Japanese is a fascinating language known for its rich variety of meanings and nuances. A unique feature of the language is the ability to convey information and emotions using short sound expressions, often consisting of just one or two syllables.
I think most of you already know that Japanese words tend to have many meanings, and different meanings just like English phrasal verbs. This happens because of the multiple ideograms and because Japanese only has 109 syllables.
There are also occasions when only one syllable has several meanings, be it a particle, word or a sound expression. In this article, we are going to see different expressions and their meanings composed of simple vowels or syllables.
We also recommend reading: Learn 200 Japanese Onomatopoeias
Expressions with Japanese Vowels
Sometimes a simple Japanese short or long vowel can convey an idea, answer or meaning. Let's start by seeing how these vowels have power in the language even alone?
Expressions with the vowel え (e)
Depending on how you say the syllable え you can indicate different expressions and meanings. If you use え in an intonation of doubt and question you may be trying to say:
- What did you say?
- How it is?
- What is?
- What is it?
- Which one?
If you are using the long form "え" like "ええ" you are agreeing (Unrum, yes).
If you use ねえ "nee" you can indicate the following expressions:
- we will
- is so
- tell me
- what do you think...;
Sometimes this expression is used 2 times in a row. The ねえ is also a particle that indicates: emphasis, agreement, request for confirmation, etc.
えっ (eh) - Can represent hesitation, surprise, or disbelief, such as "huh?" or what?".
Expressions with other vowels
- あ! (a!) - Expresses surprise or realization, similar to "ah!" or "oh!" in Portuguese.
- ああ (aa) - When pronounced in a prolonged manner, it can mean "ah", "oh", "I understand" or "yes".
- いい (ii) - Means "good", "okay" or "okay".
- いえ (ie) - Can be used to say "no" or to refer to a house.
- い! (i!) - A cry of surprise or fright, similar to "ouch!".
- うぅ (uu) – May express dissatisfaction, discomfort or reluctance.
- おっ (o) - A sound made when noticing something, such as "oops!" or "ah!".
Read too: How to Type Japanese Characters
Short expressions without Japanese
Below are other short Japanese expressions usually composed of only one syllable or a long syllable accompanied by a vowel. :
- ん? (n?) - An expression of doubt or confusion, similar to "huh?" or "huh?".
- ふぅ (fuu) – Can represent relief or exhaustion, like a sigh.
- はっ (ha) - A sound of surprise or realization, such as "aha!".
- へぇ (hee) - Expresses admiration or interest, such as "wow!" or "Is it really?".
- やあ (yaa) and よう (you) - Can be used to greet someone, meaning "hi" or "hello".
- わぉ (wao) - Expresses surprise or admiration, such as "wow!" or "wow!".
- うん (un) and そう (am) - Both can be used to agree or confirm something, meaning "yes", "ok" or "unrum".