Some simple words to power up your conversations in Japanese

I have good news: Speaking Japanese isn’t that hard.

True, speaking 完璧な日本語 (kanpeki na Nihongo, perfect Japanese) is quite hard. It’s hard for native speakers, too — just ask them. But if your goal is simply to express your thoughts and be understood, then you should know about 接続詞 (setsuzokushi, conjunctions), the secret sauce of conversation.

Maybe you’ve heard about conjunctions before, in the context of “hooking up words and phrases and clauses.” (Rest in peace, Jack Sheldon.) Japanese 接続詞 work a little differently because 助詞 (joshi, particles) like に・か・が・と (ni, ka, ga, to) often do the work of English coordinating conjunctions like “to,” “but,” “or” and “and.”

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