Openers are used as signals that you are going to say something.
Fillers fill up the gaps in your speech, i.e. “um", “uh”, and “like” etc in English.
They often have no concrete meaning, yet greatly help you sound more natural and fluent if you add them in your speech.
Especially when you first learn Japanese you need to fill the silence while you search for vocabulary, and fillers are an excellent way to do so without creating an awkward pause.
So let’s start integrating fillers into your speech so you will sound less like a textbook and sound more approachable and conversational!
By the way, in Japanese some phrases are almost exclusively said by men, and some are usually said by women. But all the following phrases are gender neutral. Easy!
Basic - Level 1
Eeto (えーと) Um…, Let’s see…, (When you are searching for a word)
Ano (あの or あのー) Um… (➀When you are searching for a word
➁When you approach someone and try to get their attention)
Sou (desu ka) (そう(ですか)) with a rising intonation Is that so? Really? *More casual without desu ka
Sou (desu ka) (そう(ですか)) with a flat intonation I see.
Sou desu ne (そうですね) ➀Yes, I agree.
➁Hm, Well.. (when you're pondering something someone said)
Warming Up - Level 2
E (え with a rising intonation) What? Huh?
Heee * "He" as in "Helen" (へぇー). Mildly impressed, surprised, interested
Jaa (じゃあ) If that’s the case, Then
Naru-hodo (なるほど) That makes sense.
Hontou (ほんとう) or Hontou ni (ほんとうに) Really?
Are *A-re, "Re" as in " Recreation"（あれ） Oh? (When you notice something unexpected)
Ohhh（おー） Wow (Quite impressed.)
Yatta (やった） Yay！
Mochiron （もちろん） Of course
Hope this helps. More expressions and their usage are closely covered in our private lessons :)