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  5. "アメリカ人です。"

"アメリカ人です。"

Translation:I am American.

June 5, 2017

101 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vivalaashutosh

This is the first sentence with hiragana, katakana and kanji, nice.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/royalt213

I don't even know what the last two things are.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JasonH565

Hiragana is the first syllabary that you have learnt. あいうえお this is Hiragana, the syllabary is round. です is the Hiragana part in this sentence. I recommend that you learn ひらがな from this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p9Il_j0zjc=515s


Katakana is the second syllabary needed to be mastered to know how to read Japanese. アイウエオ this is katakana, the syllabary is more pointy. アメリカ is the katakana part in this sentence. Katakana is used to write animal and plant names, foreign names, and loan words. I recommend that you learn カタカナ from this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6DKRgtVLGA


Kanji is Japanese logogram. A character represents a concept or a word. It originated from China. 人 this is the Kanji part of this sentence meaning person. 「ひと」 is the Japanese reading (kunyomi [you call a Japanese person with -kun suffix :P]) and 「じん」is the Chinese reading (onyomi) that is used in this sentence. You should check out https://youtu.be/sspUdoV9Il0 and wanikani for the quickest way to remember 漢字.

I hope that answers your question. :)


Bonus: Both the hiragana and katakana video have been fused into this 2-hour video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wZHqOghvSs! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NicholasRu214667

I feel like this course just escalated from crawling to rock climbing, but your comment helped clear it up a lot.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ainu00

One should not just start learning japanese (and not only japanese) through similar apps. Experience shows, mostly they do not provide rules necessary to actually set a link within what's going on. Though it could be even useful when it comes to independent conclusion making.

First I would recommend to read some book material in the Internet. Teaching sites would be somewhat more useful as they often provide the most necessary shortcut info not dipping into details. Same applies to Wikipedia.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TwinKiki

Yes, Duolingo can be very frustrating when used alone. It's just a tool among others.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JorionEdwa

@ianterrell You can try reading children's stories.

http://life.ou.edu/stories/ in particular contains the Japaneese and English versions of traditional tales, as well as the hiragana readings for the kanji used.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Demise_NL

The best way to master Hiragana and Katakana is still using pen and paper and retrieving the characters from memory without looking. The more you do it completely from memory the better it will stay there.

After you've mastered Hiragana and Katakana, this might be a good place to continue alongside with Duo:

https://www.edx.org/course/japanese-pronunciation-for-communication

and https://www.openlearning.com/courses/introductory-japanese-language-level-1

The JapanesePod101 and FreeJapaneseLessons.com sites are also helpful. I feel getting exposure from as many sources as possible is the best way of learning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SaiGoodbyedays

Right, I remember writing 100 of each of the character back to back at my class in the past from hiragana, katakana up to number 100. Cramming it all in 1 week cause of laziness, made it to submission date with big eye bugs of course, glad that it helped me a lot these days. I wonder just how many tree did I just waste by doing that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lopium

I can suggest you to make company to Duolingo with Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese @ http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Enedlammeniel

What do you mean by the Japanese vs Chinese reading? Why is it using the Chinese here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JasonH565

The Japanese reading is usually used when the Kanji is on its own.

Chinese reading is usually used for compound words or multiple Kanji with a fixed meaning such as this one meaning a nationality.

Example: あの人は日本人です。「あのひとはにほんじんです。」(That person is Japanese.)

Be aware though as there are exceptions especially those concerning body parts and their "analogy".

Examples:

左/右手「ひだり/みぎて」(left/right hand)

手首/足首「てくび/あしくび」 (wrist/ankle [lit. hand neck/foot neck)

出口/入り口「でぐち/いりぐち」(exit/entrance [lit. exit mouth/entrance mouth])

Bonus: The first syllable of the 口 in 入り口 and 出口 is voiced. This is a phenomenon called rendaku and I encourage you to look for it.


Historically speaking, Japanese was only a spoken language. Japanese then borrowed the Chinese logogram along with their reading. But a problem arose. They had had the native readings (kun'yomi) for a long time. "Should we get rid of kun'yomi in favour of the Chinese reading (on'yomi)?" they asked. "No!" "Let's use their symbol but say it the way we want!" "How about the on'yomi then? Should we get rid of them?" "No! Let's have both instead because why not!" they answered. So yeah....

