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Aizuchi is the uniquely Japanese custom of interjecting words of agreement or acknowledgment as someone speaks to you, or of responding to the other party's statement.
Whereas most Westerners are taught to hold off on speaking until the other party has finished, Japanese depend on an elegant dance of aizuchi back and forth; indeed, if you fail to provide aizuchi, your Japanese speaker is likely to conclude that you don't understand what he is saying.
Yet knowing the appropriate aizuchi is a challenge, even for advanced students of Japanese. Adding "そうですか" or "そうですね" as the other party speaks is generally safe, but that only nicks the surface of aizuchi.
How much aizuchi is too much or how little is too little can be answered only through experience and observing native Japanese speakers, but this free Nihongo quiz will help you understand the appropriate aizuchi response in different situations.
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