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  5. "何年生ですか?"


Translation:What grade are you in?

June 6, 2017



I think something on the lines of "What year of study are you in?" is more appropriate since "-nensei" applies all the way to university, where you don't really have grades anymore.


But University students still ask if your a freshman, senior, etc. So first year, second year, 3rd, 4th, 5th still applies.


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.


Wow what a different culture! So community centric, love it.


This is astonishing.


Wow, I haven't heard that before


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.


My elementary students say this all the time.


"What year are you in?" is accepted.


What makes this "What grade is he"? Rather than "What grade is it"? Im confused


Nothing in the sentence specifies a pronoun. In a different context, it may need to be translated differently.


In the app(Android) it wanted "What grade is he?" When i answered "What grade is it?" Because, exactly, there is no pronoun indicator. Its translated completely different on the site here.


Translating with "it" does't really make sense here, so using "he" or "she" would be the correct translations. IIRC japanese is highly context sensitive, and you have to judge these things on context. "It" cannot have a school grade, so it must be "he" or "she"


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.


My answer was "what grade are you in?" I didnt have the choice he


you wouldn't say 年生 for objects. the 生 is for students.


I went with "what grade are you in?" If the subject is not specified, I assume the subject is my conversation partner.


You can guess on context that the one in a certain grade would be human.

In English is very rude to refer to a human as "it", lowering their status to an object.

Sidenote: animals that aren't pets are still often an "it"!


But can't grade also mean something else? 'I got an A in the math test' 'wow, that is a good grade!' aren't those called grades, too?


In English yes, but the Kanji here can not mean that.


I said "what grade are you" and that worked.


I think too specify 'he', you would put 'kare wa' at the beginning of the sentence. 'Kare' is 'he' and 'wa' (written as the character 'ha') is the topic particle, which I think is the correct one to use in this case.


Japanese often leave out unnecesary parts of the sentece. The listener will understand from the context. Saying: kare wa nan nensei desu ka translates: ''As for him, what grade is he in?'' So saying ''kare wa'' isn't necessary.


In case you forgot how it reads, "nensei" 年生


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 .


It was correct for you?! I answered "What year are you in?" and it got marked wrong. :/


Sorry what's the pronunciation and what are the meaning of the compounds?


To me it seems to be "nan nen sei desu ka?" Nan meaning 'what' 'Nen sei' is school grade or year 'Desu ka' is making a question


Is there any way to distinguish between asking a single person a question and multiple people?


You can use お前達は何年生ですか。 "omaetachi wa nan nen sei desu ka" which sort of translates to "what years are you guys in?" CMIIW


tachi does correctly pluralize this, but be careful, omae is pretty darn informal and could start you off on the wrong foot with people you aren't close with.


あなたたち (anata-tachi) would probably be more appropriate in most cases.


Actually the best approach would be to avoid using ANY forms of "you" altogether. They are all considered rude, including "anata".


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.


anonamoose52 is correct. Also, ''omae'' doesn't really make sense when used with ''desu''.


Some of the On'yomi pronounciations sound a lot like Mandarin, such as: 生 - sei/shēng; 年 - nen/nian; 小 - shiō/xiao.

But 学 is spoken very differently: "gaku/xué". Why is that? Does this On come from Cantonese or something?


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.


And 生 also means birth. I thought the phrase was asking the year of birth. Hahaha altho 学生 (xue sheng) means student. I guess it was cut short.


何年生 is pronounced なんねんせい for you wanting to know.


I would like a UK English translation, US english I find confusing


That would be, What year are you in?


Yeah, I've tried out British versions of what it tells us and Duolingo accepts them all. (Eg "I'm in Year 4" instead of "I'm a fourth grader")


We do not say 7th grader "七年生"

We usually say 中学一年生(junior high school 1st grader)


I still think that "In what grade are you?" should also be accepted...

Note: it is NOT accepted at the time of this writing!. ...
-_-; ...




なんねんせいですか、not なに


What is the difference between nen and nensei? I thought the first is grade and the second is grader, but now it seems wrong


"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".


Why wasnt "In what grade are you??" right?? Its almost the saaame


Because no one speaks like that anymore unless they happen to be doing a Shakespeare play. Though technically correct, people would look at a foreigner if they spoke like that in a lot of English-speaking locations.