Also, the on'yomi reading is very old, because it represents how the old Chinese language sounded like (not is) to the Japanese long time ago.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JacintaHu

Why does the kanji 人 have two different pronunciations and when do you use each one?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zayn232210

I would like to know that too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ema467434

Actually, another fact is that kanji is read in onyomi only when it's put together with another kanji. For example : 電車 ( でんしゃ) - electric car 電 - でん - electricity 車 - くるま / シャ Also another fact : In Japanese last names, kanjis are read in kunyomi. For example : 山口 山 - やま / サン / ザン 口 - ぐち / くち (the readings that are written in katakana are the kun yomi readings)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eugrus

In the same way as English has many synonyms with Anglo-Saxon and French roots.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amitraksha

I did some lessons in chinese a few months ago. And 6 days ago when i started the japanese i saw many characters like chinese character. I had no knowledge about it then. I used to see the comments and learned that those were KANJI. Kanji characters orijins from the chinese characters


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kimiko_Sensei

In Chinese the characters are called Hanji or Hanzi. And in Japanese they are called Kanji.

It means the Han Characters. The Han Dynasty was when the standard form of writing came out to all of China as a means of mass communication for all across China under one ruler.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zigerions

Kanji literally means "chinese character"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Davedavido

Is there any situation in which you WOULD pronounce 人 as ひと?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PholaX

Yes. When you mean a person, you say "hito". E.g.: ano hito - that person(man). But when you say a composed word (like "englishman") you pronounce it like "jin". Google about on-yomi and kun-yomi to understand that better.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zigerions

So when i read the sentence out loud, should i say hi-to or ji-n? Seems like it should be ji-n, but does anyone say America hi-to desu?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xLynchiex

When kanji is used together with other characters, you use the on reading. So アメリカ人です would be america jin desu. When you use the kanji on its own 人, meaning person, you would say hito.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eromeon

No, because America - Jin is a composed word and compounds use the Chinese pronunciation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Afifatuzzahra

The last two are で (de) す (su), so they adding "I am ..." to the アメリカ人 (Amerikajin)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Equilibrio8

Yes. It's almost more like just am, the I (watashi, sorry no hiragana keyboard) is understood. Des (or desu) could also be is or are. (John -san-wa America-jin des) You could also explicitly say I (watashi-wa America-jin des). If we translate it literally would be something like about me, America-person am.

I'm guessing watashi-wa America-jin des is the kind of complete sentence that one practices for the sake of understanding a complete sentence, but no one actually would say it ?? . Kind of like como esta usted in Spanish-people just say como estas

If you read the tips (should be an option from where you start a lesson) it talks about some of this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AniMei2

Desu is refering to yourself or others


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gerlonm

人 = hito or jin?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Airichann

It can also be read as hito, but in the sebtences used in this exercise, the correct reading is jin


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kimiko_Sensei

This character turns to the pronunciation “jin” when used after the name of a country one is from:

アメリカ人 American

カナダ人 Canadian

中国人 Chinese

フランス人 French (person)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RamenDutchman

ドイツ人 German

オランダ人 Dutchman

日本人 Japanese person


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaelJime60317

Both, one is onyomi and the other one is kunyomi


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zigerions

What is that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RamenDutchman

Chinese reading and Japanese reading.

The characters originate from China, but the Japanese have their own pronounctiation. They are both used for their convinience and our confusion.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dtUyaD

So hito is the Japanese reading and jin the Chinese?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xLynchiex

The kanji alone is pronounced hito, but when used in a compound word it's pronounced jin


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ColorOMagic

it is both. this is the chinese reading. every kanji has japanese and chinese reading


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grant30

Just to clarify with the transliteration, "America jin des" = America person is/am. Jin is the word referring to people, in this case nationality.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CaioFranca2

Isn't 人 the Chinese symbol person?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JasonH565

Yes it is! Japanese borrowed the Chinese logogram. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zigerions

Yes it is a kanji character, and kanji characters means chinese characters, "kan = Han" and "ji = character"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sxr13

Since 私は doesn't start the sentence, is です supposed tell us the sentence is reffering to "I"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KiritsuguZFC

No, です does not necessarily imply that the subject is "I". However, Japanese often leaves their pronouns out and you will have to infer from the context what the subject is supposed to be. So, this sentence could also mean " He is american".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew-Lin

Well, です does not necessarily imply that the subject is "I", but in many cases Japanese people tend to guess that the subject is "I" if the subject is omitted. However, it is true that this sentence can imply anyone being American, depending on the context. Japanese might be the most context-dependent language I have ever learned.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JesseGreav1

yeah, i thought so too, as there was no topic indicator at the start of the sentence. Normally, you'd say "Watashi wa america jin desu" having "watashi" (I/me) as the topic indicator. I think if it were obvious as to what you were talking about (ie. if someone asked you what nationality you were) then it would be acceptable to just say "america jin desu", but without that previous context, you would start with "watashi wa"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chrisdidit

What's the period-looking symbol at the end of the sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Untitled_Name

That's how periods are in Japanese


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sirconnorstack

Why are there no spaces between the words?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JasonH565

