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あの ('Um', 'Excuse me') often written as あのう

I recently posted that あの (as pertains to the definition above) is incorrect and that it should always be written as あのう. It has been brought to my attention that this was not correct.

As my reading materials have almost exclusively elongated the last vowel it was surprising to see it shortened and I hastily posted that it was wrong.

While I do maintain that it is much more prevalent that, when by itself, this normally will be written as あのう rather than あの, I was too quick to post this topic and I hope that nobody was too confused due to that fact.

November 23, 2017



If you see it written out, you'll never see it as あのう even though they may stretch out the O sound when speaking. あの and ええと can both be used to mean "um" depending on the context. They're both filler words that are essentially meaningless, just like "um" in English. The fact that あの also means "that" doesn't change the fact that I've never once seen it written out as あのう.


That's good to know. My teachers seem to say ええと a lot - is that roughly the same?

Also, if you wanted to shine some light on the variety of "I hear you" responses (like へえ、ふうん、よかったですね、そうですか) I'd be all ears. I am sure there are nuances there.


Indeed, ええと is pretty much the same as あのう. Kind of like the difference between 'um' and 'hmm'.

あのう, however, can also be used in order to get someone's attention, usually by extending the last vowel even more. This cannot be said for ええと。

As it is expected to make some kind of sound to show that you are listening to a speaker (even when you're not), some kind of utterance is required. That's where the 'I hear you' responses come in.* へえ、ふうん、and そうですか? are usually said quizzically, like 'Is that right?' or 'really?'. These are all pretty much interchangeable. Some other common ones are ほんとう?え~?えっ, なるほど, etc. In Kansai people often say あ~、そうなんや~. Really, it's up to the individual and aren't too contingent on the subject being discussed.

Obviously, いいですねー, よかったですねぇ, would only be used when expressing support and encouragement for some positive accomplishment. Use 残念ですねえ and たいへんですねえ for disappointing news. I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them right now;)


I'm not saying you're wrong, but I have not once seen it as あのう, and my whole life I have always thought of it as あの, and that people just extended the last sound, not because it was written that way, but for the same reason that English speakers sometimes extend the "u" sound in "um" even though it's only written with one "u". One thing that may or may not support this is the phrase あのね. I do believe that keeping it as あの instead of あのう would be best.


As a matter of course I try to assume that I might be wrong initially. Therefore, I checked a couple of dictionaries and didn't find an entry for the non-elongated form. Apparently my check was not diligent enough.

So, it turns out I am wrong. Thank you so much for enlightening me!!

I am familiar with あのねぇ, but I always assumed people were just shortening it for convenience. As a stand-alone, I am just used to hearing people elongate it. Also, as it is written, it is usually elongated.

"The の (no) sound is often lengthened as in あのう, あのぉ, あのー (anō)."

I will revise my comments immediately!!

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