"小学四年生です。"

Translation:I am a fourth grader.

June 6, 2017

94 Comments


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

FYI: 四年 is read よねんせい, not よんねんせい

June 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V2Blast

You forgot the last character of the kanji: 四年生(よねんせい)

January 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carlos792121

When we use せい isn't it negative form?

December 23, 2017

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

No, 「よねんせい」is a noun, in order to make it negative you would use じゃない for example「よねんせいじゃないです」 "I am not a fourth grader" (also, as far as I'm aware nothing ending in せい is negative, maybe you are thinking of ない?)

December 23, 2017

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

You could also use the negative form of です instead 「よねんせいではありません」 and perhaps @carlos792121 was thinking of せん

December 25, 2017

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

1: ではありません -- I don't like it, I won't stop other people from using it (I'm sure it has it's uses), but I personally forget about it constantly because I never use it. edit: see https://japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/12846/negation-with-%E3%81%A7%E3%81%AF%E3%81%82%E3%82%8A%E3%81%BE%E3%81%9B%E3%82%93-vs-%E3%81%98%E3%82%83%E3%81%AA%E3%81%84 2: Perhaps.

January 3, 2018

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

Agreed, ではありません is very formal, and not usually the right choice for a simple negation. I recommend じゃない for typically casual, plain speech and adding です for polite speech.

August 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jordan677462

Yeah in the genki books they teach you to use janaidesu almost exclusively

April 14, 2019

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

The answer on stackexchange is wrong. The question is actually wrong as well. There is no difference between ない です and ありません. They are both equivalent forms of negation of the same verb ある. These two forms exist for any Japanese verb. For example: なりません and ならないです are equivalent imperfective negations of なる. Thus it is awkward to contrast ではありません and じゃないです. Because if you are contrasting the first part, you could ask the difference between ではありません and じゃありません. If the second, then between じゃないです and じありません. But not all in one question.

Now the correct answer to the correct questions.

  1. There is no difference between じゃないです and じありません, or between ではないです and ではありません.
  2. In ではありません vs じゃありません, じゃ is a contracted form of では. で in では is a gerund of copula だ. The uncontracted form では occurs in written language regardless of politeness level or level of casual vs formal. In the spoken language the contracted じゃ is more common in plain style, in polite style not contracted では is preferred.
August 9, 2019

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

じゃない/ではない IS the negative form of です - it's just the plain form and less polite.

September 16, 2018

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

では (or ではない for this matter) is not a negative form of です, though it is used in negative nominal predicates. です does not have negative forms, it's just a copula indicating distal style of speech. で in では is a gerund of だ (direct style copula equivalent of です). じゃ is just a contracted form of では. There are no differences in politeness between using じゃありません/ではありません/じゃないです/ではないです. The uncontracted では is used in writing, independently of politeness or style. In the spoken language the contracted じゃ is more common in plain style, in polite style not contracted では is preferred. Finally, the polite versions of the negative nominal predicate are ではございません and ではいらっしゃいません.

August 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/litus1980

I think he's thinking of せん coming from ません.

January 3, 2018

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

Carlos - ~年生(-ねんせい)- suffix counter for grade/year student. 年 meaning year and 生 from 学生 and 生徒 which both mean student.

October 13, 2018

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

I think everyone would understand by context without adding " at an elementary school." Besides, what if they are a fourth grade civil engineer.

June 8, 2017

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

They say the level of school and year because when they reach middle school they become first years again and the same with highschool

June 10, 2017

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

And it continues with universities.

June 19, 2017

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

I thought the schools were grouped in threes, though. Wouldn't a fourth grade elementary school student be a first year middle school student? (Unless they were held back or something, I suppose.)

