"田中さんは日本人です。"

Translation:Ms. Tanaka is Japanese.

June 6, 2017

152 Comments


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

It's not so difficult, as long as you try to break down the sentence.

たなか さん は 日本人 です。

Tanaka san ha nihonjin desu.

Just remember to take your time and break apart the sentence so you can understand how its formed.

Remember that:

さん is a honorific, similar to how we would say Mr or Miss.

は is pronounced Wa when used like that, it's a topic particle and you can use it like 'is'

です is usually at the end, iirc it's used in sentences like 'Who's that' with the reply being 'John desu'' or in english, "It's John."

I'm more afraid of what comes later lol

June 6, 2017

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

Just to be clearer, は is topic particle similar to "as for/speaking off" in English. It is NOT the is/am/are (copula) in Japanese.

です is the so-called copula. It is the "connecting" verb similar in essence to the English word "to be".

です is the polite form of だ*

Verb MUST end every sentence in Japanese.* That's why it is suggested to translate any sentences from the end to the beginning of the sentence. :)

*Read the comments below! This is a very rough simplification.

June 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nathh318

Minor correction, not every sentence. You can have a sentence consisting of just an adjective, for example おそい。

June 23, 2017

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

True, that'd be considered informal though.

June 24, 2017

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

What is the purpose of 。after い。? Please, explain, Thank you.

October 15, 2018

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

A full stop,

October 23, 2018

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

It's like a period.

January 20, 2019

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

です is not really the polite form of だ

They are similar, but there are some differences between these words.

One exemple : そうだ is a declarative form, you cannot ask そうだか

そうです is the polite form of そう。 So you can ask そうですか。 です is more a polite form when you cannot use the termination ます, than a polite form of だ

I don't know if you understand what I try to explain.

June 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chris60570

When i first started learning Japanese from the Memrise app, i always thought that 'desu' and 'masu' (です/ます) were just polite ways to end a sentence. So this makes more sense to me. I dont underatand how it can be translated as the verb? Am i wrong?

October 31, 2018

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

It's translated as the verb because it is the verb. Word order in Japanese is generally SOV (Subject-object-verb).
田中さんは is the subject (and topic は).
日本人 is the object.
です is the verb, think of it as "to be".

January 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nicola526448

Verbs in Japanese always come at the end of the sentence. 'Desu' is the present tense of the verb 'to be' so it means 'is'.

I'm just learning about verbs now in Human Japanese and they seem ridiculously simple - no conjugation between I/he/she/it/you/they. Everything uses the same verb. It's crazy!

January 18, 2019

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

desu isn't really a verb, though. It's a copula. It's similar to "to be", but not the same. I would try to learn it as something completely different.

Learning Japanese is much easier if you don't try to map english concepts to Japanese.

April 6, 2019

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

Merci Jason pour ces précisions!

November 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pokerguy365

I'm severely confused, are particles in a further lesson?

June 20, 2017

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

Particles are -unlike English- the building blocks of Japanese. Understanding them is very crucial in creating or properly understanding Japanese language.

June 20, 2017

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

Actually as far as I understand particles they are just a grammatical construct that can be seen like punctuation in e.g. English. And thus they don't really have any translations. (That would be like asking for a translation of a comma)

January 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WinterRaine15

Whenever i see any of your comments i like to write what you said. You are very helpful.

August 15, 2017

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

My recommendation will always be learning basic grammar before using this app. Specifically, particles and demonstratives. This app is mainly geared towards spoken vocabulary at this level.

July 20, 2017

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

There's a mysterious 'n' sound coming from between "wa" and "hi"?

According to my breakdown, it comes out to: Tanaka san wa hihonjin desu.

June 23, 2017

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

You didn't really deserve to be down voted for that. The lettering vs. pronunciation of some of the Japanese words are... Weird.

For instance, the second symbol in "Tanaka" (田中) , well, is pronounced "naka" (中). Looking at the hiragana to "naka", you'd expect なか to be its hiragana constituents, but Duolingo teaches us instead that it is:ちゅう (from those "tap the hiragana and Kanji that belong together"). And I thought to myself (having memorized pronunciations of some symbols): "But that's saying 'chuu'; not 'naka'!", for I remembered that "China" (中国) had the hiragana ちゅうごく.

(But hey, there's the 中-symbol again!)

This was especially frustrating to me, because I initially thought that Japanese was a very strict language, almost mathematical and algebraic; I thought Kanji was a way to put long meanings into shorter written sentences, or rather lesser amounts of symbols.

