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Naruhodo

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Naruhodo. (I see.)

Situation 1: Mr. Sere is talking about a website with Mr. Mita.

セレ: このホームページを読むと、最近の経済情報がよくわかるんだ。

三田: なるほど。だから、セレくんは最近、いろいろ詳しいんだね。

Sere: Kono hōmupēji-wo yomu-to, saikin-no keizai-jōhō-ga yoku wakaru-n-da.

Mita: Naruhodo. Dakara, Sere-kun-wa saikin, iroiro kuwashii-n-da-ne.

Sere: I can get the latest economic information reading this website.

Mita: I see. Sere, you know a lot about this stuff recently.

Today, we will introduce some usages of なるほど and たしかに, which are used as あいづち. あいづち is a short word such as はい (yes), ええ (yes), そうですか (really?), そうですね (that’s so) uttered by the person who is listening to someone’s remark in Japanese conversation, and is used as a kind of signal to show that the person is listening to the counterpart’s remark. The casual versions such as うん(yeah), そう(really?), そう(だ)ね (sure) are used between close friends or to a junior, and should not be used when speaking to your superior. In Japanese, people utter あいづち more frequently than in other languages. なるほど can be used as あいづち as in Mr. Mita’s remark. The adverb なるほど meaning “indeed, really” is used when a person agrees with a counterpart’s opinion or explanation, or when a person feels that new knowledge is correct as in このパソコンはなるほど使(つか)いやすい (This PC is indeed easy to use). なるほど as あいづち can express I see/I get it now /That makes sense/That explains it. For example: 「課長(かちょう)、この技術(ぎじゅつ)は以前(いぜん)のものより省(しょう)エネです。」「なるほど。それはいいね。」 “Boss, this technology uses less energy than the previous one.” “I see. That’s good.” Note that なるほど is used to a close person or a junior, and そうですか will be adequate for a superior person.

Situation 2: Continued from Situation 1.

セレ: 最近、ネットの情報サイトを見ているから、あまり雑誌を買わなくなっちゃったな。

三田: 確かに。出版社も雑誌が売れなくて大変だろうな。

Sere: Saikin, netto-no jōhō-saito-wo mite-iru-kara, amari zasshi-wo kawanaku-natchatta-na.

Mita: Tashika-ni. Shuppansha-mo zasshi-ga urenakute taihen-darō-na.

Sere: Recently, I’ve been looking at information sites on the Net, and not buying magazines much.

Mita: For sure. It must be tough for publishing companies if magazines don’t sell.

An adverb 確(たし)かに means “surely, certainly,” and is used as in お金(かね)は確(たし)かに小川(おがわ)さんに渡(わた)しました (I certainly handed Ms. Ogawa the money.) 確かに is also used as あいづち as in Mr. Mita’s remark. It means “surely/truly/exactly/you do have a point,” and shows that the person agrees with or admits their counterpart’s opinion. When you use it with your superior, 確かにそうですね/おっしゃるとおりですね will be adequate.

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. and Mrs. Shiba are chatting about their baby son, Jun.

妻: このごろじゅんは保育園(ほいくえん)に行(い)くのが好(す)きになったみたいね。

夫: たしかに。朝(あさ)、ぼくが送(おく)って行って、別(わか)れるときも前(まえ)みたいに泣(な)かなくなったよ。

妻: そうそう、私(わたし)のときも同(おな)じよ。着(つ)くとすぐにみんなのところに行こうとして、私には「バイバイ」って言(い)うだけなのよ。

夫: たしかにね。どうしたんだろう。

妻: 私、理由(りゆう)がわかったの。同じクラスのリナちゃんのことが好きなのよ。

夫: なるほど! だから、ぼくたちには冷(つめ)たくなったんだな。

妻: まったく、だれに似(に)たんでしょうね。

夫: それはもちろんぼくだよ。かわいくて頭(あたま)のいい女性(じょせい)には弱(よわ)いんだ。だから、さなえと結婚(けっこん)したんじゃないか!

Wife: These days, it seems that Jun enjoys going to daycare.

Husband: Yeah. When I drop him off there in the morning, he doesn’t cry as much as he did before.

Wife: Yeah, likewise with me. When he gets there, he soon joins the other kids. And he coldly says “bye bye.”

Husband: Exactly. What’s happened to him?

Wife: I know the reason. He likes his classmate Rina.

Husband: I see! So, he doesn’t care about us.

Wife: Definitely! Who does he get that from?

Husband: Of course, from me. I’m weak when it comes to pretty and smart women. That’s why I married you, Sanae!