I'm learning Japanese from a book, and it says that "specialty" is ご[専門]{せんもん}, but Japanese speakers can't seem to understand me if I use this word.

How can I correctly write 「ご専門は何ですか。」 ("What's your specialty?") in Japanese?

  • What's the context? ご専門は何ですか usually means "What's your major / What do you specialize in (usually as a student or teacher in school or college)?", asking one's field of study.
    – Chocolate
    Oct 28 '16 at 7:31
  • Oh, thanks, it seems I understood. Just I need to ask it in the work area.
    – Шах
    Oct 28 '16 at 7:33

ご専門は何ですか is a perfectly natural way of saying "What's your specialty?", but this question would make sense only to professional scholars, physicians and such. You would expect answers like "algebraic topology", "plasma cosmology", "pediatric hematology", etc.

To ask one's major to college students, ご専門 works, but it's better to ask 専攻【せんこう】は何ですか, because 専門 usually refers to true experts. To ask about someone's job in general, see the answer of @IgorSkochinsky.


As mentioned in the comments, ご専門 is more about what one studies/studied. For working people, 「お仕事は何ですか。」 should work in most cases.

If you meant to ask what a person is good at (their strong point/forte), try 「お得意{とくい}なものは何ですか。」

  • 4
    I feel お得意は何ですか is a bit unnatural. 得意なもの( or 得意分野)は何ですか are more natural. Oct 28 '16 at 9:49
  • @YuuichiTam, many thanks! I will know how to say it.
    – Шах
    Oct 28 '16 at 11:05

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