We all simplify what we learn in our own ways, so that we may understand particular things better, at least in our own heads. My background "tricked" me into thinking that there was pure algebraic nature here. I know now that I was wrong in considering this, at least in the raw form of that idea.

The unpedagogical nature of duolingo, however, is that I have very little knowledge of why I was wrong in thinking that, or how I should think about the language; Rather, duolingo uses the same brute force for teaching you languages, that you would get by growing up somewhere with that language - at least on this level.

That's why this comment section exists! And while negativity is frowned upon (I saw a debacle further up in the comments): everyone deserves to be given a chance, I think; to get feedback on what one would think of as frustrating, and learn something new, something that would help one understand the frustrating things.

I hope you're still a learner; and myself I'm hoping I'll understand more further up the levels.

September 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jenni516179

It should be: Tanakasan wa NIHONjin desu, meaning [Mr.] Tanaka is Japanese (Nihon = Japan, Nihonjin = Japanese) [Mr. is not necessarily needed, and can be omitted without changing the meaning of the sentence]

July 2, 2017

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

Although mr/mrs CAN be left out without changing the meaning it would be considered very disrespectful to do so.

January 7, 2019

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

The kanji have different readings (pronunciations) depending upon which compounds they are used in. So 'Hi' is a reading of the sun symbol日(ひ) but in the context of the name of the country 日本 (japan) it becomes nihon (にほん).

September 23, 2018

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

You say this now. Then they throw ga in there and it messes up your whole flow

June 7, 2017

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

TL;DR fromDrKriegerPhD answer below:

Who is Mr. Tanaka?

田中さんは日本人です。

Who is Japanese?

田中さんが日本人です。


Long original answer:

Well, since the note is not yet available I guess I'll just try to explain the subject particle が here as well.

は and が are a bit tricky to differentiate because one can replace the other under some circumstances with DIFFERENT meaning.

は is a topic particle. It introduces a new topic that will be discussed and similar in essence as "as for/speaking of". Example: 「マリアさんは学生です。」 which very literally means: As for/speaking of Maria, she is a student.

が is a subject particle. The subject is NOT necessarily the topic of the sentence. It is a bit trickier to explain so I will just give another very similar example. 「マリアさんが学生です。」 which means: Maria IS the student.

Did you see the difference? It's very subtle but the most noticeable difference is that は puts emphasis on what COMES AFTER the particle while が puts emphasis on what COMES BEFORE the particle.

Using は from the example above would roughly mean that they know Maria but didn't know that she is a student.

Using が from the example above would mean that they know that someone is a student but didn't know that Maria is the student.

Another example: このペンは私のです。 This pen is mine. (They know that this is a pen but didn't know that this is my pen. They may continue the conversation discussing about this pen as it is the topic.)

このペンが私のです。 This pen IS [the one that is] mine. (They may have been talking about pen, but didn't know that this is the pen that is mine/I am pointing out that this pen is the one that is mine.)

I hope that this is helpful as I'm still learning myself. :)

June 15, 2017

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

To frame this discussion of は vs. が in relation to the sentence, let's look at the following two conversations:

"What nationality is Mr. Tanaka?" "Mr. Tanaka is Japanese." "Who is Japanese?" "Mr. Tanaka is Japanese."

Note that the response to the question in English is the same. However, in the first answer, Mr. Tanaka is the TOPIC of the conversation - this would be は. In the second answer, Mr. Tanaka is the SUBJECT of the response - this would be が. So if we translate response to Japanese, it would be as follows:

"What nationality is Mr. Tanaka?" "田中さんは日本人です。" "Who is Japanese?" "田中さんが日本人です。"

And there is a hack that works a decent amount of times: if you can drop the word before the particle and the sentence retains its meaning, you probably can use は. Example:

"What nationality is Mr. Tanaka?" "Japanese." (makes sense; we know the topic) "Who is Japanese?" "Japanese." (Huh?????)

I'm no expert, and I'm sure there's some edge cases, but hopefully this makes the differences between は and が "朝飯前" for some ;)

June 22, 2017

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

Extremely helpful and consice explanation of は and が. Thank you!

August 11, 2017

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

For me this doesn't make sense. If you invert the examples like: "Who is japanese?" "Mr. Tanaka" (makes sense too; we know the topic). "What nationality is Mr. Tanaka?" "Mr. Takana" See I don' get it maybe I'm sleepy can I have another example?

