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19:26 May 31, 2001
English to Japanese translations [Non-PRO]
English term or phrase: hello
Hello (as a greeting)

Summary of answers provided
nakonnichiwa, dohmo, ohayoh
naKonnichiwa, Domo, Ogenki DesukaSheena Daswani
Amy Kasuga
nakon-nichi waUschi (Ursula) Walke



48 mins
kon-nichi wa

there is no single word that can adequately translate the general English greeting 'hello'. The translation often given is
(also equated with 'good Afternoon'), which can actually be heard any time from mid-morning to early evening, when KOMBAN WA (good evening) takes over.

However, KON-NICHI WA is crucially different from 'hello' in two major respects:

1. Don't use it after you've said OHAYO GOZAIMAS (good morning)to a person.

2. Don't ever use it when talking with members of your family.

If in doubt, bow your head and/or smile!

    Essential Japanese by Helmut Morsbach and Kazue Kurebayashi
Uschi (Ursula) Walke
Local time: 17:17
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
Gunsou: stay with your languages and don't quack!
1 hr

pds: come on - it's not that bad!
3 hrs
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50 mins

Hello means usually Konnichiwa in Japanese.
But in telephone conversation, moshi moshi(もしもし)。

Local time: 16:17
Native speaker of: Native in JapaneseJapanese
PRO pts in pair: 50
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1 hr

In formal Japanese this expression literally means "Good afternoon". A lot of non-native speakers of Japanese have been led to believe that there is some kind of time period in which you must use the expression for morning, a time period where you use konnichiwa and yet another period where you must use good evening.
Perhaps older Japanese generations believe in the above sequencing, but the younger generation of Japanese does not go by those rules.
You really do not want to substitute Konnichiwa for "Good morning", or for "Good evening". However, Konnichiwa has become sort of a catch-all phrase and the younger Japanese use it all the time.
If you pass by someone on the street and make eye contact with that person, it's perfectly alright to say "Konnichiwa" (which would have the context of hello in this situation).
As someone else mentioned, there is really no word that is the equivalent of the English 'Hello'. But Konnichiwa comes fairly close and it's a very handy Japanese word to know!!

Amy Kasuga
United States
Local time: 03:17
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 11

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
2 hrs
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2 hrs
Konnichiwa, Domo, Ogenki Desuka

As everyone here has mentioned, it is hard to say what the equivalent of Hello is in Japanese. Konnichiwa during the day and Konbanwa (good evening) during evening hours is the norm. There are other useful expressions though, for example 'Domo' which is something like 'Oh hello there'&'Ogenki desuka?' meaning 'Hello how have you been?' Many young guys around me use 'Ossu!' which is close to 'Hey what's up'
Hope that helps

    Born and raised in Japan
Sheena Daswani
Local time: 20:17
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in JapaneseJapanese
PRO pts in pair: 3
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3 hrs
konnichiwa, dohmo, ohayoh

All the suggestions made in the previous two replies are correct. It depends very much on whom you are talking to and under what circumstances. "Ohayoh gozaimasu", "konnichiwa" and "konbanwa" are somewhat more formal than "dohmo" or "harroh", but at the same time are very neutral expressions and you can't really go wrong using them.
I'd be a little careful with "harroh", which seems to be used almost exclusively by children or young girls and women.
If you know the person you are greeting fairly well or are in some sort of personal or professional relation with him/her, you might want to try "dohmo".
If it is someone whom you see on a regular basis, such as a work colleague, using "ohayoh" would be appropriate.
If, however, you are meeting someone for the first time, simply saying hello in whatever translation would not be enough. Than you'd have to bring in a "pleased to meet you" or "yoroshiku" or, if more formal language is required, a "hajimemashite yoroshiku (onegai shimasu)".
Hope this is of some help.

    7 years in Japan
Local time: 18:17
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman

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1 hr
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4 hrs

Yes, there are 100 ways to say "hello" in Japanese - and yet it is impossible to translate "hello". Having lived in Japan for almost a decade, I think that "konnichiwa" is the best choice, since this is the expression you would use in a situation when you'd say "hello" in English. And, yes, there are as many exceptions as blossoms on a cherry tree. Depending on whom you meet and when and under what circumstances and so on and so on. But if you, as a foreigner, are the one to say hello, then you really needn't be concerned about all this.


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