I cannot speak for UK English.


*look at a foreigner funny


the 年 in 年生 isn't very clear


A year in school isn't called a grade in the UK, it's just called a year. Would it be acceptable to translate this as "What year arre you in?"


Yep. That's fine, and Duolingo accepts it, which I'm very glad about as a fellow Englishman


Why does 何 sound like "なん" (nan) instead of "なに" (nani) in this sentence?


How to remember kanji? A different symbol for whole words...!! Is there a way to remember and recognize the kanji or a trick to it? Or do people just get used to it?


You can learn radicals from which kanji are composed and look up similar kanji and their pronunciation and meaning. Then write it down for a hundred of times, until you really get used to them.


How is 生 pronounced?


In 何年生, 生 is pronounced せい (sei). It sounds like the English word "say".


I wish you could click on each letter for pronunciation


I thought 何年生でしか means "In which year did you born" as 生 also mean birth/bear.


That actually uses the same kanji, but different pronunciation: 何年 生まれ ですか。(なんねん うまれ ですか)


so would ”何年にですか?” mean "what age are you in?" :D


Bluntly said, no. 何年ですか means "What year is it?"


Why does 'grades' only apply to elementary school? In middle and high school there are grades as well. At least here (Holland) there are.


Romanji please?


生 is, if im not mistaken, is always silent in the context of this level. Why is that




Using 'grade' in this context is weird for me on here. While I know and understand the meaning, we don't have 'grade x' in England; rather 'year x'


I wrote grade school rather than elementary. I know there are a few ways to say elementary that basically mean the same thing, but duo seems to prefer that we use just one way


Hiragana answer: なんねんせいですか?


why is "nani" before "nensei"? shouldnt "desu" be next to "nani"?


Because 何 is basically a placeholder for when we don't know what goes there. So instead of 三年生 we are using 何年生.


年 just means year so being told it means grade and using that instead is getting confusing, if i didn't know any Japanese beforehand then using 年 later in something like 'three years ago' would get even more confusing.


Is it wrong to say "in which grade are you?"?


"Which" usually is used when there are only just two or three options. For example, "Which grade are you in, third or second?". "What grade are you in?" is a wide-range question. Also, "in" in the end is the more natural order in English.


Wow! I didn't know that. Does that mean you don't ask "which day of the week" but always "what day of the week?"


I think "What grade in school are you?" should be accepted. Sounds correct colloquially to this English speaker


i hope all the chinese americans,brits,canadians,etc. agree that learning japanese is relatively easy

sorry if i offended anyone


So then how would you say "What year is it ?"




Answered "what grade" and got it incorrect. Here thats common to say. "Im in school" "What grade?"


It showed wrong - in which grade do you study


'what grade are you in?' also ok? Flagged


Why it shouldn't be ok?


Duolingo seems to be strict on prepositions, even though it's not about へ or に -- even English prepositions exclusive to English, e.g. "I'm IN ...th grade" seems to be stressed about even though the Japanese equivalent doesn't use a preposition. This seems like it's unnecessary to put an "if answer is exactly as the translation, correct it" logic gate in this question.


Just to be clear, へ or に don't strictly need to correlate to a preposition in the English translation, and vice versa, prepositions in English don't necessarily need to include a particle in Japanese. It often does correlate well, but in cases like this, judging the correctness of a translation requires understanding common usage in both languages.

However, Duo isn't a program for translating; it's a program for learning. At this point, it's even still in Beta for this course, so acceptable answers, like "What grade are you?" (standard Australian English), may not be fully set-up yet.


Shouldn't 'what year level are you in?' work as well?


I accidently types "ate" instead of "are" give me a break.. :(


I think "school" is redundant.


My English language is not so good thats why i often ask the same question like this...what grade are you?


Why is "what is the grade" marked.as wrong and it corrects me to "what is your grade". for me tge sentence seems to be working both ways


Ew, end-of-sentence prepositions... Also, it should accept "In what grade are you."


It's perfectly valid to end sentences with a preposition. English is not Latin.


This is something up with which you will not put ?


If we are going to get picky about nonexistent grammar rules for English your sentence should read "In WHICH grade are you."


Fairly certain, regardless, of any school systems country of origin that one student asking another student or even a group of students "Which grade are you in or In which grade are you?" is perfectly fine and appropriate.

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