"Son amie est japonaise."

Translation:His friend is Japanese.

February 18, 2013

This discussion is locked.


'Amie' is masculine right, so why not 'japonais'?


Actually, "ami" is masculine, and "amie" is feminine. Here, "son amie" is used because the possessive adjective takes the masculine form when it comes before a voewl (basically to avoid the difficulty of saying something like "sa amie.") This doesn't apply if there is an adjective in there (e.g., "sa belle amie").


Thanks for that answer, Patrick - have a lingot


"a Japanese woman"? Why is it just "Japanese"??


"A Japanese woman" = une Japonaise (capitalized demonym)

"... is Japanese" = est japonaise (non-capitalized adjective)


Thanks a lot for the explanation! My dad told me about this rule before, but it helps to have it reinforced here by a fellow language learner.


"Son amie est japonaise." - How can we tell if it isn't "Son ami est japonais.". They sound alike!


When a word ends in an 'e' the consonant preceding it gets pronounced. So "japonais" is pronounced like "ja-po-nay" whereas "japonaise" is pronounced like "ja-po-nays"


More precisely: "ja-po-nayZ"


So, Sitesurf, you are saying that if we pronounce the final S as a Z we will be understood. We don't have to pronounce it as 'ev' like the robot does here or as 'av' (long A) as the robot does at the site suggested by Bill Roca below. On Forvio, one pronounciation given is Japonaiz and another is Japonaz-eh. I don't know which of these to use for nouns that end in s and a final e.


[-aise] is pronounced as [-èse] or -ayZ, yes.

The basic reason for that is that S is pronounced Z when it is placed between vowels:

  • chemise = -iZ

  • chose = -oZ

  • phrase = -aZ


Okay. Z it will be for me. Merci beaucoup.


To hear the difference try this site, with French chosen as the synthesized language: http://www.acapela-group.com/text-to-speech-interactive-demo.html ... enter "japonais, japonaise, japonais, japonaise."


Couldn't "Their friend is Japanese." also work here, as we don't know the gender of the person asking?


It is not a matter of gender but of number of owners: "their" = leur (3rd person plural ils/elles)


Their can also be third-person gender neutral in English.


Please see the "Usage notes" on this page: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/singular_they

Though many use "they" as a singular pronoun, I was raised (like many others!) that "they" is improper, and saying "themself" is an absolute abomination -- in fact, as I type that out, my browser tells me it is not a word!

I learned, for many years, that "their" should always be replaced with "his or her" though this is usually ignored for brevity, and to avoid the general awkwardness of admitting you do not know someone's gender.

I'm not saying that you're necessarily wrong... it's obviously a matter of opinion since 99.9% of English speakers will understand you. I just wanted to point out that the use of "they" as a singular pronoun isn't always accepted as grammatically correct.


What is grammatically correct just is what "is systematically and deliberately employed by speakers and writers, and systematically and knowingly accepted by audiences." That's not a matter of opinion either as this is "an area of empirical study and careful reflection, which it is perfectly possible for people to argue about, and which it is possible to make claims about which turn out to be true, or false, of the language as she is spoken." The "rule" against singular they is a counterfeit rule, viz. it is a false claim about English grammar.

As for "themself" being a hit against the use of singular they, you'd probably be right that it doesn't even fit what I've just described as the basis for a correct claim about English grammar, but then again, it's also not an inflection called for by singular they. That would be "themselves," which I imagine your spellchecker thinks is just fine.



  • used instead of his or her to refer to a person whose sex is not mentioned or not known. If anyone calls, ask for their number so I can call them back

He used to be considered to cover both men and women:Everyone needs to feel he is loved. This is not now acceptable. Instead, after everybody, everyone, anybody, anyone, somebody, someone, etc. one of the plural pronouns they, them, and their is often used


You're right and if it is not currently accepted, I suggest you report it.


? See the answer of sitesurf on this question!