August 16, 2018

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

So が is contextual to which is refering to the topic stated on the previous conversation?

June 22, 2017

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

Exactly! は is carried through the conversation until a new topic is introduced while が is used to highlight a certain information (new information that is being presented) in a single sentence.

June 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bernice800850

Is は pronounced "ha" or "wa" cos what about わ?

February 9, 2019

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

When は is being used as a topic particle (being used to indicate the topic) it sounds like わ. They are not interchangeable.

April 11, 2019

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

Thanks for that advice!

March 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fqh857176

Notice that you must pronouce ha as wa

August 14, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carolann275173

My answer was "Tanaka San is Japanese" and it was marked wrong...because I didn't say "Mr." and I said "san" lol

June 8, 2017

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

Because there's no "-san" suffix in English :)

June 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tachy90

It is traditional and polite, if rather formal English, to leave honorifics untranslated. In the same way formal English will usually refer to a French person as M or Mme, rather than Mr or Mrs.

IMO it should be acceptable to write -san. It doesn't have a direct English equivalent anyway, being gender-neutral.

November 12, 2018

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

It is my opinion that if we translate べんとう as "bento", we should translate さん as "-san".

June 18, 2017

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

Bento is a known food item, it's called bento in English. We don't say "-san" in English.

June 19, 2017

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

In many translations that I've seen of Japanese works where a basic understanding of Japanese culture is assumed, "-san," "-chan," and so on are often retained, even in the English. I think it's reasonable then to accept "Tanaka-san is Japanese," as an answer, and I personally have reported it (as we should all do, rather than flood the comments unnecessarily). Just my two cents! Or yen, as the case may be...

June 23, 2017

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

I have not seen this retained. Especially in captioned media, I always hear/read the Japanese but the English drops honorifics.

July 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jop-V

Yeah, I'm not even entirely sure if "Mister/Miss" is a good translation. "Mister/Miss" is incredibly formal and distancing, wheareas "-san" simply denotes respect. Translations quite often simply leave the "-san" in for this reason.

February 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

@RuvikIllusions

Both san and chan called "honorifics", but they're probably better termed as "name suffixes". This is because the difference between them comes down to familiarity, formality, and respect.

Chan is generally described as a "diminuitive" suffix, since using it instead of san can denote either greater familiarity between the speaker and the named person, a lack of conversation formality, and/or a lack of respect (condescension) if between social equals.

Because of this, chan is commonly used for babies and children. It is also considered somewhat feminine, though I sincerely hope this is because of the associated familiarity, and not the associated lack of respect.

March 6, 2018

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

Just voicing my preference as well: I really appreciate the gender neutrality of -さん, so especially in contextless environments like example language learning sentences I find it super frustrating to arbitrarily assign a gender to an unknown person by picking "Mr." or "Mrs." (or "Ms."). This is one area where I really admire the ambiguity in Japanese as opposed to finding it frustrating. While I can agree that there are some contexts for translation where you would need to assume 0% familiarity with Japanese (to the extent of translating -san as Mr./Ms.) I do think that in this context the -san honorific should be accepted as a possibility for the English translation.

July 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kai19154

can't reply to violet, but I haven't heard of Mx. ANYWHERE. I remember a news article saying something about it but it ended up being never used. As someone who has travelled across the US many times and visited the UK twice, I've never heard of it

July 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tachy90

Mx is certainly used, and I have encountered it, but it's rare enough that it's liable to cause confusion and a lot of forms asking for personal details do not accept it. My dad had a co-worker who went by Mx and most people didn't know how to pronounce it.

I'm not saying I'm against it (it fills a gap in the language, so I'm all for it), but if Duo offered it as the English translation for -san i think that would be extremely unhelpful.

November 12, 2018

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

I appreciate your opinion very much. You may wish to look into the English gender-neutral honorific, Mx. (pronounced like the word "mix," though it has nothing to do with mixing or being mixed), which has already taken hold in Britain and indeed has begun to gain traction in America as well. Mx. is to men and women as Ms. was (and is) to married and unmarried women. Consequently it is probably a better translation in this context for "-さん" than Mr. or Ms. could be, and perhaps should be suggested as a possible answer here (i.e., "Mx. Tanaka is Japanese").

July 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Emery790256

I similarly can't reply to Violet, but Mx. is common enough that some banks and government offices have it on forms and such. You can Google it if you find it that hard to belive.

