emphasize adjectives and adverbs in japanese, japanese, nihongo, japanese language, japanese adverbs, japanese adjectives, how to, how to emphasise, how to emphasize, strengthen japanese,

How to Colloquialize and Emphasize Adjectives and Adverbs in Japanese

Want to add more flavor and emphasize adjectives and adverbs in Japanese? This quick guide will show you how to naturally emphasize your Japanese just like a native. 

Naturally, this Japanese is best used with friends and not in formal situations. Also, many of these words are only used verbally and often look a little weird when actually written down. 

NOTE: If you don’t understand how the small tsu っ works in Japanese, I recommend that you first brush up on how to use it. 

 

(1) Totemo とても (very) 

This is one of the first adverbs you learn and can be used in pretty much any sentence or situation. If you want to strengthen it, then all you need is to add a little tsu. 

totemo > tottemo   とても > とっても

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(2) Hontou ほんとう 「本当」(really) 

You can’t learn Japanese or go to Japan without hearing this word pretty much where ever you go. There are a couple of ways to spice this over-used adverb up. 

Hontou > Honttouu ほんとう > ほんとうー

 

(3) Hayai はやい  「速い・早い」(fast/early) 

This is a good idea to learn since it can be applied to a whole bunch of words! 

Hayai > Hayya はやい >はやっ (It actually sounds like はっや)

 

(4) Osoi おそい 「遅い」 (slow)

This is pretty much the same as above, but I thought another example may help you really get the hang of it. 

Osoi > Osso おそい>おそっ (Actually sounds like おっそ)

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(5) Umai うまい [上手い」(Tasty, yummy)

You really can’t watch Japanese TV without at least hearing a few variants of this word (some people even reverse it and say maiyu in an attempt to be more interesting)

Umai > Umma うまい>うまっ  (Once again, the small tsu is actually said in the middle of the word rather than the end). 

 

(6) Yabai やばい (uh-oh, oh sh*t, dangerous)

Yabai > Yabba やばい>やばっ

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(7) Yukkuri ゆっくり (slowly)

This adverb already has a small tsu, so instead, you elongate the first syllable… yes, you say it sloowly. 

Yukkuyi > Yuukkuri ゆっくり>ゆーっくり 

 

(8) Chou  ちょう 超 (super, ultra, very)

With only one syllable, there isn’t any room to put a small tsu in this word. Instead, we elongate it. 

Chou > Chouu  ちょう>ちょうー

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Since you can do this with a huge amount of Japanese words, the list could go on forever. However, now you know the basic rules and ideas about emphasizing Japanese adjectives and adverbs, you should hear them pretty much everywhere and eventually pick up on the ones I haven’t listed (if you haven’t already). 

Let me say one last VERY IMPORTANT thing. If you are speaking in fairly broken Japanese and you don’t use these variations skillfully – there is a chance that people will assume you’re a foreigner and are making mistakes. We foreigners (myself included) are known for putting in extra pauses and elongating sounds when it really isn’t needed, so be warned! 

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