “Ah, yes. There is…” At the end of his sentence, he also uses the particle ね. Often times when someone hears a statement with the particle ね, the person uses the particle ね in the response.
The stranger says, “It is next to that hospital (over there).” となり is a Japanese noun meaning “next door.” びょういんのとなり means “the hospital’s next door [building].” The の functions just like the possessive の that we saw in earlier chapters. Note the order of the two nouns that surround the particle の.
John asks if it is on the right side or the left side. The Japanese word for “right” or “right side” is みぎ, and the Japanese word for “left” or “left side” is ひだり。 In Japanese, to offer someone a choice between two alternatives (“Is it X or is it Y?”) then a speaker would offer two yes-no questions right next to each other, but they become part of a single, long, compound sentence connected with a comma (、). For instance, John’s statement みぎですが、ひだりですか means, “Is it on the right or the left” or, more literally, “Is it on the right side (or) is it on the left side?”
Here are a couple of other examples of alternate questions. Read them and see if you can figure out exactly what they mean.
(A friend tells you that one of his parents is ill, so you might ask the following to
(You know that your friend is thinking of studying either Japanese or Spanish, so
you might use the following question to figure out which one he has chosen.)
(You know your friend is thinking of taking a trip on the weekend. You might ask
the following question to figure out which day he will go.)
The stranger responds that McDonalds is on the left side of the hospital. びょういんのひだり literally means “the hospital’s left (side).”
John says that he has understood. (Note the use of the past tense: わかりました。He uses the past tense because he understood what has just been said.) He thanks the stranger, using the past tense for he was grateful for the information they have just provided. (The past tense of ありがとうございます is very common. It is used when someone has just done something for you, and that action is over.)