Because that is how Japanese is, that's why it's important to learn kanji and katakana alongside hiragana. IfJapanesedid'thavekanjiandkatakana,thisishowthewrittenlanguagewouldlooklike.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jamesjiao

Spaces are an indoeuropean thing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xLynchiex

That's just how it is. As you get more advanced and learn more kanji, you'll notice that kanji will make up nouns, adjectives, etc, while hiragana will make up the grammar. Of course there are still words that will have hiragana in them, but the kanji you learn, the easier it will be to read as a whole.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MatthiasVi831562

"You're not American! You're not even wearing a flag on your head!"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Phoenix87

Is the japanese jin similar to the chinese ren?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Airichann

Japanese kanji is taken from chinese characters so many kanji will have similar meanings to the corresponding chinese character but usually with different pronounciations


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KrouwCrow

They both come from classical chinese. It's similar the way vit- is to "la vie"... But yeah, you got it....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tomas.linper

Shouldnt it start with 私は so we now it means 'I am'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/k8bit

Japanese is highly contextual and you often don't use pronouns at all. That said, you could.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zigerions

You can, but you'll probably stand out as a foreigner if you say that because by context, people know you're talking about yourself, America jin desu already means I'm American


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mick.eins

or he/she/they/us/you is/are American. To answer I'm American we need watashi/boku wa because there's no other context here. Otherwise anyone and not only I is American.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Japanese_Neko

If someone's confused with this sentence, the Japanese put the subject first, then the action. So for this, "アメリカ人" means "American", and "です" means "I am" in this sentence.

This is also cool that this is the first sentence in Duolingo that uses all three Japanese writing systems: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. "アメリカ" is Katakana. "人" is Kanji. "です" is Hiragana obviously.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trinth

Does です always mean I'm? At least in these early lessons?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/k8bit

It literally means "is". The pronoun is omitted entirely. You can assume the one being talked about is yourself for learning purposes in the lessons, but it's unrelated to です and the sentence could technically refer to any number of things.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kidkuma

What's the difference between ( アメリカしうじんです ) And ( アメリカ人です ) Why do they both mean "I'm American" Is there a clear difference in meaning? I scrolled around and didn't see the answer so forgive me for my stupidity if it's been answered.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NakamuraFF

Amerika-jin means ”an american person” and ”amerika shusshinn” means ”originate from America”, when describing a person. It is often used to answer the question ”where are you from?” (Doko no shusshinn desu ka) and doesn’t need to be a country. ” Toukyou shusshinn desu” or ”ishiyama shusshinn desu”. Using ”naninani-jinn” is more often used to in connection to a larger geographical area like a country or a prefecture (nihonn-jinn, kannsai-jinn, etc.) but it feels unnatural with a name of a remote village. Shusshinn can also be used with the name of a small village.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NakamuraFF

しゅっしん can even be used for the school that you graduated. 東大出身 (とうだいしゅっしん) - toukyou university graduate.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maryateresa77

What if it was "she/we/you is from america" would the translation have been the same?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmeMeansRhain

I think yes because there is no "she/we/you" is more just "is/am/are" So instead of thinking of it like "I am from america" think of it like "Am/is/are from america"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Soushii2

so...in romaji its "Amerika jin desu"? I know romaji is hated alot but its helpful for me to remember the characters-


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/9HzZ4

Why is "人" in "I am American" and its not there in "I am John/Maria"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keniko1

It means 'person', so the sentence is something like 'I am an American person'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mia35743

I don't mean to sound like a idiot, but what does アメリ力人です。 Translate to in English???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ColorOMagic

it means "an american person"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

アメリ力人 by itself would be "American" or "America-person"
The copula です means "is/am/are" making this a complete sentence
アメリ力人です - "(I/you/he/she) am/are/is American"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yeeboi12

Ok, now I'm confused. I searched this up on google translate and it said Amerika hito instead of amerika jin. WHICH ONE IS CORRECT?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

Don't ever trust google translate. Amerikajin is correct.
Kanji have multiple readings to them depending on context that google translate is unable to distinguish. Often when by themselves they are read with their kun-yomi (japanese reading), in this case "Hito", and when part of a compound word they often use an on-yomi (sino-japanese reading), in this case "jin". Since America is spelled with katakana it did not recognize the phrase as a compound word and therefore chose the kun-yomi "hito" instead even though it is incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmeMeansRhain

So if it was hiragana instead of katakana would it be "nin" instead of "jin", since that's the other Onyomi?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

If America was written in kanji then the compound word would be recognized by google's translator and say the proper reading for the context, in this case "jin". ("Nin" is used for the counter for people and how it is pronounced when attached to a number). The word "America" doesn't use kanji though, unless you use its traditional formal name 米国 "beikoku" instead. Writing 米国人 the program would recognize the compound since it is all in kanji and would pronounce it "beikokujin" as it should.
Writing "amerika" in hiragana but keep "person" in kanji would still cause the program to see America and Person as two separate words.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tom_W.

