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Basic Lessons

Asking Directions (3)

Dialogue 

Click here for the dialogue for "Asking Directions."

Ko-so-a-do System 

Japanese has sets of words which are based on the physical distance from the speaker and the listener. They are called "ko-so-a-do words" because the first syllable is always either ko-, so-, a-, or do-. "Ko-words" refer to things nearer to the speaker, "So-words" to things nearer to the listener, "A-words" to things that are at distance from both the speaker and the listener, and "Do-words" are questions words.

(1) kono/sono/ano/dono + [Noun]

They cannot be used on their own. They have to be followed by the noun that they modify. 

kono hon
この本
this book
sono hon
その本
that book
ano hon
あの本
that book over there
dono hon
どの本
which book


(2) kore/sore/are/dore

They cannot be followed by a noun. They can be replaced with kono/sono/ano/dono + [Noun] when the things indicated are obvious. 

Kono hon o yomimashita.
この本を読みました。
I read this book.
Kore o yomimashita.
これを読みました。
I read this.

(3) Ko-so-a-do Chart

  ko- so- a- do-
thing kono [N]
この
sono [N]
その
ano [N]
あの
dono [N]
どの
kore
これ
sore
それ
are
あれ
dore
どれ
place koko
ここ
soko
そこ
asoko
あそこ
doko
どこ
direction kochira
こちら
sochira
そちら
achira
あちら
dochira
どちら

The "kochira" group can be used as the polite equivalent of the "kore" or "koko" group. These expressions are often used by employees in the service industries.

Kore wa ikaga desu ka.
これはいかがですか。
How about this one?
Kochira wa ikaga desu ka.
こちらはいかがですか。
How about this one? (more polite)
Asoko de omachi kudasai.
あそこでお待ちください。
Please wait over there.
Achira de omachi kudasai.
あちらでお待ちください。
Please wait over there. (more polite)


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