April 21, 2018

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

Japanese schooling is actually ordered like this: Required: Elementary School (小学校) 1-6th grade 少1年→小6年 Middle School (中学校)7-9th grade (中1年→中3年) Optional: High School (高校)10-12th grade (高1年→高3年) College / University n-years (大1年→大○年)


hope that answers your question

April 21, 2018

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

Ah, got it! Thanks! :)

April 23, 2018

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

This is soooo helpful! I was very confused.

June 25, 2019

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

Thanks. Do the pupils do an exam after the 9th grade to get in the high school? Can they go to work after the 9th grade or do they have to study in another institution before ?

August 2, 2019

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

After 9th grade, students generally have to take entrance exams to get into high school, though I believe there are some schools that don't require it or some exceptional students may be exempt.

I'm not sure whether or not they can work, but from what I've seen, most students who don't want to go to high school are encouraged to learn a trade or get an apprenticeship.

August 4, 2019

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

In japanese it says "elementary school" so I don't think you'll encounter many fourth grade civil engineets there hehe

June 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hE4S2

Good joke ( ‘-^ )b

July 18, 2017

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

Also japanese lists things from macro to micro. So you would say 私は大学で日本語を勉強しますWatashi wa daigaku de nihongo o benkyō shimasu - student of japanese 私は東京の大学で日本語を勉強します Watashi wa Tōkyō no daigaku de nihongo o benkyō shimasu Tokyo -student- japanese The reverse of the english word order

July 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hE4S2

Thats a good one. Not many know about this

July 18, 2017

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

Shouldn't this include the education level as well ("I am a in fourth grade at an elementary school.")?

June 6, 2017

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

When I first saw this sentence, I thought the translation is put Japanese school grades into American Grade 1, Grade 2 ... to Grade 12.

June 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V2Blast

Not necessarily. The reason it's specified in the Japanese is because they also specify year number (1, 2, etc.) for middle or high school, whereas in the US we'd just say "8th-grader", they'd say the equivalent of "middle school 2nd-year".

January 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MatthewThe106652

小学生(しょうがくせい)

July 29, 2018

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

Isnt this same kanji also read みず for water? It looks like it's しょぅ now?

August 25, 2017

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

The kanji for みず (water) is 水 I believe the kanji you were looking at was 小 (しょう in this case)

August 26, 2017

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

Is this actually how their school system works? Because I do not understand this terminology

November 24, 2017

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

Yes, this is actually how it works in Japan.

Japanese kids enter school at about age 6 and they study for six years. That school is called 小学校 (しょうがっこう), whatever the equivalent is called in your country. The next three years are spent in 中学校 (ちゅうがっこう), and the three after that are in 高校 (こうこう).

Also, if you're talking about the word order, as @Sinfully_Yours mentioned in an earlier comment, Japanese people tend to arrange concepts from macro to micro. So, the larger institution, 小学校 (elementary school), goes first (and is shortened to 小学) followed by the smaller group, 四年生 (fourth year student). Dates and addresses also follow this principle.

December 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V2Blast

Here's an overview of the Japanese school system: https://www.tokyo-icc.jp/guide_eng/educ/01.html

January 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mike899735

The answer is based on the American system. A fourth grader can also apply to a university in the opinion of my masters degree qualified Japanese wife!

July 27, 2018

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

I'm not sure why your masters degree qualified Japanese wife has any more credibility when talking about how English speakers interpret the English phrase "fourth grader"... but just to clarify, 四年生 in Japanese can also refer to a fourth year university/college student, but 小学四年生 only refers to a fourth year primary/elementary school student (i.e "a fourth grader" to Americans).

December 18, 2018

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

Could Duo treat missed "a" as a typo and not as an error? Not all learners of Japanese are native English speakers, you know.

July 12, 2019

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

I agree. I omit articles sometimes too and got punished.

August 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frenchie579594

This whole discussion is very Americanised and doesn't relate very well to the English school system. This makes it difficult as I'm not familiar the American school system either.

August 7, 2019

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

Why not just 四年生です?

October 27, 2018

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

To make it clear that you are talking about a 4th year/year 4 Primary/Elementary school student.

