"His older brother is a middle school student."
You know a lot of Japanese language! I am surprised. I want to be like you in English. I imagine you want say 'respect word', don't you?
I think you assumed 'by using お兄さん it becomes clear that I am not talking about my own elder brother. Shouldn't we refer to our elder brother as ani (兄)'.
It is right.
But this sentence tell us, 'his' elderly brother. If we take the word 'his', we cannot know the elderly brother is 'his', 'her' or 'their'.
And I think this word is necessary.
My English not good, sorry. (´･_･`)
Try this method if it helps u better.
Noun and noun needs の.
Noun の Noun
かれの犬 his dog あにの車 my older brother's car いもうとの猫 my younger sister's cat
as for the white dog, since it is い adjective, nothing is changed by simply appending it's original form to the noun itself.
しろい犬 white dog あかい車 red car くろい猫 black cat
な adjectives a bit tricky though.
British people have literally no understanding of if middle school counts as "junior school", or "high school", which is making these translations really frustrating and difficult as we have no point of reference for translation. We of them in American films, but not to the extent of it being clear about which is what.
In Britain we have Primary School (ages 4 - 11), Secondary School (ages 11 - 16), and then college, or sixth form (sixth form is the same thing as college, but sixth forms are taught in secondary school buildings), and that is usually ages 16 - 18, but older people may show up there, also, and then we have university; which is ages 18+.
But for us we have no idea what middle school and high school and junior high or what age groups go to them and all of that is and so these questions are very annoying because I can't translate it from an English perspective because I have no concept of these differences.
When talking TO your own older brother, お兄さん (おにいさん) or 兄さん (にいさん) can be used.
When talking ABOUT your own older brother, 兄 (あに) generally should be used, but 兄さん (にいさん) is also often used by children or when talking to people you are very close to.
When talking ABOUT other people's older brothers, お兄さん (おにいさん) is the only one you should use (of these three).
When talking TO other people's older brothers, just use their name. They are their own person, before being someone else's relative.
Also, あにさん doesn't exist; if you add さん, the reading of the kanji changes. And be careful with romaji; おにいさん should be oniisan, with two "i"s, to denote the long "i" sound.
Yes, you could use either「兄ちゃん」or「お兄さん」even if the person you are talking TO and talking ABOUT are both much younger than you. But you wouldn't use 「兄」because that's reserved for talking ABOUT your own older brother.
Japanese "language politics" (for lack of a better term) is pretty complicated and it's fairly easy to get lost in the weeds when discussing it. Personally, I think it's more useful to just learn the generally polite version, not worry about it too much, get a feel for what native speakers do and use that as a guide.
@laszlopanaflex You're welcome, and good luck! In my experience, most native Japanese speakers are very forgiving of foreigners' incorrect/incomplete grasp of "language politics", especially if you're talking with a language exchange buddy, so just go for it!
Actually, I hope they avoid the topic altogether, in such a way that doesn't leave beginners wondering about it. Getting into Japanese is difficult enough, and "language politics" is a rather advanced area which touches on a lot of cultural aspects as well. I think the best approach is to learn the basics and let exposure teach the rest. (After you get to a certain point of fluency, it might be worth going back to study it more rigorously but you probably won't get as much out of it as a beginner.)
thanks! that's great advice. i've actually been a bit shy to practice conversing in japanese with others because i'm afraid that i'll either use a too-casual version of some word or phrase and end up insulting them, or speak way too formally and seem awkward.
i hope the forthcoming japanese tree update helps us to understand these "language politics" so that we can use the right verbiage in the right situations!
The people of Duolingo have said that there is the limit of this system. I have read about this several times. They have to prepare many patterns of correct answer. Instead of it, they hope to use the same word if possible.
Though 'にいさん' is correct Japanese word. But I don't know they are able to add the answer.
HI! Are you a native Japanese speaker? I am native English, would LOVE to help you help me and vice versa via some messaging app? Please do let me know! Anyone may respond to this, by the way or if you have tips to learn the language better. Thanks guys! Very few native speakers in my area, its hard