"せなか"

Translation:back

June 7, 2017

96 Comments


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

Senaka is back as a body part.

せなか 背中


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

Why did you put those letters after Senaka?


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

背中 is the Kanji for せなか.


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

thank you, it's hard :(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/logan812545

i highly suggest you start learning kanji immediately. its a lot to memorize, but it makes it so much easier in the long run


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/keshavgold9841

Replying to Kate.Owen

Lorcan walsh, 中 by itself can mean middle. It can be pronounced なか and ちゅう. For example China is 中国 (pro.ちゅうごく) which literaly means middle country which makes sense if you think about where Japan is situated.

It probably means middle country because of its etymology, not because of Japan's relative position to China. China in Chinese (汉子 hànzi) is also 中国,but it's read zhōngguó (in pīnyīn) instead. 中 zhōng means middle and 国 guó means country/kingdom.

Unrelated: Japan is 日本 rìběn in Chinese; 日 means sun, 本 means origin. Pretty much the same as in Japanese.

Etymology is cool, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alys.Winter

Lorcan walsh, 中 by itself can mean middle. It can be pronounced なか and ちゅう. For example China is 中国 (pro.ちゅうごく) which literaly means middle country which makes sense if you think about where Japan is situated.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amanda.pagnozzi

No, 中国 is a loan word from China, they thought themselves to be in the middle of the world


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jake518538

you've prolly learnt the name Tanaka 田中, notice the kanji 中


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matthew139079

Its like ancient emojis. Funny how it actually means something and its not an Anglicism (外来語)


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

Okay so wait so senaka =せなか = 背中?

Whenever i type something on my Japanese keyboard is it showing other kanji for that word? Like when i type for example "やさい" it has "野菜" and "ヤサイ" Do those all mean vegetable?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/altti.antila

Well yes. 野菜 is the correct way of writing it. やさい is just it writen in hiragana and ヤサイ is the same writen in katakana


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

What does that latter kanji refer to?


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

背 is "height/stature" 中 is "middle/center"
The middle of your height is your back


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

@surajbelba1 (reply chain got too long so I can't reply directly to you)

Kanji can get pretty complicated and confusing at times
中 at least is pretty consistent with "middle/center" or "inside", two meanings that are also similar in nature with a kanji with an appearance easier to associate the meaning with.

Kanji can have many meanings (though fortunately they are often similar/related to each other). They also can have many pronunciations. You can figure out the pronunciation and the meaning based on the context it is used in.

For instance, 本. This one doesn't have very many pronunciations but it has a couple different meanings that don't feel related.
This kanji means "origin" (It looks like a tree with roots)
In the word for Japan 日本 you also have the kanji for "sun". Japan is "Ni-hon" (or Nippon) meaning "Sun origin"
本 "hon" by itself though actually means "book"
But combined with a number 二本 "ni-hon" it is a counter for long thin objects/cylinders.
ペンが二本あります - There are two pens - (pen) (subject) (Two long cylinders) (Exist)


One you will see very often with many meanings and readings is 生, This kanji relates to life, being alive, and birth (It is also one of the first few Duo introduces you to)
It can be pronounced "Nama" meaning "raw/uncooked", "Ki" for "Pure/undiluted"
or "Sei" meaning "life". This is used in words like 先生 sensei - teacher (before-life) and 学生 gakusei - student (learning-life)

But then when in a verb it can be
生きる - ikiru - to live
生ける - ikeru - to arrange (flowers), to plant
生まれる - umareru - to be born
生む - umu - to give birth
生る - naru - to bear fruit
生える - haeru - to grow
生じる - shoujiru - to produce

That's a lot of different sounds and meanings, but the context of the sentence and the hiragana attached to it let you know what the word is supposed to be


As for kanji with only one meaning and only one reading, there are very few of them. Most kanji have at least two readings (One native Japanese reading attached to it and one Sino-Japanese adopted reading). Some of them though don't have a native Japanese reading. These kanji with only one borrowed reading are mainly only used in compound words.
了 means "Finish/complete" and is always pronounced "Ryou"
But while this kanji has one meaning and one reading, it can be combined with other kanji to create new meanings
了解 ryoukai - consent/understanding - lit "complete-answer"
了承 ryoushou - acknowledgement - lit "complete-acquiesce"

(Also sorry for throwing a bunch of words at you, it looks like a big complicated wall but you don't need to learn every sound/meaning for a kanji all at once, just focus on the individual vocabulary words themselves as you're introduced to them and the similarities between them will just fall into place over time)


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

But what does kanji mean?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zephyr-chan

Kanji are just the big complex, for lack of a better word, kana. I don't know if the word "kanji" has a litteral English translation, if that's what you were wondering tho


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

Kanji is the writing system adapted from Chinese, 'Kanji' written in kanji, is 漢字
漢 kan - "Sino-, China"
字 ji - "Character"
They are the Chinese characters for the word 'Chinese characters' :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fatemeh663363

Are you a native Japanese?