December 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tachy90

You're right, but it's still a neologism at present, such that you can't be certain a given English speaker will recognize the word (Violet is overstating it to say it has "taken hold" in Britain, you may encounter it here but it's far from common). It's not equivalent to -san which sees widespread, standard use (in Japanese).

I think it's close enough that Duo ought to accept it as an answer, but i think suggesting it unprompted would just confuse learners.

November 12, 2018

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

Japanese typically use the surname when addressing each other. San (さん) is not gender specific though, so it doesn't matter if 田中さん is male or female. So "Mr. Tanaka is Japanese" works just as well as "Tanaka is Japanese".

June 8, 2017

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

I wrote miss Tanaka and it was marked incorrect

December 2, 2017

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

"さん" is not only used with female, it is also used with male. The meaning of "さん" is a kind of polite expression in Japanese. For example if you use Mr. or Miss or Ms. in English, most of Japanese will translate to "さん". And if you want to a Japanese female or male in Japanese with respect or polite expression, you must use "さん" in Japanese. If you call her/him only "Tanaka", it is not polite expression and could be some Japanese will be felt "You do not have good manners". And some Japanese has been calling together with only last name. Because one reason behind. If they have been known since young times, definitely they have familiar relations.

December 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tachy90

Given that -san can, under some circumstances, be translated as miss, then i think Duo ought to accept it.

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sarefo
  • 1061

so ha can be pronounced wa? :P is it also possible to use the "proper" wa?

June 6, 2017

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

It is always pronounced "wa" when being used as a subject marker. There is an origin story of why it isn't pronounced "ha", but I only read that story one and took away to always pronounce it "wa". Only other time that is the case, iirc, is when you run into the present negative of "to be" which is dewa arimasen. Dewa there is では.

June 6, 2017

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

For the super learners out there, here is a link detailing why the particle words は, へ, and を came to be pronounced "wa", "e", and "wo/o", respectively: https://japanese.stackexchange.com/a/449

June 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shadd518

So when is わ used?

June 9, 2017

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

It's used in every word with the sound of わ. は is a grammatical device, and is not used (in modern Japanese) as a way to spell わ inside a word.

June 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

When you're pleasantly surprised. わ~~~~♪

July 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hunter752811

Is Tanaka a first name or a last name? I was under the impression it was a woman's first name but now I'm not sure...

June 6, 2017

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

Last name.

June 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShawnGates6

To be clear, its a Family name nit a Given name. In Japan, the order of names is Family name first then given name. And mostly you will here people refer to each other by Family bame unless they are very close.

June 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlisaSteph4

Japanese generally use surnames. It can be diffucult to know if theyre talking about a male or female.

June 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Light887048

Why is the kanji for naka in tanka pronounced differently than chu sound in chugoku?

June 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

As others have commented elsewhere, kanji often have multiple readings (pronunciations) which come from the preexisting Japanese phonetic language kun'yomi or from the Chinese pronunciation when they adopted Chinese ideographs on'yomi.

I believe the general rule is on'yomi is used when kanji are used when combining two (or more) kanji into one word, e.g. 中国, but obviously there are exceptions. And come on, they're not about to use a Chinese pronunciation in a Japanese name :P

July 13, 2017

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

I am having trouble understanding what 人 is used for and what does it mean?

July 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

人 is the kanji for "person" or "people", and it has a few different uses (and a few different pronunciations to match).

In this context, it is used as a suffix to indicate nationality, or ethnicity (I'm not 100% sure which). Literally, it translates to "[country] person" but we know it means "person of [country]". A few examples:

・日本人 = person of Japan (=日本), Japanese person

・アメリカ人 = person of America (=アメリカ), American person

・フランス人 = person of France (=フランス), French person

・アジア人 = person of Asia (=アジア), Asian person

・宇宙人 = person of space (=宇宙, the cosmos), alien

July 28, 2017

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

Thanks for the explanation! Is it used only with geographical terms or could be also attached to other words?

August 16, 2017

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

No. For example 人口 and 人工 (both are read as「じんこう」). The first kanji means population and the second kanji means artificial.

August 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Good examples, Jason! But as a suffix too, 人 doesn't have to be attached to geographical terms:

新人 (しんじん) = "new person" = newcomer, greenhorn

白人 (はくじん) = "white person" = Caucasian person

社会人 (しゃかいじん) = "society person" = productive member of society

Another key usage of the character is as a counter for people, though it's pronounced nin in that case (except for one and two people). For example, 五人 (ごにん) = 5 people

August 16, 2017

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

Cool, thanks!

