Yes & No. 「はい。」「いいえ。」 hai & iie.

In this article, you will learn Yes & No in Japanese; we have both formal and informal ways.

As I mentioned before, in Japan, we are expected to show respect to seniors.  Therefore, we usually use formal and casual lines depending on situations.
Sounds difficult, doesn’t it?  But you’ll get used to that. Don’t worry.
(1) Formal “Yes”: ha-i
This is “Ha-i” as pronounced similar to “Hi” in English.  So, if you want to say, “yes,” you just simply remember “hi” in English.  It’s easy, isn’t it?
This word, ‘ha-i’ also has the meaning of “I see,” “all right,” and “uh-huh” as well as “yes.”  When Japanese people listen to your story and nod saying, ‘ha-i’, it doesn’t mean “yes” but “uh-huh” in Japanese.
(2) Formal “No”: i-i-e
This is “i-i-e.”  I thought about how you can pronounce this word simply and got an idea. You need to combine the “ee” sound from “eel” and the first “e” sound from “elephant.”  Please pronounce only bold letters, “eel+elephant.” 
The words described above are simple, but I think they are the most important words you should learn in Japanese.

(3) Informal “Yes”: um-n
It is very simple and pronounced similar to “um-n.” But you need to resonate it.
(4) Informal “No”: um-um-n
You just simply repeat the first sound of informal “yes.”  So, it is like “um-um-n.” Simple, isn’t it?
Oh! I almost forgot to tell you one thing in Japanese that is totally opposite to English. That is an answer of a negative question.
When you are asked, “Didn’t you go there?,” maybe you will answer, “No, I didn’t.” in English. But Japanese people say, “Yes, I didn’t.” in Japanese.
Can you tell the difference?
I think English speakers focus on the fact that you didn’t go there; that’s why you answer “No, I didn’t.” But Japanese speaker think that the question is right because I didn’t go there. That’s why they answer “yes, I didn’t.”
Japanese people struggle to understand this, so I guess maybe you, too.
I know this is confusing, but again, you’ll get used to it. I was confused by this, too, when I started to learn English. To understand this, I used to moved my head with answers. Now, I’m O.K. with this. So, just practice.
 So, when you are asked something with a negative form, give attention to your answer. But don’t get too nervous because this is only for a negative question.
Today’s expressions are very simple, but you need to know.
Thanks for reading!

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