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

In kanji. Is it one word or is it like sena ka.

Like hira is se na ka


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

It is one compound word, written with two kanji
背中・せなか
背 - 'se' height 中 - 'naka' center/middle


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

So how do you say day?

I want to say gym lingo like "it's back day today".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LukeLozier02

今日は背中の日です


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArtemisFow2

Sorry, my Japanese is rusty, but I'm confused by your statement; I read 「今日は背中の日です。」 as "Today, the day's back." as in the physical, anatomical back of a day.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArtemisFow2

Correction: "back's day". I'm sorry that unsure how to say gym terminology such as "Today's back day", but I doubt that that is how you say it.


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

Using the possessive clitic ‹'s› is probably not the most accurate way to translate の. A better translation would be "of", except that the syntax (word order) of the arguments pertaining to の are backwards to how they would be in English. For example, consider:「アーテミスの猫」. While it is true that "Artemis's cat" would be a natural way to translate this into English, the actual spirit of what's being said here in Japanese is closer to "the cat of Artemis". Likewise, 「背中の日」would be better thought of as "day of the back". When translating an 「XのY」 construction into English, you should translate it from right to left:

X←の←Y= Y of X

背中←の←日= day of the back

アーテミス←の←猫 = the cat of Artemis


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LukeLozier02

Probably 背中の日


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

So you just use it like that,you can't say for example she spoke behind my back using senaka?


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

The kanji means "Sen-aka"?


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

背 se - height 中 naka - center/middle


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elisabeth3210

I would really love it if duolingo also showed the right stroke order for the characters :p


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

There is an app called kanji study that has some hiragana, katakana, and kanji on it and it has stroke order as well. You should check it out :3


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

I always confuse せなか and さかな :/


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

さかな : fish


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PALewis88

Learn the kanji for those words and it will be easier to distinguish them.


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

Won't help much when hearing them spoken.


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

せなかにさかなをもっています。


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnimeKitten100

Whenever I hear this word, I think of Seneca Crane from the Hunger Games. I just imagine him turning his back on Snow! That is how I always remember this one.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nicola526448

I think of someone with a sore back saying 'send a car' because they can't walk.


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

Thank you haha ^^


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/trezapoioi1

Back as a body part? Or a position?


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

back as a position is うしろ


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

Thanks. This was what I questioned myself. Because when duolingo said 'back', i immediately think of ushiro, rather than senaka.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Josu-Kun

For curiosity, the top part of "せなか" (北) was a pictograph of two people back to each other, adding too the phonetic value (at least in Chinese), the bottom part (月) is a "meat" radical and means that is a body part. The second character (中) was a drawing of a flagpole with a drum on its middle part.

Kanji isn't cool?


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

背 means back 中 means center (at least in chinese)

I have no idea what you mean by the drum thing


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

He's talking about the etymology of the original pictogram; why the character looks the way it does and means what it means.
The character 中 believes to have originated from a picture of a flagpole with a drum attached that would be placed at the center of a field to gather people and detect wind direction. "In addition, the pronunciation of 中 (OC tuŋ, tuŋs) is reminiscent of the beating of a drum."
One of the images we have of this character from the Shang Dynasty supports this theory
Over time it became simplified to what we see it as today.


