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  5. "何年生ですか?"

"何年生ですか?"

Translation:What grade are you in?

June 6, 2017

106 Comments


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

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.


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

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


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

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.


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bon888918

This is astonishing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-idonthavethink-

Wow, I haven't heard that before


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Imma818552

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Katie864091

My elementary students say this all the time.


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

"What year are you in?" is accepted.


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/a3awright

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


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheJack38

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"


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

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.


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vvolf04

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jim373739

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


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

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"!


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

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?


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

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


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

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


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

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.


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

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.


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

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


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

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 .


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anonamoose52

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.


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

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


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

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


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

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.


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

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.)


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

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.


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

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


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

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?


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RITCH079

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.


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/henry.fenb

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sorcha864335

That would be, What year are you in?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xander479

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")


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

We do not say 7th grader "七年生"

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheBest_F-22

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

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


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

なにねんせいですか?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rk5I3

なんねんせいですか、not なに


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/barak.gur

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GabrielYuji96

"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".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mimi459612

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


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

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.


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

*look at a foreigner funny


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

the 年 in 年生 isn't very clear


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adamcook2004

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?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xander479

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


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

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


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

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?


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

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.


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

How is 生 pronounced?


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

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


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

I wish you could click on each letter for pronunciation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xiang-yu

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rk5I3

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)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J-D20

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rk5I3

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


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

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


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

Romanji please?


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

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


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

何年生ですか


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xander479

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'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kairu260485

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeffreyHua18

Hiragana answer: なんねんせいですか?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Blackat4545

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


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aotsuki-san36

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.


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GabrielYuji96

"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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rk5I3

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?"


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex76659

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

sorry if i offended anyone


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rk5I3

何年(なんねん)ですか


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TaylorGray444771

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


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

It showed wrong - in which grade do you study


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkOne6

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GabrielYuji96

Why it shouldn't be ok?


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

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.


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nick577594

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pine542141

I think "school" is redundant.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Slash513421

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Neolit1

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


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

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jenia94

This is something up with which you will not put ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JasonFries2

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeff.suter

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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