World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0002538690
Reproduction Date:

Title: Aizuchi  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Japanese honorifics, Pragmatics, Gender differences in spoken Japanese, Phatic expression, Conversation analysis
Collection: Japanese Honorifics, Pragmatics
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Aizuchi (Japanese: 相槌 or あいづち, IPA: ) is the Japanese term for frequent interjections during a conversation that indicate the listener is paying attention and/or understanding the speaker. In linguistic terms, these are a form of phatic expression. Aizuchi are considered reassuring to the speaker, indicating that the listener is active and involved in the discussion.

Aizuchi are frequently misinterpreted by non-native speakers as the listener showing agreement or fully comprehending what is being said.

Common aizuchi include:

  • はい (hai), ええ (ee), or うん (un) (yes, with varying degrees of formality)
  • そうですね (sō desu ne) (I see.)
  • そうですか (sō desu ka) (is that so?)
  • 本当 (hontō), 本当に (hontō ni), マジ (maji), or (in Kansai) 本真 (honma) (really)
  • なるほど (naruhodo) (I see, that's right)
  • nodding

These can be compared to English "yeah, yeah", "yeah, ok", "got it", "yep", "uhuh" or "go on", but are more pronounced and important in Japanese.

Business relations in particular can be hampered by non-native speakers assuming that their Japanese counterparts have been agreeing to their suggestions all along, when in reality the Japanese have only been saying that they follow or understand the suggestions – "got it", not "agreed".

Aizuchi can also take the form of so-called echo questions, which consist of a noun plus "desu ka". After Speaker A asks a question, Speaker B may repeat a key noun followed by "desu ka" to confirm what Speaker A was talking about or simply to keep communication open while Speaker B thinks of an answer. A rough English analog would be "A ..., you say?", as in: "So I bought this new car"; reply: "A car, you say?".

See also


  • Nodding, Aizuchi, and Final Particles in Japanese Conversation, Volume 39, Issue 7, July 2007, Pages 1242-1254, Journal of Pragmatics

External links

  • The Japanese art of aizuchi
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.