October 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wakaran3

Why do we need to use 小学? Can't wr just use 四年生?

May 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sara1190

Because they want you to specify that you are an elementary school fourth grade student, not a middle school fourth grade student, or a fourth year university student etc.

May 11, 2019

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

Anybody got any tips to remember which kind of school is which? Because I keep confusing elementary school and middle school and high school and college. I can't remember them all.

May 21, 2019

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

How about the kanji for elementary or primary school is made up of the kanji for small and the kanji for school. And the kanji for the middle of middle school is a box with a line through the middle.

May 21, 2019

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

I don't think kanji are the problem here, rather their reading. What I struggle with is remembering which one of these "shu", "shuu", "sho", "shou", "chu", "chuu", "cho" or "chou" corresponds to "small" and "middle" in combined words.

May 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnaLydiate
  1. If a kanji means small or little on its own then it's highly likely it will retain that meaning in a combined word.

  2. The only way to remember what means what is to invest in some good kanji books, download apps for handy studying both on your computer or on the go on a device. Writing them out also helps with memorisation and retention, and also using the written language in your every day life - ie. write notes to yourself using kana and kanji filling in the blanks with English where you haven't learnt the Japanese yet. Write shopping lists, appointment reminders, study notes for school, write in your journal - get yourself used to writing the language. Also seek out children's picture books, generally they won't have kanji but they'll help with getting used to reading kana.

May 22, 2019

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

Thanks but you missed my point. The meaning is for me pretty clear, at least for those that I already learnt, remembering the pronunciation is a challenge.

August 1, 2019

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

Okay, I'm super confused.

This is probably a case of Duolingo being a bit goofy, where mousing over a letter or character doesn't provide the same information as what's being said, where the sound is different and the definitions displayed aren't quite right...but the sentence structure seems really tangled to me.

June 14, 2019

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

I'm not sure what you mean about the sentence structure. What is confusing you? There's not really much sentence structure there to speak of - it's simply - I am....

June 14, 2019

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

I wish I was still on the page, now, so I could mouse over all over the different bits of the sentence...but doing so would produce sounds that hitting the 'read' button wouldn't, and doing so would produce definitions that didn't seem to match what the sentence was saying.

And those oddities seemed to warp the grammar in ways that have been, up to now, unprecedented.

None of this is uncommon; indeed, one might say it's chronic in these lessons. But it makes being introduced to them for the first time rather confusing and frustrating.

It's just not very clear which characters are representing different words/concepts; it'd be nice to have spaces in between 'em the way we do in English--at least at first; in later lessons, have it more like how Japanese is actually written--in order to know whatinheck's going on.

I mean, okay...we can forget about 'です' cuz everybody knows what that means. Easy-peasy.

Now, for the rest: '小学四年生' Up to now, '学生' has meant 'student', but now those two characters are separated by '四年'; the first of those means 'four', obviously, but I haven't a clue what the second means. Duolingo has asked me to identify the sound that makes, but hasn't yet told me its meaning (why they don't do that when you're matching it to a sound is mystifying). If '年' is the 'grader' part, then whatinheck does '小' mean? Or vice versa?

Mousing over these characters gives no clue; words show up, but they don't really tell you which means what, and the sounds they make when you do it do not match the sounds made when the sentence is spoken, as I said.

So parsing this is really difficult; I'm not learning anything from it because the information given doesn't make any sense.

June 14, 2019

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

I do both. I wouldn't choose one over the other. I think they are both as important as each other and that the study of each only accentuates and strengthens the study of the other. It seems to you that I am focusing on reading and kanji but that is merely because that is what you have said you can't understand - it's not a matter of grammar at all. It's about how familiarity with their writing systems and how they work can help us better understand and learn the language as a whole. It's not about reading/writing is better than spoken or vice versa - it's about how learning can be enhanced through a study and understanding of the whole language.

