Translation:What grade are you in?
In East Asia, there are no grades sitting together in universities, but there are grades as implicit identities.
Perhaps astonishing to you, in universities in East Asia, a lower-grade student is expected to obey their higher-grade fellows, and the higher-grade is somehow in charge of 'educating' and taking care of lower graders.
For example, I have a T-shirt as a souvenir of entering the university in 2006. Before 2009, unless required (as in some activities), I kept it in my wardrobe; but after 2010, I wore it almost every day in summer. When I was a lower-grade graduate student, I listened to and used honorific addressing to higher graders, but I did not need to pay when all the students in the lab dined out; when I was in my final year, I paid (the payroll evenly divided among the final-year students) the dinners. Though I am not Japanese, in Japan this is more intensive.
In Africa it Applies but in Elementary, Middle and High school, so when I came to the US and I meet a senior student I mistakenly say e.g. "Senior John" or Senior for short but then I learnt it does not apply in the US so yeah pretty similar except in some Universities in Africa, it is best to stay on your on or with people you knew before you entered university, if you do not want to bring trouble upon yourself.
It is possible that we can be referring to the level of the material we are looking at.
"this math test is hard." "what grade level is it?" Although it is not the most effective it is still possible.
Also, although my Japanese sucks. I'm sure there is a way to add these pronouns rather than making it this vague.
Actually, 年生 doesn't quite work like that.
As some other comments have pointed out, while in English, we can use "grade" in a few different ways even in a school setting, the Japanese word 年生 refers strictly to "students" because it has 生 in it. You could even think of it as a kind of suffix which means "student", e.g 中学生 = "middle school student", 留学生 (りゅうがくせい) = "study abroad student", 一年生 = "one/first year student", 先生 = "(studied) ahead of you student", etc
"Grade" in the way you've used it in your example would be 学年 in Japanese, and "grade" to describe your results for that test would be 成績 (せいせき).
There are definitely ways to make this sentence less vague by adding pronouns, but just like picking which translation of "grade" is most accurate, you have to consider how Japanese people would say what you want to say in the same situation. Grammar problems aside, you can't simply switch out each English word for the Japanese equivalent and expect the result to sound correct or natural. When it comes down to it, you just have to get used to the idea that pronouns are omitted very often in Japanese.
In British English we say year not grade. I translated this as "what year are you in? " and it was correct . You can see that the meaning of nensei is yeargroup for students, therefore it can only apply to students not study materials or anything else. Just as you don't say in English "what year group is this test?" you don't say nensei either .
But just to confuse matters, a child in the fourth year of a Japanese primary school would be the same age as a child in Year 5 of a British primary school. So to translate it as "Year 4" doesn't seem right.
"I'm in the fourth year of primary school," would seem the clearest translation, to me.
This needs some explaining better. I'm a third-year student and I have not heard that I'm not that is something bad to say in certain situations. I'm aware of that most Japanese don't use it, as we foreigners learn at a point that many words start disappearing in Japanese conversation. However is it really bad to say anata ha? Needs clarity.
saying ''anata'' is better to be omitted as it can come off as rude. Obviously, since you are a foreigner they won't be insulted but better leave it out all together. (it litterally means ''over there'' and when Japanese use it it's most of the time someone talking to their husband.)
The thing is the proper way to directly addressing someone is by using his name or title.
Using a generic pronoun means that either you forgot his name or title, or you don't care.
That is what may be rude.
There should have been first a presentation (はじめまして、マルマルです。よろしくおねがいします。) and the other person would also said his name, and thereafter you are supposed to address him/her by the name, not あなた.
It would be better,I think, if you forgot the name, to humbly ask the name again first, rather than don't caring and going withあなた.
This is a really interesting question, which I had to look up too. I found this great explanation on Tofugu https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/onyomi-kunyomi/
Essentially, your guess was pretty close. The "gaku" reading comes from another form of Chinese that was predominant during the Wu Dynasty, whereas I believe modern Mandarin stems mostly from the Han Dynasty, from which many Japanese on'yomi are also derived.
"Nen" is year in a general sense. For example, if it was "nan ne desuka?" it is like "what year is it?" (or "What year are we in?"). As for, "Nensei" it means "school year/grade" referring to people (the students), so it's not applied to not objects like "first-year content".
It would be good if they accepted romaji. It would still be Japanese, no matter what writing system you used.
Fun fact: In 1928, under Kemal Atatürk, a law was passed that from the first of January the following year, all official communications in Turkey had to be made using a modified version of the Latin alphabet, rather than the Arabic script that had traditionally been used. So everyone had to switch to the new writing system. The language, however, remained Turkish.
But that is incorrect (your statement, not your fact. Quite interesting, actually). If you wrote English words in katakana, that would not be English, that would be a Japanese form of English, that is not an official language. The same goes here, you don't write in romaji, so it is not correct. It is only used to sound out the words, not write in them.
Well, my fun fact was a concrete illustration of the fact that a writing system is not a language. You can switch from one writing system to another without there necessarily being any change in the language itself.
There are lots of other historical examples, such as the invention of hangul in Korea, leading to people switching from writing Korean in Chinese characters to writing them in a completely new system, and there are lots of examples in the countries of central Asia, where people switched between the Arabic, Cyrillic, and Latin scripts, no doubt leading to everyone there becoming thoroughly confused. Switching the way you write a language does not, in itself, change the language. It just requires you to learn new conventions for representing it on paper.
To give a more personal example: as a child and in my teens, I made up my own writing systems to write diary entries and secret messages and the like. But I was still writing in English. It must have been English. I didn't know any other language well enough to write my diary entries in.
If I wrote English in katakana, it would still be English, too, although of course I would have to make up my own conventions for representing the English sounds that katakana characters are not designed to represent.
And kore wa nihongo desu yo.
I answered with "What grade am I in?" and it said it was correct. I think that's because since the subject is left out the subject is based on the context, thus "What grade am I in" can technically be correct. I think.
Is "what grade am I in" usually phrased in a way other than "何年生ですか?"