Translation:I do not eat rice.
When you use は you talk about rice. It's a rice property that you don't eat it. It usually means that you don't eat rice in general, maybe because you don't like it at all. For my opinion, you could think that it's some kind of adjective: "rice isn't eatable for me"
When you use を rice isn't the topic. Assuming that topic is yourself, the meaning is "I won't eat rice". Maybe because you don't want it now, or you're not hungry.
Sorry for my bad english, maybe it's hard to understand me because of it. But I think I'm right, please correct me if I'm not. To understand this topic concept correctly is important for me.
Do you mean this character: 食? This is a type of Japanese character called kanji, which all generally have multiple possible pronunciations (also called "readings") depending on how they're used in a sentence, i.e. in combination with other kanji or on its own or with hiragana/katakana. I believe Duo's TTS program is not very good at recognizing this context, so a lot of pronunciation becomes rather confusing for beginners.
On the other hand, hiragana and katakana both have fairly straightforward pronunciations; they are both syllabries meaning each character represents a single syllable (technically, a single mora). The small hiragana characters are used to modify the mora they are attached to. Only 9 kana do this (that I can think of): あいうえお, やゆよ, and つ. With the first group, they change the vowel sound of the previous kana, e.g. ふ (fu) -> ふぁ (fa), which is typically done with katakana in order to access sounds produced by other languages that don't naturally exist in Japanese (ファースト = faasuto = "first"/"fast"). The second group changes the vowel of the previous kana too, but they become diphthongs, e.g. き (ki) -> きょ (kyo). The small つ is a little different because it doesn't affect vowels and actually denotes a glottal stop; it's usually romanized by doubling the the consonant of the after it, e.g. しゅっしん (shusshin), but it can also be used at the end of words, for the dramatic effect of harshly cutting the word short, e.g. はっ？ = (゜ロ゜)？
You seem to know your stuff. Would you mind explaining the fifth character to me? On its own it's pronounced differently that in the sentence as a whole. I've come across this sort of thing a few times in previous lessons (like the Tsu when it's written smaller) but I was able to get an explanation. There doesn't seem to be one here.
To be more precise: は marks the topic, yes, so 「ごはんはたべます。」 means "As for rice, I eat it."/"I eat rice (in general)."
On the other hand, を marks the target of the verb, so 「ごはんをたべます。」 is more along the lines of "The rice is being eaten."/"I eat (this specific) rice."
EDIT Your English might actually be better than mine, though, what are you even going on about?
I have seen quite a few of saying は is general and を is specific, but actually it does not have this implication.
Look at these examples
Suppose there are a plate of rice and a plate of pasta on the table. One may say - ご飯は食べませんが、パスタは食べます。 This translate to - I don't eat the rice but I eat the pasta. Therefore は is used with something specific in this case.
Suppose you are busy and don't have time for lunch. 今日はご飯を食べません。明日は食べます。 I don't eat rice today. I will eat tomorrow. This is general and not specific to a particular dish.
When I look for whether to use は, I ask these questions.
- Do I have something to compare with the clause or noun before the は?
- Do I need to stress the negative clause that follows?
- Do I want to explain the properties of the subject?
If any of these is yes, the I will use は.
What is the point of learning a language in a simplified way if you're never going to use it with native speakers of the language? My point is this: Learn the language as it is really used. If it is used one way, it's great to learn it an alternative way, but get comfortable using it the way it is naturally used.
The subject (i, he, she) is usually implied in context. If it's confusing ( like if my mom and I don't eat rice but im just talking about myself) you will include the subject: Watashi/Boku, anata, the person's name, etc. For duolingo, I use myself as the subject unless otherwise noted.
Unless it's clear from earlier in the conversation, if they don't say who the subject is, you can assume the speaker is the subject. Also, a side note, if they were talking about someone else they wouldn't be so direct. It would be "I think she doesn't eat rice" or "It appears that she doesn't eat rice." More polite and so more Japanese that way.
