Common Slang

Contracted forms used in casual Japanese.

When Japanese learners start reading or watching shows, they start to encouter numerous expressions like とこ、こりゃ、とる、てんの that do not appear in their dictionary or in textbooks and the reading or watching becomes quite discouraing.

So I thought that it would be really useful if there were a list of those expressions, that are contracted forms used so often in casual language. And this is the purpose of this text.

What are contracted forms?

Contractions, or short form are used in everyday speech and informal writing to make communication easier and faster. Those forms are usually not appropriate in formal writing.

Examples in English I am → I’m, I will → I’ll, don’t know → dunno

Just like in English, such forms are also used in Japanese. While they are often called contracted forms, many are even not that short and are simply regional variants.

But before all of that, there is something troubling lots of problems and rarely explained:



Many people have a problem with those and similar phrases, thinking it is some unknown conjugation of いadjective. However, those are all conjugations of いajdective + なる.

ほしい(want/wish for/etc)・遅い(slow/late) + なる(become/get/etc) ・ほしい・遅い becomes ほしく・遅く(adverbial form) and then なる(the verb) is added. ほしくなる・遅くなるAfter that なる becomes the past form, ending as なった。In case of 遅い it takes ても (even if).ほしくなった・遅くなっても

PatternExampleContracted Example
ている→てる・でいる→でる ている uses毎日(まいにち)お茶(ちゃ)を飲(の)んでいる毎日お茶を飲んでる I drink tea every day.
ていて→てて続(つづ)けていてください続けててください。Please, continue.
ていた→てたレストランは以前(いぜん)は空(す)いていた。レストランは以前は空いてた。The restaurant was empty (for some time).
ています→てます・でいます→でますロードランナーとコヨーテ知っていますロードランナーとコヨーテ知ってます?Do you know the road runner and the coyote?
ている/ておる→とる・でいる/でおる→どるお前(まえ)はもう死(し)んでるお前はもう死んどる。You are already day.
ていく→てく (and go…, some change continues)家(いえ)に連(つ)れていく家に連れてくよ. I will take you home.
る+の→んの (asking for or providing explanation)何(なん)やってるの何やってんの? What are you doing?
る+な→んな足(あし)が腫(はる)れているなら医者(いしゃ)に行くべきだ足が腫れてんなら医者へいけよ If your leg is swollen, go see a doctor.
ておく・でおく→どく(to do something in advance)薬(くすり)を飲(の)む前(まえ)に何(なん)か食(た)べておくべき。薬を飲む前に何か食べとくべき。You should eat something before taking medicine.
ては→ちゃ・では→じゃ食べてはいけない。食べちゃいけない。You must not eat.
では→じゃUFOではない。UFOじゃない。This is not ufo.
れは・れば→りゃれは・気分(きぶん)がよければ踊(おど)るよりゃ・気分がよけりゃ歌うわ This is… ・If she is in good mood, she will dance.
なくては→なくちゃ食(た)べ物(もの)を見(み)つけなくてはいけない。食べ物を見つけなくちゃ。I must find something to eat.
なければ→なきゃ・なければ→けりゃ何か食べなければいけない何か食べなきゃいけない。I must eat something.
てしまう→ちゃう・でしまう→じゃう (to do something by accident, to finish something)ずいぶん太(ふ)ってしまった。(This happened to me recently)ずいぶん太っちゃった。I got (unfortunatelly) fat.
てあげる→たげる・であげる→だげる(to do something for someone else, uncommon)もっと送(おく)ってあげるもっと送ったげる。I WILL send you more.
てやる・てあげる→たる (to do something for someone else, common)もっと送ってやるもっと送ったる。I WILL send you more.
ところ→とこ Briefly explained hereたった今(いま)帰(かえ)ったところだ。たった今帰ったとこだ。I just returned home.
の→んそう思(おも)っただ。そう思っただ。I thought so.
もの→もん (exactly the same sound change as above)怒(おこ)らないで、子供(こども)なのだもの怒らないで、子供なんだもん。Don’t get angry, it’s just a kid.
ない→ん知(し)らない知ら。I don’t know. (Dunno)
です→っす(to be, Nagatoro anyone?)美術部(びじゅつぶ)ですか?美術部っすか?Is this an art club?
でしょう→でしょ・っしょ(right? expresses supposition)ロマンティックでしょうロマンティックっしょ?(Isn’t he incredibly romantic?)
ます→っす食べ食べるっす。to eat
Adjective[oi]→Adjective[ee]ごいげぇ amazing
Adjective [a i]→Adjective[ee]かいけぇ expensive
Adjectiveい→remove い痛(いた)いた!ir huts! (ouch!)
は→って (topic marker, as for)先輩(せんぱい)すごい。先輩ってすごい。Senpai is amazing.
と→って (quotation particle)ワニがたくさんいる聞(き)いたんだワニがたくさんいるって聞いたんだ I heard that there are many crocodiles here.
ても→たって (even if)ゲームを買(か)っても、忙(いそが)しくてやれない。ゲームを買ったって、忙しくてやれない。Even if I buy games, I am so busy I can’t play.

Notice that the simplest contractions are the ones where one sylable is removed, they are called 抜き in Japanese. For example: い抜き → ている→てる。

You might have also heard this in context of ら抜き, that is potential form of るverbs (ichidan verbs) with ら removed → 見られる→見れる

Another type of contraction are voice changes, for exmaple:

nasal voice change:


And the last type are local variants:

だ→や (kansai-ben)


Some common slang expressions:

こんにちはですちーっす hello/hey
りがとうごますあざっす thanks!
すみませんさーせん・すまん・すいません sorry
やはりやっぱり・やっぱ as expected
わかない (this is the same sound change as る to ん)わかない don’t know
でありますでありんすto be


だ→やあなたのゲームあなたのゲーム。It is your game.
ね(right?)→なまた明日(あした)また明日 Untill tomorrow!
よ(emphasizes new information)→わ私(わたし)だよやわ It is me!
だね・でしょう→やん (right?)高(たか)いでしょう高いやん It is expensive, right?
のだ→ねん (asking or providing explanation)アメリカに行(い)くんだアメリカに行くねん。 I am going to US.
たのだ→てん (asking or providing explanation)テレビを見(み)たんだテレビを見てん。I watched TV.
させる(causative, make someone to something)→さすさせるさす To make someone see/to let someone see
てしまった→てもうた・でしまった→でもうたケーキーを食べてしまったケーキーを食べてもうた。I (unfortunately) ate cake.

I hope it helps!

I am mrnoone, and this was Brief Japanese.

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