August 17, 2017

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

Does this mean "Tanaka is a Japanese person?"

June 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlisaSteph4

Literally, yes. But the answer doesnt need the word "person"

June 15, 2017

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

I think to add "person" is not necessary.

June 17, 2017

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

I don't get why they say Ms. and Mr. Tanaka/Maria/etc. why not leave it out? With -san it could just as easily be a Ms. Tanaka. -san doesn't directly translate to Mr or Ms, and I feel that it's unnecessary to change it to that.

August 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nazish647727

Not sure why it's so fundamental that we learn the kanji for the name Tanaka... what does "tanaka" actually mean??

June 23, 2017

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

It's a Japanese family name. That's why it is written in kanji.

June 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FAlter5

Naka (=chuu=中) means middle, as in middle school 中学校 or china 中国 (land of the middle or something), ta/da=田 is a rice field. So this persons ancestors lived in the middle of rice fields. Both are very common kanji which are used in a lot of names and other words.

December 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/9intend0

So two main questions: Is there a reason why は is pronounced わ when it is a particle? Also, how do you get the kanji for a name like Tanaka? Does it mean something else?

June 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

For your first question, yes there's a reason (courtesy of Ian in another comment: https://japanese.stackexchange.com/a/449), but it essentially boils down to "that's just how we do it now".

For your second (well, technically third) question, you can break down the kanji 田中 and find meaning in it, but now it just means "a common Japanese surname". 田(デン or た)means "(rice) field", and 中(チュウ or なか or うち)means middle/center or inside.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "how do you get the kanji" though... I think you mean how do you know "Tanaka" refers to 田中 and not some other set of kanji? I think the only real way to do that is to learn loads of kanji and common kanji combinations f(^_^; because that way, you'll be able to figure out based on context what kanji they are possibly referring to.

July 13, 2017

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

How can you tell if it's "Mr" or "Miss" in this sentence? Irl I'd assume from context, but what if it's taken out of context like this?

June 29, 2017

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

You don't have to know. It is an honorific and not meant to be read literally as Mr/Ms.

July 26, 2017

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

So if I just wanted to say, "Tanaka is from Japan" I can drop the honorific and use shushin? "田中は日本のしゅしんです"?

September 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

You're half right. But dropping the honorific actually doesn't do anything to the meaning of the sentence. So 田中は日本出身です and 田中さんは日本出身です mean exactly the same thing, but they imply different things about your relationship with or status relative to Tanaka or your knowledge about Japanese cultural norms.

Also, 出身 is pronounced しゅっしん which is typically romanized to shusshin. しゅしん can mean "chief umpire" or "chief god" depending on the kanji.

September 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Suman244345

Everybody's name has kanji or Tanaka san is somebody special?

September 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

All Japanese surnames (family names), as far as I know, are made of kanji (usually two, but surnames with just one or even three kanji do exist). 田中 simply happens to be a very common surname that doesn't have scary looking kanji, like the most common Japanese surname 佐藤 (satou).

October 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeff121271

Sorry if this is already addressed in the thread, but is there supposed to be a pause after "ha" (or "wa")? Or is that just how the duolingo engine reads it?

January 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

I honestly don't hear the pause myself, but having it there is not wrong either. In Japanese speech, putting pauses after a particle, rather than between a word and its particle, tends to be the more natual place to put them. Obviously, this is not true 100% of the time, and as you get used to Japanese speech patterns (generally if you're exposed to native speakers), you'll get to know how changing where pauses go can lead to different emphasis or subtle indicators of context.

は is a particle that very commonly has a pause after it. Because it establishes the topic of the conversation, a short pause generally gives listeners time to mentally get their bearings for the new direction of the conversation.

January 24, 2019

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

さん is gender neutral right? so it can mean miss or mr?

March 13, 2019

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

Yes. Your understanding is correct. You can use "さん" to male and female.

March 14, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

Tanaka sounds like a girlish name... Is there a way in Japanese to know the gender implicitly (like in French?)

August 3, 2017

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

Tanaka is actually a surname. So that's the equivalent of saying "Williams" sounds masculine, even though your name might be "Jane Williams." As for Japanese given names, certain kanji and/or last syllables do imply a gender.