Anyway, in answer to some of your more specific queries/problems - you can't rely on duo. This seems particularly apt for the Japanese lessons. The duo system seems to be problematic where homonyms are involved. It just can't handle it. The Duo system seems to get very easily confused. Also, duo frequently uses the incorrect reading for kanji causing more confusion - this is why you keep seeing or hearing different pronunciations to what the voice is speaking because the duo system either tells you a different reading to the one that's being used when you click on individual characters OR it confuses words and sometimes parts of words with like sounding words. One excellent example of this was where duo confused the suffix -たち with the start of the verb たちます (to stand). When people would click on the verb in the sentence duo told them that it was a suffix that made nouns plural. The solution - either rely on other users comments for explanations or resort to independent study.

I'm not sure how you think grammar is being warped?

As for the other issues I think they're all connected to Duo's errors that I've already mentioned - the duo system is really confused by Japanese homonyms and it consequently provides incorrect and often contradictory information. Also, it can't seem to handle kanji, the different readings and when they're used hence, again, it gives us incorrect and contradictory information. Duo also confuses same sounding words with unrelated parts of speech - result - more confusion.

Conclusion - don't rely on Duolingo as your sole source for learning Japanese : )

June 15, 2019

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

No, it's completely about grammar. It's about how they've organized the words; that's what grammar is in the first place, and that's where I'm getting hung up. Words are in what is, to me, an unexpected order based on previous experience.

And these words could be written in kanji, or in a combo of hiragana and katakana, or spoken 100% verbally and the source of my confusion would still be exactly the same.

June 15, 2019

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

小学四年生 (しょうがくよねんせい) is one word. It's pretty straight forward, you can pretty much translate it directly in the order that the kanji are in. 小 (しょう) small, 学 (がく) you'll probably be familiar with it from 学校 (がっこう) - school, on its own its core meaning is 'learning', 四 (し or よん) as you say means the number 4, 年 (ねん/とし) means year, you might have already seen this in 来年 (らいねん) - next year etc, and 生 (せい) means life and as you've mentioned you've already seen it used in 学生 (がくせい) meaning student - here it is pronounced せい and it means student. So altogether, literally, it means small school 4 year student or in other words a primary/elementary school 4th year or year 4 student or 4th grader.

Personally, I'm a book person - I like to read and write out kanji to learn it but I've also downloaded a kanji app to my phone (that I haven't actually used yet). Sounds like a good kanji book might be a good investment for you.

Kanji is generally learnt in a numbered list and 四 will be one of the very first that you learn. 小、学 and 年 will also be among the first. I can't remember where 生 is on the list but I don't think it's too far from the start.

It's fascinating learning and if all the intricacies like stroke order and radicals interest you then you'll soon find that not only do you have multiple ways of looking new/unfamiliar kanji up but you may well be able to guess the meaning of a word/kanji you don't know because you recognise a radical that makes up part of the kanji. Good luck to you. I'm sure others on here can recommend plenty of excellent kanji apps that can make up for Duo's lack of explanation - oft where kanji is involved.

June 14, 2019

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

I just wish Duolingo wouldn't throw this stuff at you with exactly zero context. As I said, they'll give you a lesson with the sounds these kanji make, but without telling you the meaning. And mousing over 'em doesn't tell you squat, either, because it's usually way out of context.

I mean, I actually have not yet seen that '年' means 'year'; that hasn't come up at all. And I definitely haven't seen '来年' yet.

They usually give you hints on these--you click that lightbulb thingy on the lesson and there'll be a chart or something--but sometimes that info is curiously absent.

June 14, 2019

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

Consider Duo a handy supplement to your independent study of Japanese. Maybe investigate other apps that are more comprehensive or at least consistent? I'm sure people on here will have plenty of recommendations. Or at least use duo in conjunction with something else. When I was trying to get used to reading Japanese I sought out children's books - they are usually all in kana and you can just get yourself used to reading the different characters. Friends have also sent lots of children's books over the years which have been good reading practise for me. I used to read them to my boys when they were little. They loved them.