"Do not eat rice" is called an imperative sentence, and there are actually a lot of different ways to construct the request depending on how polite you want to be, the safest being て-form + ください
So: ごはんを食べてください means "please eat (your) rice"
The negative sentence can be made by using simple negative tense + で + ください
So: ごはんを食べないでください means "please do not eat (your) rice"
Notice that I put "your" in brackets. That's because the ownership of the rice is implied by context. ごはん just means "rice" in general, but it seems foolish to say don't eat rice in general if I only meant don't eat my rice. Alternatively, what other rice would you eat besides yours if I asked you to eat rice in general?
Relating it back to this exercise, unless there was an obvious contextual reason otherwise, if "I" am speaking, you can assume what I'm saying is related to me. Unfortunately Duo doesn't give us obvious contextual reasons, so most of the time, assuming "I" is the subject will work well.
Why when it reads in the sentence 食 is ta but when you tap it individually its something waaaay different. I noticed this on some other kanji also, is this just one of those things where it has various ways to say it with each its own meaning ? .. i cant think of an english example where this happens to help further explain what i mean i guess closest thing would be to too two but instead of all being said as 2 they are all drawn as 2 ??? Does that make sense to what im asking???????????
TL/DR: 食べる ー 食べません(do not eat), 食べられません(cannot eat).
Long story below:
Before I can explain why this is different from 話すー話しませんー話せません, we need to understand the different type of verbs. There are three types of verbs in modern Japanese - they are called V5, V1 and irregular.
V5 - dictionary form ends in the う column, there are 9 possible endings: う／く／ぐ／す／つ／ぬ／ぶ／む／る. e.g. 洗（あら）う, 遊（あそ）ぶ, 話（はな）す, 読（よ）む. For る-ending verbs, the majority of V5 verbs have the る following a sound in あ／う／お column. e.g. 始（はじ）まる, 降（ふ）る, 起（お）こる. The exceptions to this needs to be memorized - 帰（かえ）る, 走（はし）る, 切（き）る. (Not a full list, just some examples)
V1 - dictionary form ends with る and majority of them have the る following a sound in い／え column. e.g. 見（み）る, 食（た）べる. 変（か）える, 着（き）る. Note for the last two, each has a V5 verb with the same pronunciation but a different meaning.
Irregular - two verbs くる and する (and the compound action nouns + する e.g. 散歩（さんぽ）する)
For V5 verbs the polite form ます is formed by the ending sound moving to the い column of the same row + ます e.g. 話す→話します (hanasu -> hanashi + masu). For V1, it is to delete the る and plus the ます e.g. 食べる→食べます. For irregulars する→します, くる→きます.
Now for the potential form, V5 moves the う column ending to the え column and adds a る. e.g. 話す→話せる (hanasu -> hanase + ru), 帰る→帰れる. For V1, it is to replace the る to られる (or れる in oral form) e.g. 食べる→食べられる (or 食べれる), 着る→着られる (or 着れる). For irregulars, する→できる, くる→こられる or これる (oral).
The potential form itself is a V1 verb, so applying the polite form to make e.g. 話せる→話せます and 食べる→食べられます. Finally replace the ます with ません for negatives.
Thanks, I just noticed the "report" flag. Hope this will get fixed, it seems that Duo is very restrictive with Kanji, so I've started reporting a lot already. I think they should really allow it, getting the right kanji in the IME is certainly a good way to memorize them so Duo should accept them.
I've already commented on the problem with the "don't eat rice" translation on Mohammad Ghaznavi's earlier question, and other comments on this exercise have explained about understanding the subject through context.
But as I came to reply to your comment, I realized that "don't eat the rice" could be a possible, if rather passive-aggressive, meaning for this sentence in the right context. If you had rice on the table, and someone else went to eat it, you could say 「ごはんは食べません」 to mean "that rice isn't for eating" or "that rice isn't for you to eat". Like I said, it's somewhat passive-aggressive and this sounds like something a mother would say to her child (if it wasn't time to eat yet, or if the mother was mean...), so I wouldn't advise you to remember this usage.