[deactivated user]

    How about writing it in Kanji first with Hiragana in parentheses afterwards? I find it confusing if it's just Hiragana.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gita-ji

    At this point in the Japanese course, we have not yet come to Kanji, only learning Hiragana characters.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/10G.University13

    後ろ (うしろ) [behind]


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

    せなか (send a car) i broke my back and need help


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

    it would be easier for me to remember the characters if i knew if there was a pattern, but it's hard to tell. does anybody know of a way that explains this better? (what i mean is, in korean for example there are consonants and vowels and you can put them together, just like n + o makes no. in japanese it seems more random)


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

    Korean Hangul is what's called a "featural alphabet". It's a wholly different beast from Japanese kana and its syllabaries. Being syllabaries, Japanese kana aren't even an alphabet, let alone a featural one. Though I suppose a featural syllabary COULD be a thing, but I can't name one. In a featural alphabet, the characters have "features" about them with a logical consistency that provides the reader/viewer with information about the sounds that they represent. Very few writing systems around the world actually do this, and none of the three writing systems used in Japanese are among them. There is no pattern; there is no system; there is no logical structuring behind the visual form of the characters that make up the kanas (hiragana and katakana). The only logic to be found behind the form of the kana characters is their etymology (their historical roots; where they come from), as exemplified in nxL3's comment, and this is not the sort of logic that will be of any help to the uninitiated. It's a very esoteric logic. You might as well forget it altogether and just treat it like there isn't any logic at all.


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

    I think there is no almost pattern at all. Yes, it seems more random. It's kinda like chinese(?), like.... just like that. I'm bad at explaining www


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nxL3
    • 1179

    Yes, there is no pattern at all. HIRAGANA and KATAKANA were produced from KANJI. あ is from 安 "an" , ア is from 阿 "a" , etc.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nxL3
    • 1179

    It is like you have BLOCK LETTERS and CURSIVE in English.


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

    Is she saying "shenaka?" I might be confused, because I thought that first syllable was "se," not "she."


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

    Excuse me.(´・_・`)

    I wrote "se na ka" as an explanation of hiragana "せなか". It does not indicate correct pronunciation of a person of English native speaker.

    I think 'せ' of 'せなか' is similar to 'Seneca'. I would like to hear your thoughts on "Seneca".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/meanders-us

    As a native English speaker, "se na ka" is what I hear. I do understand how a person might hear "she", as there is a little slurring of the "s" into the "e" sound (sounds like a long 'a' in English).

    My personal struggle with this word is it sounds very close to Seneca, a producer of apple juice from my childhood. My first instinct is to translate the word to "juice", haha.


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

    A juice producer? Holy heavens, it's really funny thinking that the name of an important author of the past could be used like this XD poor Seneca XD


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

    I despair of this generation. The name of the great thinker Seneca reminds you of the Hunger Games or brands of supermarket products.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/meanders-us

    Let me help you down from your high-horse.

    Word association is an old memorization technique. It's just as old a marketing technique for the same reason.

    I have strong association with the juice brand because my family was poor growing up and juice was an uncommon treat. Seneca juice 1) tasted great and 2) it came in a glass bottle that we could re-use for all sorts of things.

    So what if another user thinks of Hunger Games? I don't consider it especially great literature but that's my personal opinion; at least s/he read a book.

    We are not the superficial people in this conversation.


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

    @meanders-us

    I had to written thank you. I didn't know about your memory of Seneca juice. ( ; ; )


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

    I know a good amount of Seneca's work but still had to look up who he was.

    For me I grew up in the Seneca region of NY named after the Seneca tribe of Iroquois, and where the apple juice brand's name is from.

    But yeah you have fun insulting people for recognizing names they've grown up with associated with something other than your personal favorite. Let people find mnemonics that work for them.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robin539971

    I believe it's "senaka" because せ Is pronounced "Se" not "she"


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

    I remember this because it sounds like "cynical" and old people are always cynical when talking about their back (pain)


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

    Seneca's letters on living can be seen as a kind of pat on the BACK to his friend.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ruthai0202

    背中 แปลว่า​ หลัง​(ร่างกาย)​ back แปลว่า​ กลับ


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shiv79568

    I could say think of it like a soldier.. in hindi translation, senaka means soldier, and a soldier will always have your back!!


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

    For those who speak italian: senaka is really similar to "schiena" which is the Italian word for "back" aswell


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

    Im still getting confused about how many words there are to remember and I'm starting to think this app is for writing and not learning how to say it.


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

    These hiragana sections are for teaching the syllables found in the language. These are all the sounds that you will use when speaking. If you know what sound the syllables make, aside from the occasional pitch accent, you'll know exactly how a word is pronounced.
    The sounds very rarely ever stray from their standard pronunciation, unlike in English where one letter can have a whole array of sounds depending on context. (There are roughly 100 syllables in Japanese compared to English which has about 15,831 unique sounds).
    It introduces you to some simple vocab words that use the specific kana in each lesson to help you practice using those syllables.
    As for how many words; the goal is to teach you an entire language after all.

