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Japanese Lesson 36: Interrogative Sentences Part 1

Alright, hey, what's up everyone. I'm home sick (and might be tomorrow as well if this fever doesn't break) so I might as well do something productive so let's start on the next lesson, shall we?


... well this is awkward. The vocabulary list for this lesson has the words "do" "does" and "have".

All of which DO have a translation.... .... however in Japanese interrogative sentences, besides the word "have" as in "to own"... you won't be using them.

That may be a little confusing. So I think for this lesson I'm going to employ my old direct translation strategy. That's where I'll show you the example sentences Duo gives me... The correct Japanese equivalent, and a direct English translation OF that Japanese equivalent, as it does not contain some of the words Duo's English example uses.

related story on this topic at the end


Today we're going to introduce you to the particle "ka" 「か」. In this case Ka is used at the end of sentences to indicate a question.

Think of it like a verbal version of a question mark.

Which makes me using actual question marks in the romaji example sentences kind of redundant... (Written Japanese doesn't use question marks)

..... that's pretty much the gist of it....

There are other uses for the particle Ka, but that's the one we're tackling right now.


Do you like it?
Anata wa sore ga suki desu ka?
あなた は それ が すき です か。
Lit: You are liking this?

I try to move around as little words as possible let me know if a word by word translation would also make things easier. It used to for me. EG for the above: You (wa) this (ga) like (is/am/are) (ka) ........... that's still pretty awkward but eh...

Does he have dogs?
Kare wa inu o katteimasu ka?
かれ は いぬ を かっています か。
Lit: He has dogs?/ He raises dogs?/ He owns dogs?

whatever you prefer. That 飼う (kau) can be translated a couple different ways

Do you drink coffee?
Anata wa ko-hi- o nomimasu ka?
あなた は コーヒー を のみます か。
Lit: You drink coffee?

Does he have a coat?
Kare wa ko-to o motteimasu ka?
かれ は コート を もっていますか。
Lit: He has a coat? / He owns a coat?

Do you read books?
Anata wa hon o yondeimasu ka?
あなた は ほん を よんでいます か。
Lit: You own books?

To us the literal translations sound more like a question we rhetorically ask in disbelief... so removing "do" or "does" from your interrogative vocabulary may be a little difficult at first.

Which leads me to my ☆ related story actually.

So I've noticed recently with forming Japanese sentences of my own I've been sort of stumbling over the differences in sentence structure/vocabulary use for the same thought in both English and Japanese.

For instance, when I went through the course lesson to do this thread here I, at first, tried to figure out where "suru" (do/does) would fit into the Japanese version of the sentence.

It doesn't.

Then I tried to figure out what the interrogative version of "do"/"does" that I MUST have forgotten was....

It doesn't exist.

About 45 seconds through that thought process and after throwing in a 「あなたは好きですか。」(anata wa suki desu ka?) as an answer (which is also correct for the first example sentence) my brain finally switched gears and I slapped myself in the forehead for being so dumb.

It's not the fault of my cold. I've been having this problem for a while now. Cold or no cold.

So for anyone else having this problem where your brain is trying to direct translate from your L1 to your L2 and you sit there like "Why isn't this working?" before "HURR DUH! They don't share these words!" it's perfectly normal.

I think that's enough fever induced babbling for now. See you next lesson!!

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October 19, 2015



Family was one of the first things I learned inside my Japanese course, yet you have not gone over it yet here XD Although I suppose Duolingo does have a different learning order. The Family skill might be coming up soon and I look forward to it :3 Another skill I know is very useful in Japanese is talking about the weather (Japanese people I know talk about it a lot o_o) and just talking about nature in General although I know that generally tends to be much further down the Tree. I went down your tree so far and I very much enjoyed it! Thank you for your hard work <3 Your knowledge has gone beyond my courses in some ways (And in other ways my courses were a little more specific. Like in the case with clothes) but it is definitely very thorough and extremely well done on your end.


TBH I've never even taken a Japanese course. I'm a little ways ahead of the courses I'm translating and I have not come across family yet..... :/ My knowledge of the weather can be considered slightly lacking. If it's not raining or snowing I'm afraid I'm out of luck. XD. I'm glad you've enjoyed my lessons so far! Heh, as far as the clothing lesson goes that's one of the areas where I'm a little lacking in knowledge myself. The different words for wear are new to me and so I couldn't add much explanation to the lessons. ^_^ Thank you very much!


Very useful, thanks for sharing, learned some new vocabulary words in Japanese thanks to you. I sure hope one day Duolingo adds Japanese as a course.


^-^ I'm glad you've been able to learn from me!! And I'm confidant that Duo will make a Japanese for English speaker course sometime in the near future. :3 They're just still working on the reverse for right now. ^-^


True, the English for Japanese speakers is still in beta, regardless they'll eventually get that done soon, then hopefully, the language that got me into language learning, Japanese, will be put on Duolingo.


Last I heard, a few months back some of the contributors to english for japanese speakers have been dealing with similar difficulties like korean and chinese(with traditional characters included), like it was taking ages for them to translate how sentences were structured.

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't there a way to switch the native language to japanese in order to use the beta?


Yes. That's exactly what I'm doing. But you'll be learning English from Japanese. It's doable without being able to actually READ Japanese yourself... you'll need a combination of rikaichan/kun and jisho.org to assist... which is a real big pain in the butt... but it's doable.


I do use rikaichan to get a idea of youtube titles. Sometimes it woulds to a extent, but at times when I watch shows you youtube, there does seem to be differences in dialect.


I have been avoiding doing the reverse tree because I know it is going to be a little different as it is trying to teach English (And not Japanese) and I don't want to get any wrong ideas or cause any problems for the Japanese team by reporting errors that don't apply to an English learning course. I know this is an issue the Korean team has had, people doing the reverse course and reporting errors because they couldn't learn Korean well when it was trying to teach English. Q_Q lol

[deactivated user]

    Yes a new one! Thank you very much brother.


    ^-^ no problem! I've just been super busy recently is all.


    Do you ever sort or learn kanji from radicals? Because 飼 looks like it uses to eat along with three other radicals. Plus, how common is that character used? Is it common enough in everyday usage?


    Kanji Damage employs that basic thought process... but I don't know how "Eat" + "administer" = "own/raise an animal"

    ........ well OK I can......... if you're going to own a pet you need to administer food to it so it can eat............ or some such...

    I don't see it outside of duolingo... but that might just be because the lack of Japanese media around me in which someone brings up owning a pet...


    Do you like it? Anata wa sore o suki desu ka? あなた は それ を すき です か。 あなたはそれを好きですか。 ”を” より ”が”のほうが自然です。

    「Nがすきです/Nがすきではありません/Nがきらいです」、「好き・嫌い・こわい・悲しい・うれしい、など」  感情の向う対象には ”が” がつきます

    大好き ←感情の対象→それ それが大好き

    →犬 犬が大好き


    WOW! How did I mess THAT up. >.< I actually know that piece of grammar pretty thoroughly. WOW.

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