You can say exactly the same thing, in the right context.
A: 作りすぎたので、ごはんはお父さんにあげましようか。 = "Since we made too much, shall we give some rice to your father?"
B: いいえ、ごはんは食べませんね。 = "No, he doesn't eat rice, y'know."
Alternatively, I think you can specify "he" or "she" as the subject, by using 彼は (kare wa) or 彼女は (kanojo wa), and get away with using は twice. That is 「彼は / 彼女は、ごはんは食べません。」 There might be technical reasons why this is incorrect (please explain them to me, if you know that's the case), but I think people will understand what you're saying.
Technically, masen on its own doesn't "mean" anything, but it is how Japanese expresses negative tense and so it's often associated with "do/does not" or "will not".
As for how it relates to すみません, that's an interesting question, and I'd never thought about it like that before.
I might be wrong about this, but according to my dictionary, すみません can also be written as 済みません. The root verb 済む usually means "to finish, to be completed, to end" but can also mean "to feel at ease". I think it usually takes on the latter meaning in the phrasal verb 気が済む (ki ga sumu = "to feel satisfied, to feel good about something").
In that case, I think すみません might have originated from a phrase like 「ご迷惑をかけて気が済みません」 which means "I don't feel good about having to bother you", in a similar way to はじめまして originating from a longer greeting.
Yes, sometimes it's helpful to think of は as "as for" (i.e. as for rice, I don't eat it) since topic and subject are used pretty interchangeably in English, and in Japanese learning materials they tend to use the word "topic" for は and "subject" for が which can be confusing.
Yeah, that's definitely a bug.
I've run into situations where using either construction, as one piece or separate pieces, both get marked wrong for the first couple attempts and then it suddenly changes its mind.
There have been a few complaints on the forums, but every time ehartz takes a look at the question's answer settings everything looks normal; so it not accepting is just a strange glitch that pops up occasionally.
It has definitely been popping up more and more frequently lately. I'm making a report and am now collecting as many examples of it happening as I can to try to help staff narrow down the possible cause.
If you or anyone else run into this problem please take a screenshot (preferably with your screen zoomed out a little bit to show those pesky answers that get hidden by the box at the bottom) and send it in a bug report
Especially send one if this is happening in other languages. I've only run into this problem doing Japanese but it'd really help to know if it is specifically a course issue or a general issue. :)
食 is the kanji for "eat, food" pronounced here as "た" as part of the verb 食べる taberu - to eat
Kanji are used for most nouns/adjectives/verb stems in order to distinguish between homophones and make the language easier to read/understand. In longer sentences kanji help you tell where one word starts and another ends, and clarify otherwise ambiguous meanings.
The course currently doesn't use much kanji (though the new one coming soon will use far more). Currently it only teaches roughly the 100 or so needed for the JLPT-N5 beginner level, such as 食
I notice a lot of people having issues with は and を. (In fact I did until about 5 seconds ago, because a lot of the explanations haven't been clicking).
So with は, you're talking about rice as a whole, the actual concept of rice. So you're saying you dont eat rice at all, ever.
As for を, it's referring to an actual object. So as opposed to not eating rice at all, it's this specific rice that won't be eaten.
Since most Kanji characters come from China they usually have multiple ways to read them.
The readings are split into two categories called
Onyomi - a reading that sounds like the original Chinese pronunciation(s)
Kunyomi - the Japanese pronunciation of a word
"Shoku" is a Onyomi reading but in the sentence it should be the Kunyomi "ta" but since Duolingo is a computer program it often has the audio for the wrong reading when you click on it.
There's no hard rule to know when to read a character as a certian reading but something that I've noticed is that when a word is alone it is a usually a Kunyomi reading (木 - ki) but when in a compound word it's usually read as an Onyomi reading (木曜日 - 木 is read moku) but for the most part you will just learn by seeing the word over and over and learning the reading for it that way.