For example, names ending with -shi or -ta are typically male, and -ko and -mi are typically female, just to name a few. To draw inspiration from your screen name, the Japanese names for two characters from Pokemon are Kasumi and Satoshi. Now you can guess which is Ash and which is Misty :P

August 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

Wauw! Thanks a lot for that wonderful explanation m8! Pikapi! :D

August 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tachy90

It's not anything close to a fixed rule, though . . . off the top of my head it's not difficult to think of popular anime characters whose names defy that rule, for example Hinata from Naruto who is female, or Illumi from Hunter x Hunter who is male.

Edit: though thinking about it Illumi is probably supposed to be a western name, oops.

November 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FAlter5

Why does it not accept it without Mr or Ms? How should I know which from the Japanese? Yes, I know it wants to have the politeness of -san in the translation, but this is not translatable unless you know more about this Tanaka person unless you skip the Mr/Ms part.

December 7, 2017

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

When I want to call other Japanese last name in Japanese, usually I use the "Mr. or Ms." in Japanese. As You know, to use "Mr. or Ms." is not required, but the "Mr. or Ms." have been used in almost Japanese sentences. So when you need to use her/his/their last name, to use "Mr. or Ms." is obligation. I am sure that to use only last name is not good manners in Japan. We definitely do not use only last name. After the "Mr. or Ms." be translated, it's just translated to "さん".

December 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FAlter5

I had this again two times today and I noticed that "Tanaka is Japanese" is accepted but "Tanaka is a Japanese" is incorrect, then it says I should say Mr or Ms... As I said I understand the politeness issue, but I dislike inventing things, and it's not provided if it is a Mr or Ms.

December 8, 2017

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

Actually "Mr. Tanaka" counts as a wrong answer for some reason and accepts only "Ms. Tanaka". Somebody knows why?

July 23, 2019

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

Okay I think omitting the "Mr" should be a mark off versus an entire "Your sentence is wrong!". That's very particular and to be wrong based on literally two letters is silly.

January 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Well, to be fair, Duo's system doesn't do part marks; you either get it right or you get it wrong. (Or you get told you made a typo.)

And removing two letters can make a huge difference; it makes the "impossible" "possible" ;)

January 22, 2018

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

i... i dont really understand big scentences yet and i havent been studying for that long, so... if you could break down sentences in questions like these, that would be great! Sayonara! (DID I USE THE RIGHT WORD OMG I THINK I USED THE RIGHT WORD)

February 9, 2018

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

Japanese has no spaces, therefore words are split between kanji and hiragana/katakana to be read more easily. Ta-naka sa-n wa ni-hon-jin
de-su, Mr. Tanaka is a Japanese Person/Mr. Tanaka is Japanese. Assuming you know which characters are kanji, "TA" and "NAKA" are the readings of the first kanji. It's a name. NI-HON-JIN, is "Japanese(Nihon)Person/Human(Jin)". I don't have any Japanese input on this keyboard here, sorry! I recommend using more than simply Duolingo to learn Japanese. A set of books, "Genki", are very good for learning, as well as a book called "Remembering the Kanji", by Heisig. Every kanji has a meaning to it that can be used to help remember it and help to understand a word. Heisig will simplify the task of learning to read Japanese kanji by making it much easier to work with and remember anywhere between 2000-3000 kanji, depending on how serious you are.

February 10, 2018

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

lol beat me by seconds :D

February 10, 2018

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

You deffo added some good details I missed!

February 10, 2018

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

田中 -- さん -- は -- 日本 -- 人 -- です

田中 (Tanaka) = name

さん (San) = Mr. (Ms. , Mrs.)

は (Ha sounds like Wa) = the topic marker

日本 (Nihon) = Japan + 人 = Person = 日本人 = Japanese

です (Desu) = is/it is/I am

All together:

田中 さん は 日本 人 です

Tanaka Mr. -- Japan person is

(Mr.) Tanaka is Japanese

Translating backwards can help

By the way

は is the topic marker

が is the subject marker (が is not in this sentence)

What does that even mean?

Topic: a non-grammatical context for the whole sentence.

Subject: a grammatical relationship only to the verb. found on this site:

http://nihonshock.com/2010/02/particles-the-difference-between-wa-and-ga/

Not sure if that's what you wanted or if you want Duo to break the sentences in the program down in some way.

February 10, 2018

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

So are 日本人です and 日本しゅっしんです interchangeable? Duolingo uses the first as "I am Japanese" and the second as "I am from Japan", but if you have to translate you can use them interchangeably. Is this just Duolingo being itself, or are they actually interchangeable in Japanese? (Or does the difference in meaning matter at all?)

