Walking Phones

From the very beginning, I’ve been begging all of you to just get used to things. You’ll never be able to think in English and then equate those words one by one into Japanese. It’s just never going to happen. Japanese is too different from English.

Rather than thinking in English and recognizing things in terms of English words, try to imagine entire circumstances and then associate Japanese patterns with those situations.

I am guilty of often using the very English-y 聞こえません when I can’t hear someone on the phone. I think this pattern is probably fine structurally and in terms of conveying meaning, but Japanese has another great pattern that’s perfect for this situation – 電話が遠い (でんわがとおい).

This pattern removes all people from the equation and blames the phone itself! “Excuse me, sir, but your phone has run off, and I am having trouble hearing you. Please fetch it, and then we can continue our conversation.”

So, the pattern you should be using is, 「すみません、電話が遠い(ん)ですが」 Adding that little ん in there will make you sound really natural.

This pattern, like 取ってください, takes some warming up to, I believe. Try and force yourself to use it.