Essential Phrases for Your First Conversations in Japanese

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Conversation is an essential part of language learning.

If you’ve recently started learning Japanese, you’re probably excited and nervous about having your first real live conversation with a native speaker!

Maybe you’ve travelled to Japan, found a language exchange partner online or made some Japanese friends in your hometown.

Your first few conversations in your new language can be nerve-wracking, but don’t worry. Those first conversations will go much smoother if you’re armed with a few essential phrases.

Knowing how to say ‘I speak a little bit of Japanese’ or ‘I am learning Japanese’ in Japanese will help you introduce yourself to your new friends and set expectations about your language level.

Here are some essential Japanese phrases for your first conversations in Japanese. We’ve written them in full Japanese (hiragana and kanji), then in hiragana only, and then in romaji (Latin letters) to help you with pronunciation.

Get out there and get speaking! Good luck!

Essential phrases for your first conversations in Japanese


English: I am learning Japanese.

Hiragana + kanji: 私は日本語を,勉強しています。

Hiragana: わたしはにほんごを,べんきょうしています。

Romaji: watashi wa nihongo wo benkyou shiteimasu


English: I speak a little bit of Japanese.

Hiragana + kanji: 私は日本語が少し話せます。

Hiragana: わたしはにほんごがすこしはなせます。

Romaji: watashi wa nihongo ga sukoshi hanasemasu


(by the way… keep scrolling to the end for bonus content!)


English: I’m not much good at Japanese yet.

Hiragana + kanji: 私はまだ日本語が上手じゃありません。

Hiragana: わたしはまだ にほんごがじょうずじゃありません。

Romaji: watashi wa mada nihongo ga jouzu ja arimasen


English: I’m no good at Japanese.

Hiragana + kanji: 私は日本語が下手です。

Hiragana: わたしはにほんごがへたです。

Romaji: watashi wa nihongo ga heta desu


English: Please speak more slowly.

Hiragana + kanji: もう 少しゆっくり話して下さい。

Hiragana: もう すこしゆっくりはなしてください。

Romaji: mou sukoshi yukkuri hanashite kudasai


English: Please say that again.

Hiragana + kanji: もう一度、言ってください 。

Hiragana: もういちど 、いってください。

Romaji: mou ichido, itte kudasai


English: Do you speak English?

Hiragana + kanji: 英語を話せますか?

Hiragana: えいごをはなせますか?

Romaji: eigo wo hanasemasu ka?


English: Please help me learn Japanese.

Hiragana + kanji: 日本語の勉強を手伝ってください。

Hiragana: にほんごのべんきょうをてつだってください。

Romaji: nihongo no benkyou wo tetsudatte kudasai


English: Please speak to me in Japanese.

Hiragana + kanji: 日本語で話していただけますか?

Hiragana: にほんごではなしていただけますか?

Romaji: nihongo de hanashite itadakemasu ka?

Bonus 1!

Watch one of our favourite Japanese YouTubers Misa Sensei explain the different ways to say you’re good or bad at Japanese.

Bonus 2!

Handy cheat sheet of our top essential Japanese phrases to download or pin to Pinterest.

Essential Japanese conversation phrases for beginners: how to say "I am learning Japanese" in Japanese, and loads of other phrases to help you communicate with native speakers in your first ever Japanese conversations! For more useful phrases, check out

More essential Japanese words and phrases:

2 thoughts on “Essential Phrases for Your First Conversations in Japanese”

  1. English: Please speak more slowly.

    Hiragana + kanji: もう 少しゆっくり話して下さい。

    Hiragana: もう すこしゆっくりはなしてください。

    Romaji: motto yukkuri hanashite kudasai



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