    This app is mostly reading/writing and some listening as it is a quiz-based program. If you want to focus purely on speaking it would be better to find someone in person or in a program online you can chat with who can hear you and correct you as needed.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/blon251944

    If you know what you are writing you will know how to say it, because japanese is read as it is written.


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

    This section is literally called "Hiragana". Complaining that it's focusing on hiragana while you're in a section called "Hiragana" would be like taking an English course and complaining that it's focusing too much on the pronunciation of letters while in a section called "Alphabet".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mirados8

    How do you say せなか as a position


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

    It's this one うしろ (ushiro)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Munkhbayar136171

    Isn't backside the same thing? I mean the kanji consists of back and inside


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

    'backside' is more like the entire backside of someone/something from head to toe. The opposite of their front. This 'back' is for the part of the body on the torso, between the neck and the butt. The opposite of chest. The kanji can also be interpreted as "height/stature" and "center/middle", with the middle of a person's height being their torso/back


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chad945043

    Can this mean back as in "back there" or "going back" as well?


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

    No, this is specifically the body part
    In kanji it is written 背中
    背 - Height 中 - Center/middle
    The center of your height is your back
    背 itself using the "meat" radical ⺼and a depiction of two people standing back-to-back 北

    The positional word "back/behind" would be 後ろ「うしろ」
    後ろにあります "It is behind (me/you/it/that/)"

    "Going back" as in "return" could be a few things depending on the context
    帰る「かえる」is the verb "to return/to go back (to an origin/home)
    戻る 「もどる」is the verb "to return (to the previous place)"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robin130962

    Should I trust Google translate


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

    No.
    Especially if you are not using the specific kanji for a word and if you are using a full sentence. Google Translate gives you what it thinks is the single "best" answer for what you want, which is often wrong and borderline nonsensical. It isn't capable of distinguishing between homophones, formality level or context. You should use a proper dictionary like Jisho.org that will give you all of the possible translations for a word (with context) as well as indications what what function each word serves in a sentence.
    For example, typing せなか in on GT provides you with the translation "Sena"...which doesn't make any sense.
    Meanwhile a dictionary provides you with a proper translation, multiple translation options, and information about the word's meaning and use https://jisho.org/search/%E3%81%9B%E3%81%AA%E3%81%8B

    Abroad in Japan recently made a video about why GT fails at Japanese if you'd like some examples https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J4id5jnEo8


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

    Yeah, no. lol. Google Translate is good with some languages, but awful with others. Japanese is one of the languages with which it is awful. Like... really... it's terrible... If you want to translate, like, Spanish or German or something, it's pretty good! But Japanese? Pffff. Forget it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/e8w

    What's senaka


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

    As stated at the top of this discussion page and the question that directed you to this page, せなか 'senaka' means "back"


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

    Why are they asking these questions that weren't on the stuff I learned? Nothing so far has said winter or what British is or whatever, so I'm just guessing.


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

    You can hover over/tap on any word in a question to see a translation hint. When words are introduced for the first time they are often highlighted to encourage you to do so.
    You can also look at the options in the word bank. Most of them will be familiar to you from past questions/lessons so you can rule those out.
    If you get the answer incorrect the correct answer will be provided to you and the question will be repeated at the end of the lesson, and continue to be repeated until you are able to answer correctly.
    This is Duo's primary teaching method.


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

    No I mean, the app came up to ask me to do a "progress quiz" and I assumed it was based on "progress of the lessons you've done so far" and most of them weren't, instead asking questions like, how to say "I am british" in japanese when no characters like that have been presented by that time.


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

    The progress quiz is a plus feature that measures your 'progress' in knowing all of the material in the course. This is more beneficial to those who come in with some prior knowledge or who are further in the course who wish to measure how their knowledge compares to what Duo offers. The further you are in the course the better you can expect to do on the progress quiz.

    If you wish to only practice skills you have previously completed you can use the general practice feature (dumbbell icon) on the main page.


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

    Hey guys, umm. Why is this one post still even seen by people? Lol, anyway thank you for conversing o guess.


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

    This is the sentence discussion page for the word "せなか, back" in the Japanese course that is directly linked to this word in the lessons. New posts will be made here as long as this word is still taught in the course.
    If you previously posted on this page asking a question you will be automatically following this page, meaning you will receive notifications if anyone else posts here. You can unfollow the post using the "Following Discussion" button at the top of the page.

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