Not to be a bother, but if it were 'I am a person'. Would it be "hito desu" instead of "jin desu"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NakamuraFF

Yes it would. You isually only see jin in compound words but hito in compounds and alone. So 人材 jinsai, アメリカ人amerikajin or 人 hito, 旅人 tabibito.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BluuDuud

So what does jin mean


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

人 pronounced "jin" here is the kanji meaning 'person'
アメリカ人 ・amerika jin ・ America-Person・"American" 
日本人・nihon jin ・Japan-Person・"Japanese"
中国人・chuugoku jin ・China-Person・"Chinese"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katerina_shukhat

But I thought 人 means person... Oh and does anyone know how you memorize all three syllabries at once?? I keep getting katakana and hiragana confused, and I feel like duolingo didn't even teach all the kanji we should know for this lesson...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

You're correct, 人 does mean person! When added as a suffix to a country it denotes nationality "America-person = 'American'"


I learned hiragana and katakana roughly at the same time. They cover the same set of syllables so they're easier to compare to each other with hiragana being very rounded characters and katakana being very sharp simplified ones. It's kind like memorizing the alphabet in print and cursive form. They often have similarities in shape. I'd create a grid of the sounds (A-I-E-O-U across, K-T-S-R-etc. down) and try to write both forms from memory every day; re-writing each one I got incorrect 10 or so more times until I could comfortably read and write all of them.

Online Nihongo has some great lessons and quizzing on reading and writing them.

Tofugu also has a good hiragana mnemonics guide and another for katakana

If you like games the free demo version of Slime Forest Adventure is a simple rpg that teaches you the hiragana, katakana and a good amount of kanji. (It also covers the extremely rare obsolete kana such as we and wi that most other programs don't.

MyBenkyo also has a list of different games you can play online to practice your hiragana and katakana

When it comes to Katakana this discussion has a few tricks you can use to tell some of the more similar-looking ones apart.


Kanji is its own beast. It's not a syllabary but a large complex set of logograms. Don't try to memorize them the same way or you'll burn yourself out really fast. They have multiple readings that change based on the context they are used in, and trying to memorize these readings like the kana without that context is just going to confuse you. It's easier to treat them more like vocabulary and learn them in and as the words they're used for as you go.
Start with the simple ones (like 'person' here) and work yourself up. Many of the basic simple kanji are used to make up more complicated kanji, so learning the smaller ones first will help you in the future to distinguish meanings and create mnemonics for harder ones down the line.

Duo also isn't really a program set up to properly teach things like kanji, so using alternative resources is definitely recommended. Things like Japanesepod101 (they have a nice intro to kanji series on their youtube), Wanikani, Kanshudo, and Kanjigarden are great. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CerinLUKE

I wrote Americans how does that have a different meaning


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

Was "Americans" the only thing you wrote? That isn't a complete sentence; you still need to translate the verb/copula here: です.
"We are Americans" or "They are Americans" would be valid translations of this phrase in the right context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CerinLUKE

it wasn't the only thing but overall thanks for the input I think I understand better now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luzxferl

I am america???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ehartz
Mod
  • 685

アメリカ = America/The US

アメリカ人 = American (person)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danny557836

I made a typo and forgot to put an 'n' at the end of America and end up getting it wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ehartz
Mod
  • 685

That's because "America" (アメリカ) and "American" (アメリカ人) are two different words, both in Japanese and in English. We can't know for certain that you understand the difference if you don't use the correct word.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arito766399

"I'm" didnt work i feel like it should.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ehartz
Mod
  • 685

"I'm American" is an accepted answer. Please double-check that you didn't make another typo. Lots of people mistakenly write "I'm America," for instance ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Terrabalt

why is "I am an american" wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmeMeansRhain

Wait since its アメリカ人です, does that mean I can say "Amerika hito desu" instead of "Amerika jin desu" or is there a rule that says I have to say "jin" instead of "hito"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

"jin" is the suffix used to denote nationality. This is the sound that kanji will make when attached to a country name.
"hito" is the noun "person" used when the kanji is by itself
"Amerika hito desu" wouldn't make sense. You would at least need to put the possessive/grouping particle between them アメリカの人 Amerika no hito for "Person of America", but that's a bit awkward phrasing when you could just say "American" instead


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GERMANCRUZ426959

Isn't it forgetting " 私わ" (I am)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Qwerty-Space

Gaijin 外人(outsider/foreigner) And gaikokujin 外国人(foreign citizen) both use the 人 kanji

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