Convenient Japanese Word "大丈夫 (Daijoubu)"!


Posted on 04 Dec 2017 21:00 in ASKSiddhiのひとりごと by Yoko Deshmukh

Sometimes, we still need to learn the basic and in such cases, school children are the best teachers.

I am still in Fukuoka, and last month, my brother, his wife and their 7-year-old son (my nephew) also gathered at my mother's house on the occasion of my late father's sixth death anniversary. At that time, I was mainly indulging in the cute conversations with Tatsunori-kun, the nephew. 

Ever wonder what to say in the place of "no, thank you" in Japanese? A textbook answer (particularly I often hear from Japanese learners in Pune) is, "いいえ、結構です (iie, kekkou desu,)" isn't it? However, I had long been feeling a sense of incongruity of the phrase as it sounds rather stronger than intended meaning and also is not very commonly used. 

I learned the best answer from Tatsunori-kun, which is "大丈夫 (です) [Daijoubu (desu.)]" 

According to a dictionary, the modern application of "Daijoubu" is to confirm or answer the opponent of the conversation whether it is necessary or not, possible or not, or approved or not. The examples in the dictionary are like "重そうですね、持ちましょうか (Shall I carry the load on your behalf?)," "いえ、大丈夫です (It's alright, thank you,)" "試着したいのですが大丈夫ですか ([in a boutique] May I try the cloth on me?)」「はい、大丈夫です (Yes, you may.)"

I believe I have been using "Daijoubu" without consciousness before learning from Tatsunori-kun, but thanks to him, now I am more confident in applying it on most occasions where I must politely refuse!


About the author

Yoko Deshmukh   (日本語 | English)         
インド・プネ在住歴10年以上の英日・日英フリーランス翻訳者、デシュムク陽子(Yoko Deshmukh)が運営しています。2003年9月30日からインドのプネに住んでいます。

ASKSiddhi is run by Yoko Deshmukh, a native Japanese freelance English - Japanese - English translator who lives in Pune since 30th September 2003.

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