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Learn from Movie Dialogues


Movies are fun to watch and also a great source of material for learning a language. Watching Japanese movies can also be a good resource for listening practice. My recommendation is the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki, which seem to appeal to all ages. His works include "Spirited Away", "Princess Mononoke", "My neighbor Totoro", "Ponyo" and so on.

Many Hollywood movies are shown in Japan as well as Japanese films. I previously mentioned how movie titles translated into Japanese can be different from the originals' in my article "Movie Titles in Japanese," but have you ever wondered how the dialogue is translated into Japanese? In textbooks, you probably learn many sentences like, "This is a pen" and "There are three apples". Of course, these basic sentences are important, and can't be ignored when trying to understand grammar and sentence structure. However, you might never have the chance to use them in a conversation. How about simple phrases like, "You got it" or " I made it" (something that you actually say or hear in daily conversation)? Here is some translated dialogue from Japanese movies. Enjoy!

* Iyoiyo da. (This is it.) - Apolo13
"Iyoiyo" means, "at last; finally".

* Yarisugi kana. (Was that over the top?) - Batman Forever
"Yarisugi" is the noun form of the verb "yarisugiru (to overdo)". "~ sugiru" can be used as an auxiliary verb with verb or adjective, and means "do something excessively". Here are some examples.

Tabesugi --- overeating
nomisugi --- excessive drinking
yasesugi --- excessive weight loss
futorisugi --- excessive weight gain

"~ kana" is one of the expressions for uncertainty. It can be translated as "I wonder ~" in English.

* Owatta. (I'm through.) - Blade Runner
"Owatta" is the informal past tense of the verb "owaru (to finish, to end)". Click this link to learn more about Japanese verbs.

* Ki o tsukero! (Watch out!) - Close Encounter of the Third Kind
This is male speech. Women are likely to say, "Ki o tsukete".

* Ogori da. (The drinks are on the house.) - Cocktail
"Ogori" means, "a treat". This phrase can be used for a personal treat as well. This is also male speech. Women would say, "Ogori yo". The verb form is "ogoru".

* Shikata ga nai. (I can't help it.) - Crying Game
This phrase is often used by the Japanese. It means, "No help for it," "No way to avoid it". "Shou ga nai" is an abbreviated form. Click this link to listen to the audio file for the phrase, “Shikata ga nai.”

* Tsuini kita wa. (I made it.) - Dead Man Walking
"Tsuini" means "finally," and "kita" is the informal past tense of the verb "kuru (to come)". The sentence particle "wa" is used only in female speech (This line was by Susan Sarandon).

* Hazukashikunai no. (Shame on you!) - Edward Scissorhands
"Hazukashikunai" is negative form of the adjective "hazukashii (shameful, to be embarrassed)". Hazukashii is the I-adjective. Click this link to learn more about Japanese adjective. "No" is a sentence particle used by a female speaker or child to indicate an explanation or emotive emphasis. Click this link to learn more about sentence ending particles.

* Iisugita wa. (I was out of line.) - The Fabulous Baker Boy
As mentioned above, "~ sugiru" can be attached to the stem of some verbs. The main verb of this phrase is "iu (to say)," and "iisugiru" means, "to say too much". "Iisugita" is past tense.

* Yatte kureru ka. (Are you game?) - Mission Impossible
"Yatte" is the ~ te form of the verb "yaru (to try, to do)". "~ kureru" can be attached to the ~ te form of the verb, and means, "to do something for me".

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