July 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Well, yes, it's the same difference as it is in English, and you can sometimes use them interchangeably, but not always.

The first, 日本人 and "I am Japanese", refer to either a person's race/ethnicity or their nationality (bluntly, what they look like or what passport they have). On the other hand, the second, 日本しゅっしん and "I am from Japan", is referring to the person's cultural identity; that is, the place they "come from" and identify with.

You can be Japanese (ethnically), but be born and raised in America, so you consider yourself to be "from America", amd vice versa.

October 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juseh.Soares

ジョセさんはbラジィアン です。 is it right?

July 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Do you mean "Jose is Brazilian"? You're pretty close, except that names and nationalities work differently in Japanese compared to English.

Firstly, when foreign names (of people, things, or countries) are brought into Japanese, typically Japanese people will try to match the pronunciation in the original languange as closely as they can, not the spelling. So "Jose", with the Spanish j, would be ホゼ, and "Brazil" is ブラジル.

Secondly, nationalities in Japanese are always in the form of {country name}人 (じん), so as we established before, for "Brazilian (person)", it should be ブラジル人.

So you sentence should look like: ホゼさんはブラジル人です。

December 10, 2018

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

If I'm introducing a friend of mine, should I add "san" or not?

March 9, 2019

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

If you are introducing your friend to a person, and if the person whom is introduced your friend is not related with you or your friend or if you do not have deep relation with the person, it is a better way to introduce your friend with to add "san", I would say it is a polite way to introduce someone to somebody. However if you introduce you the friend to another your friend, it is also a better way to add "san" BUT it is not friendly. If I were you in the situation, I could not use "san". However if you need to introduce the friend in a polite situation(i.g Japanese lesson in your school, A traditional party and so forth), you should use to add san otherwise other people will feel or assume you that you do not have good manner for introducing somebody.

March 9, 2019

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

I am slowly understanding this now... hopefully someone can help me out, truly the only way I learn is by breaking down the sentence.

So if 田中さん means Tanaka-san (Mr.Tanaka) Tanaka can be replaced by a last name in which will be (Mr/Ms.Last name)?? is -san general for Mr./Ms. ? is there anything other than -san not including -senpai (elder/master) -chan(young person)??

April 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

So, in Japanese, these name honorifics, like -san, can be added to the end of any name, first or last. Generally speaking, Japanese people are more likely to address each other by their last names in most everyday situations (e.g. at work) and typically use first names when addressing family (because they all have the same last name) and friends.

I would hesitate to describe -san as "general for Mr./Ms." because they don't necessarily map onto each other very well. Here's a brief description of a few other common honorifics (note that I'm not a native Japanese speaker, and my interpretation comes purely from my own experience with Japanese):

  • -san (さん) is your average-level politeness honorific; typically used by co-workers, strangers and acquaintances. Side note: in schools (generally above around 3rd grade), -san becomes exclusively used for female students while boys get:
  • -kun (くん / 君) is an honorific typically used for young boys, but it's also commonly used by older people (e.g. managers, professors) for young people (e.g. new hires, university students) regardless of gender. It can be slightly condescending, in that it puts the subject below the speaker in social standing.
  • -sama (さま / 様) is a respectful honorific typically used by people in customer service roles or for anyone with a high social standing.
  • -sensei (先生) is a word meaning "teacher", but it is commonly used as an honorific for teachers, doctors, lawyers, and other experts.

Which honorific to use (or not use) depends on your specific relationship with that person, who you're talking to, and their relationship to you, so these are all general descriptions. Unfortunately, I think the only way to really get a grasp of these (and other less common honorifics) is lots of exposure; honestly, anime and J-drama are a pretty good way to do that if you can't find yourself a native speaker or a job in Japan.

April 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Johnny63140

I only have ho, ba and pa to make a sentence. No ha is proposed. Probably confusion between ha and ho.

April 10, 2019

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

Sometimes the は is mixed together with other parts of the sentence. Do you have a segment that contains it along with other letters?

April 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SeanFogart4

Seriously?! I was given "Select the missing word ~さんは日本人です。" The options were 日本、中国、田中。 All are possible surnames! (Nippon/Nitsupon/Nihon/Hinomoto/Yamato/Yamatono, Nakakuni, Tanako/Denchuu/Tanata/Tanka/Danaka/Nataka/Nunaka/Nonaka/Hiroka/Yanaka) Alright, mostly all beside Tanaka are uncommon, but I do believe I have met a Nakakuni and maybe even a Yamato, though that's usually written with other characters. Yeah the desired answer was obvious, but still . . .

