Repeat a word in rapid succession to make your Japanese sound more natural. A strange but very powerful technique you can use in a language where you will find it common to hear double-takes and triple-takes of words. If you thought that was enough, wait till you start hearing the quadruple, quintuple, and even sextuple-takes.
I’m aware that in English we also say multi-take words occasionally such as “yeah, yeah, yeah”, or “okay, okay,” but it pales in comparison to what Japanese does with the concept.
Here are a few major examples you will often hear:
そうそうそうそう: Yea that’s it (when you are verifying what someone says is correct)
はいはいはい: Okay, I understand.
いたいたいたいたいた: There it is!
ないないない: no way.
行く行く行く: I’ll go!
きたきたきた: It’s here!
ねねねね or ななな: used when getting someone’s attention and you are about to ask something
いやいやいやいや: No, that’s not what I mean.
Many multi-takes allow the speaker to choose the amount of times he wants to repeat the word (anywhere from 2-6 times). While using these and the many others in existence, you need to follow two important rules:
1. You can’t multi-take any random words
Multi-takes are only done with certain words. Only add multi-takes to your speech when you’ve heard them before. Just because you can say 行く行く行く doesn’t mean you can say 食べる食べる食べる. I haven’t noticed any definite rules, but usually the words only contain 1-2 sounds.
2. You must match the proper intonation/pronunciation
Often multi-taking presents a different way of saying it then the original word, especially when you are rapidly repeating the word, slurring the sounds together. Some take a good deal of practice to sound natural (ex. いたいたいたいた）
Have any other examples of multi-takes? Please leave them in the comments!
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.