Even Larousse uses "their" for "son". http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/anglais-francais/their/617938

  • quelqu'un a oublié son parapluie = somebody's left their umbrella behind

So does Collins: http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-french/their

  • 2.(= his or her) son m, sa f, ses pl ⇒ Anyone looking for income from their investments ... Quiconque cherche à avoir des revenus de ses placements ...

And from Oxford: http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/their

  • used instead of his or her to refer to a person whose sex is not mentioned or not known. If anyone calls, ask for their number so I can call them back


Can someone please clarify, wouldn't "Her friend is Japanese" also be a correct translation. Since, Son/Sa references the friend (Amie) and not the possessor of the friend, thus, we don't actually know the gender of the person we're talking about. Correct?


Yes, "son amie" can translate alternatively to his or her friend, no problem.


So as said previously we do not know the gender of the possessor of the friend, but we do know the friend is feminine. This is as "amie" is used the friend is feminine. And as the friend is feminine the nationality is in the feminine "Japonaise", as it has to agree with the noun "amie". Is this all correct?


I spelled japanese wrong and it said incorrect


I wrote "his female friend is Japanese", which is actually correct and more precise as "amie" denotes the feminine, and yet it was marked wrong.


I assumed that the use of "son" meant that "amie" was actually "ami". Why was this not the case?


"amie" starts with a vowel.

"sa-amie" would be difficult to pronounce.

therefore, in that case (+ before a non-aspired H), "sa" is changed to "son".

  • son amie (fem)

  • son habitude (fem)

what makes the friend "une amie" and not "un ami" is the Z sound at the end of "japonaise" (masculine "japonais" sounds @JAPONAY)


What I don't understand is why we should select as correct also the masculine sentence (His friend is Japanese) when we know for sure the friend in this sentence is "japonaise", meaning a woman.


Let's clarify the issue here:

"his (a man's) friend (male or female) is Japanese (male or female)" can translate in:

= "son (male) ami (male) est japonais (male) "

or "son (female) amie (female) est japonaise (female)".

"his" and "her" translate in "son" in front of a feminine noun starting with a vowel like "amie" because of the A-A vowel conflict: "sa+amie".


Sorry but it's telling me to say : son ami est japonaise!!! That's wrong isn't it???!!! I'm confused now...


Men can have female friends too!


The only clue you really had was that it said "JaponaiSE". That was the only way you could know it was amie, and not ami.


I thought that his friend would be son ami


You are correct. The rules of agreement would require that.

However, sa amie has a collision between the last letter of sa and the first letter of amie. When this happens to sa, it is changed to son. This makes for easier speaking.

  • "japonaise" with the Z sound at the end indicates that the adjective is feminine.


i put "son ami est japonaise" and it was ok, but after reading all this thread i believe duo should have marked it wrong. am i ok?


"son ami est japonais" would indeed be the masculine version.


Why not "Sa amie est japanaise" ? I mean, if the japanese girl was friends with another girl?...


"amie" is feminine already.

The issue here is that "amie" starts with a vowel, so ta-amie would be difficult to say (sound hiatus). In that case "sa" becomes "son", even though "son amie" is a girl/woman.


Thank you! I like your explanations everytime i read them! @Sitesurf


Why isn't ami accepted?


Because the adjective is audibly feminine: japonaise (ending: ɛz)


How to tell if this is a friend who is a girl, or this is a girlfriend like he dates her?


In French , you know that the friend is a woman (amie + japonaise) but you know the gender of the other person.

In English, you don't know the gender of the Japanese person, but you know that this person is friends with a man.


why not Canadian eh


Why is "my friend's Japanese" wrong?


Sorry, why is "his friend's Japanese" wrong?


In colloquial speech, that would be fine, but the Duolingo system doesn't handle contractions well, so avoid them when translating these exercises.


Why is "son ami est japonais" incorrect ?


Was this a listening exercise? If so, it was incorrect because the "s" in « japonaise » is voiced due to the following "e". So, you can't write the masculine « japonais » since that "s" is silent.


Why is it wrong to say: "his friend is a Japanese woman"? this answer was rejected.

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