I’m having difficulty understanding some sentences in this article from my textbook. I don't think you need to read the whole article. I tried translating the sentences I'm unsure about below.

日本語では、会話をスムーズに進めるために「あいづちをうつ」ということをします。「はい/ええ」「うん」「そうですか」など色々ありますが、これらは"Yes, I'm following you; please continue."という意味で、"Yes, I agree."という意味ではありません。あいづちが上手にうてると、日本語がとても自然に聞こえます。反対に相手が話している時に、あまりあいづちをうたないと「私の話をよく聞いていない失礼な人」と思われてしまいます。特に電話で話している時は、相手の顔が見えないので、タイミングよくあいづちをうつことが大切です。英語では、相手が話している時にあまりあいづちをうちませんが、日本語では「あいづちをうつ」のは会話が上手になるための大切なストラテジーだと思って下さい。

それから、「あのう」とか「えーと」という言葉もよく使いますが、これらはフィラーと言って、話したいことがスムーズに出てこない時に使う「話と話のつなぎ」のようなものです。英語では"Well..." "Let's see..."など、色々ありますね。


I tried to make my English translations somewhat literal, so they are not supposed to sound natural.

「はい/ええ」「うん」「そうですか」など色々ありますが、これらは "Yes, I'm following you; please continue."という意味で、"Yes, I agree."という意味ではありません。

Can I translate it as something like, “はい/ええ, うん, そうですか exist (as examples of あいづちをうつ) but (or maybe “and is better) these mean “yes, I’m following you” and “please continue”, but not “Yes, I agree”. I’m especially uncertain about the という意味...という意味ではありません part.


“On the contrary, if you do not use あいづち very much while speaking with someone, you will be thought of as “a rude person who does not listen well to what I am saying” by him/her.”


“Particularly when talking on the phone, because you don’t see your partner’s face, it is important to time your “あいづち” well.” I’m mostly confused by the タイミングよくあいづちをうつ part. Can I think of タイミング as identical to the English word “timing”? It sounds odd at the beginning of that clause, but maybe that’s because I’m thinking of it as the English word? Is it perhaps a topic?


“After that, words like あのう and えーと are often used. They are called フィラー. Use them when your words are not coming out smoothly, like when there is a “stopgap” between what both of you are saying.”???? I’m really confused about the 「話と話のつなぎ」part.


“These are not あいづち or フィラー but, when you want something repeated use expressions like えっ?, when you are surprised use expressions like えぅ!, あれっ, or あらっ, when you want to deny something use expressions like いいえ, いや, or ううん"

1 Answer 1


「うん」「そうですか」など色々ありますが translates with an implied subject of あいづちをうつ」ということ could be translated as There are various kinds of aizuchi such as "un" and "sou desu ka"

The という意味...という意味ではありません part is contrasting what aizuchi are and aren't. So, it's saying [aizuchi] convey the sense of "yes, I'm following you", not the sense of "I agree with you".

タイミングよく means "at the appropriate time". Because you can't see facial expressions, you might miss out on something. So, if you don't voice some kind of aizuchi, the person you're talking to may feel the conversation is not moving along smoothly. So タイミングよくあいづちをうつことが大切です translates as "It's important to use aizuchi at the appropriate times."

You're misunderstanding the それから part. Here it's saying "Filler words like ano and eto are also often used, but they're used when you're having a difficult time interjecting what you want to say." Here I'm liberally translating スムーズに出てこない時 as "a difficult time interjecting..."

Otherwise it seems like you've got the general idea of what's being said.

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