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CheChei1

Where's Yamada-kun?

June 9, 2019

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

I dont gwt these ones...

June 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SaifAslam4

I keep on seeing discrepancies between the "Is japanese" and "Is from Japan" although both are counted as correct. What causes this discrepancy?

July 18, 2019

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

Why is "Mr. Tanaka is Japanese" a wrong answer?

July 23, 2019

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

If Tanaka is female, how do you answer? So I think your answer is not enough a bit.

July 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NotNoah3

私は ドイツ 人 です。 I am German. I just felt like writing this.

July 27, 2019

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

I just realised what 日 is! Its the topic particle wa, anything before it in a sentence is the topic! So this sentence is clearly about Ms./Mr. Tanaka!

July 27, 2019

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

How should I know if the correct missing word is TANAKA istead of HONDA? They're just names, wtf?

August 29, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkB90002585

Ok many times here in the USA in places where there are many Japanese people -san is used rather than Mr. , Ms etc. If I were speaking in English to Tanaka my superior or non familiar I often use Tanakasan so, I think that should be accepted here.

September 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladislavK503377

Ms. Or Mr. Is not clear in Japanese until you dont know exactly who you speaking of

September 10, 2019

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

Sorry... I forgot to ask this earlier, but one of the questions was: ' マリア さんは 中国 しゆつしん です。'

Why is there a desu (です)?

The sentence translates to: "Miss Maria is from China".

And as far as I'm sure, "desu" is "I am". Nowhere in that sentence is "I am".

September 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Actually, です doesn't mean "I am", it simply means "is/am/are".

What it does here, and in your example, is equate the subject (indicated by は) with the object. So, in your example "Maria(-san)" = "originate from China" so it becomes "(Miss) Maria is from China".

Where you might have misunderstood is in earlier exercises such as アメリカ人です being translated "I am an American." As you may or may not have seen in comments on those exercises, the subject is actually omitted (something Japanese people do very regularly) and アメリカ人 is the object. So the equation for this sentence looks like (implied subject) = "American person". Without any other context clues, we assume that the subject is the speaker, because he/she sounds like they're introducing themselves.

However, if the conversation goes more like this:

A: ジョンさんはイギリス人ですか? "Is John British?"

B: いいえ、アメリカ人です。 "No, he's American."

The implied subject is now "John", carried down from A's question.

September 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chris860264

would 人 be pronounced ひと in this context?

November 8, 2017

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

In Japanese, it is especially Kanji has two pronunciations. To be honest, one Hiragana, "は" has two pronunciation, "は" is read as "wa" or "ha", but it is just one, it does not matter, I think. So in the the Kanji pronunciations, One is "Kun-yomi" and other one is "On-yomi". Japanese is established with Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji(Kun-yomi, this pronunciation is from China.) and Kanji(On-yomi, this pronunciation is Japan original.). In this case, you must not read "人" as "ひと". It is definitely required read as "じん"。

November 16, 2017

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

On is Chinese, Kun is native Japanese words and sounds later associated with Chinese characters (kanji).

August 11, 2018

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

why does 中 sound "naka" while in the character "China" it "chuu" please reply immediately.

April 14, 2018

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

About the way to read "Kanji" in Japanese, we have two way for reading. There is a histrical reason. Example to read the "中", as you asked we have to read it as "なか" and "ちゅう". If we read the "中" as "なか", the way to read kanji, we have called the way, "音読み(おんよみ)", and if we read the "中" as "ちゅう", we have called the way "訓読み(くんよみ)".

Originally, we had not used kanji to Japanese. So when we read "中", we had read it "なか", there were not the way to read "中" as "ちゅう", but when kanji had come from China, we had not known how to read kanji, so we had heard the original sound for each kanji reading then we checked the meaning of the kanji then we had set each kanji to Japanese.

So in the "中" case, Chinese had read it as "ちゅう" and Japanese had read it as "なか".

The meaning of "中" in Japanese is something is put/placed to something inside, or something is through middle of something, if we had had like this situation, we have used "なか", and if Chinese had in the same or similar situation, they have used "ちゅう", but I have not known why Chinese have read the "中" as "ちゅう".

April 14, 2018
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