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LESSON 9- What is its Japanese name?

The word for the country of Japan is Nihon. If you add go onto the end of a country, it means the language of that country. Therefore, the name of the Japanese language would be Nihongo. If you wanted to ask somebody "What is its name in Japanese?", you would say Nihongo no namae wa nan desu ka. For example, if you were asking what the Japanese word for "pig" is, a person would reply Nihongo no namae wa buta desu or they could simply reply Buta desu.
In case you need reinforcement, here is a small conversation between Rei and Dan, a foreign exhange student.
Dan: Rei san, konnichi wa.
Rei: Dan san, konnichi wa.
Dan: Nihongo no namae wa nan desu ka.
Rei: Nihongo no namae wa hitsuji desu.
Dan: Nihongo no namae wa nan desu ka.
Rei: Kuma desu.
Dan: Arigatou gozaimasu.
After an exchange in greetings, Dan asks what the Japanese name of a sheep is. Rei replies "The Japanese name is hitsuji". Dan then asks what the Japanese name of a bear is and Rei replies that it is kuma. This is very handy if you are a foreigner visiting Japan and you want to expand your vocabulary a bit more. It helps if the person you are talking to knows a bit of English so you could refer to the English word to get the Nihongo word.

Vocabulary Review
日本 Nihon- Japan
日本語 Nihongo- Japanese language

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