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  5. "アメリカ人です。"


Translation:I am American.

June 5, 2017



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


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


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! :)


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


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.


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


@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.


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:


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.


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.


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


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


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".


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.


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


I would like to know that too.


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)


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


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


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.


Kanji literally means "chinese character"


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


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.


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?


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.


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


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


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.


I think you can even just say: アメリカ人 but my understanding is that would be real casual speech and in this context you'd never use it as it could be perceived rude. I believe です and ます and the various other verb endings can be omitted but again that's casual speech and probably only how you would speak with a close family member or friend...anyone who can weigh in on this also?


Desu is refering to yourself or others


人 = hito or jin?


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


Both, one is onyomi and the other one is kunyomi


What is that?


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.

  • 1498

So hito is the Japanese reading and jin the Chinese?


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


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)


ドイツ人 German

オランダ人 Dutchman

日本人 Japanese person


Would you pronounce these as doitsujin, orandajin and nihonjin or would doitsuhito, orandahito (and nihonhito) be accaptable as well?


Hito is not the correct reading for these as far as I am aware its jin in these cases...I think hito is the pronunciation when the character 人 is alone or used with a name or other reading..


I should add that I use Google translate a lot to help myself with some questions given the absence of a Japanese speaker...of course it's far from perfect and you should be careful when using it, still it is helpful. You aren't guaranteed to get a perfect answer but I do recommend trying it. I will translate things from English to Japanese and back again and reword sentences to see how their Japanese syntax changes...that and some actual study goes a long way to showing how the language works. Think of the interpreter as like a visual Japanese goto for anything you want to see right away...also jisho.org.


and install a Japanese (日本語) keyboard on your phone...


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


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


Isn't 人 the Chinese symbol person?


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


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


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


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".


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.


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"


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


That's how periods are in Japanese


Is the japanese jin similar to the chinese ren?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


Why are there no spaces between the words?


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


You'd also have no idea what someone meant if they wrote down 「はしです」


Spaces are an indoeuropean thing.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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"


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


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


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


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


it means "an american person"


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"


So what does jin mean


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"


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...


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. :)


Thank you for the references .. I scrolled down and found a lot of good explanation from you and other 'sensei'


I wrote Americans how does that have a different meaning


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.


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


I am america???


アメリカ = America/The US

アメリカ人 = American (person)


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


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.


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


"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 ;)


why is "I am an american" wrong?


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"?


"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


Isn't it forgetting " 私わ" (I am)?


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


So "です" only means "I am"?


It's only "am", because Japanese often skip the "I"


the whole sentence should be わたしはアメリカ人です。The わたしは is "I" but many Japanese sentences leave it off, since it's implied if you don't mention someone specifically. です is a little more complicated, and frankly I don't know that I can explain it that well, but it doesn't necessarily translate to a word, as such.


As I understand アメリカ人です = my nationality is American アメリカ出身です = I live in America


Childish Gambino: *INTENSIFIES*


So literally saying American person (I) am. Not too hard to understand...


Could someone explain the difference between "出身です" and "人です"?


人 means "person" and is used as a suffix to denote a nationality/type of person

出身 means "origin" and marks the place you are from; this is a place you have strong ties to (your hometown, your country, your school, your parentage)

日本人 - Japanese (person)
日本出身 - From Japan

With most people there is some overlay but not everyone's 人 is the same as their 出身
You can be 日本人 Japanese and アメリカ出身 from the US


Please can anyone explain me All is going above head First hiragana then katakana and then this kanji Is it ok if we just learn one of them like hiragana and use it all over Please reply


What is the meaning of jin ??


人 means "person" pronounced じん when used as a suffix for a type of person/their nationality
フランス - France (country)
フランス人 - French (nationality: France-person)
日本 - Japan (country)
日本人 - Japanese (nationality: Japan-person)
アメリカ - America/The US (country)
アメリカ人 - American (nationality: America-person)


I wrote 'It is American', and I was wrong. Could someone please explain why that is wrong?


I am a real American, fight for the rights of every man!


Still struggling to understand what "人" really means, in all different contexts.


人 is the kanji meaning "Person"
It is used as a suffix to denote nationality
アメリカ - The US/America (country)
アメリカ人 - American (America-person)


that part I understand, But is this the only usage/definition?


The kanji is used in any situation where you are talking about a person, though like all kanji it has different readings depending on the context.
The pronunciation changes, but not the meaning itself, which is what your original question seemed to be asking.
Kun-yomi (Native Japanese reading) is ひと
On-yomi (Sino-Japanese reading) is にん and じん

人・ひと is the noun "a person"
人々「人人」ひとびと is then "People" (Person + Person)
女の人・おんなのひと is then "Woman" (female + person)
男の人・おとこのひと is "Man" (male + person)

人・にん is the counter for people,
三人・さんにん "three people", 四人・よにん "four people",
though for one and two people this takes an irregular reading 一人・ひとり "one person/alone" 二人・ふたり "two people"

Compound nouns can take either on-yomi depending on the word (on-yomi being 'nin', 'jin')
人形・にんぎょう "doll" (Person + Shape)
人口・じんこう "Population" (Person + Mouth)
人間・にんげん Human (Person + Space)
人生・じんせい Human life (Person + Life)
人種・じんしゅ Race (Person + Kind/class)
人格・じんかく Personality (Person + Way/Style)
友人・ゆうじん Friend (a bit formal) (Friend + Person)

In these early lessons in the course it is introduced as the suffix for nationalities. Later lessons will cover its other uses. (People 1, Family 2)


Why is 人 not read as "Hitto" in this case?


人・ひと is the noun "a person"
This is the reading the kanji takes when isolated

じん is the reading the kanji takes when used as a suffix for nationality and is the proper reading here.

There have been past issues with the TTS not recognizing that it is being used as a suffix in words like アメリカ人 due to two different writing systems being used, however the audio on this page and from what I've heard in questions this is no longer the case... Though 人 will still be pronounced ひと when it is alone in the word bank as that is the reading the kanji takes when it is alone.


i think the translation can be also "i'm usonian"


America is a continent!!!!!!!1

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