Translation:I am American.
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! :)
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.
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:
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.
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".
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.
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)
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
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. :)
"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