June 15, 2019

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

Hmm, here we use the terms Primary/Secondary instead of grader

July 13, 2019

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

Wow you guys are so knowledgeable

August 16, 2019

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

Doesn't 年 just mean year? Having to use 'grade' in my translations just confuses me as 年 would be used in something like 'three years ago'.

September 3, 2019

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

Doesn't 年 just mean year? Having to use 'grade' in my translations instead is confusing me as 年 would also be used in something like 'three years ago'. If i used Duolingo without knowing anything beforehand then using 'grade' later on in 'three years ago' would confuse me even more.

September 3, 2019

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

The meaning and reading of a kanji depends heavily on the context. Compare

かる? (wakaru?) Do you understand?

(yonpun) Four minutes.

September 3, 2019

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

Strangely enough English in this regard is far more close to Japanese than other European languages. In English reading also heavily depends on the context. We just got used to it in English and it doesn't confuse us anymore. The same dependency on context in Japanese seems weird at first.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BillFische2

That is a 4th year student, wrong they are a 4th year student, wrong y this ;_;

August 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BillFische2

Also shouldnt です be いる in this case since we're talking about a living thing? Or does that not apply when talking about titles?

August 4, 2017

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

Both of your suggested translations should be accepted, but perhaps they hadn't been added to the list of accepted answers yet.

We are talking about a living thing, but いる means "to exist", so the sentence would literally be "a 4th grader exists."

You can think of です as "is/am/are" or an equals sign for the subject and the object. In this case, the subject is omitted, but if we assumed it is "I", by using です you are saying "I = a 4th grader", not simply that one exists.

August 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/microphone83

why is "fourth year of elementary school" not a valid answer? does sei make this about a person always? if so, how would you refer only to the academic year then?

August 14, 2017

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

I think "fourth year of elementary school" should be valid, in fact, more so than "fourth grader" (since the "elementary school" bit is only implicit in that Americanism).

生 does make this phrase always about a person/people. As for "academic year", I think it depends a little on the sentence you want to use it in, but 学年 (がくねん) is probably the best translation.

August 22, 2017

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

-生 is a suffix meaning student so "4th year of elementary school" is not sufficient or an acceptable translation. Also です acts as the verb 'to be' here, which could be translated as I am, you are, s/he or it is etc but assuming that the speaker is talking about themselves then this should be translated as "I am". Saying I am a 4th grader still works as a valid translation at least for the US as it is different from saying I am a 4th year student which could arguably refer to any level of education - in the US 4th grader refers to an elementary school level student.

November 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frigorifico9

WHY NO ONE ASKS FOR LITERAL TRANSLATIONS?, I understand that 学 has something to do with school, but I don't understand what it means, nor do I have the faintest idea of what 年生 means

July 19, 2018

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

小 small 学 school => elementary school 四 four 年 year => fourth year of elementary school 生 living => student in fourth year of elementary school

July 20, 2018

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

THANK YOU!

The ONLY place those 2 mystery symbols have been properly explained/translated!

(year, living)

DuoLingo would do well to break down the symbols individually like this, in addition to the full word translation, when we can hover over the kanji!

August 31, 2019

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

why is this so specific, not like a fourth grader would manage to get this far into duolingo without taking a year since their brains wouldn't have developed enough to actually reach this level of understanding a foreign language

December 10, 2018

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

Actually, it's been extensively studied and shown that children, especially small children, are significantly better than adults (of any age) at acquiring foreign languages.

Besides, specificity doesn't make this sentence any more difficult; in the end it's still a basic "I am X" structure. And why wouldn't you want to learn this vocabulary? Even if it (is so specific that it) doesn't apply to you, the word is used by people, Japanese people; and isn't the point of learning a language to be able to understand and communicate with those people?

December 10, 2018
Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.