"学生ですか?"

Translation:Are you a student?

June 7, 2017

58 Comments


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

So "Ka" at the end of the sentence means a question

June 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TylerSmith619678

Yes

June 7, 2017

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

Does this apply to any sentence that says something? For example "you're cooking" (in japanese though) would become "are you cooking?" after adding a "ka"?

June 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Douglas649027

Also in Chinese adding 吗 or ma make any sentence a question。

November 13, 2017

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

To my knowledge yes! I think the use of particles is a pretty cool thing in japanese because, for the most part, its pretty easy to pop together a sentence.

June 13, 2017

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

Most of the time, yes!*

Most basic sentences work the way Oleee described, but you have to be careful with negative sentences because adding か can turn them into an invitational phrase, instead negative questions. For example:

・アメリカに行きません (amerika ni ikimasen) = "You will not go to America"

・アメリカに行きませんか (amerika ni ikimasen ka) = "Won't you go to America (with me)?"

July 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew-Lin

And actually some textbooks tell you that since "か" can indicate a question, you don't need the question mark "?" after the sentence. I may tell you that this is true for formal contexts, but due to the influence of Western languages, question marks are quite common in daily life, so don't be surprise if you find question marks in anime or manga.

October 18, 2017

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

There is no plural form in japanese. Gakusei can mean student or students depending on context.

June 9, 2017

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

I've seen words like わたし become わたしたち to create plurals, but I'm no expert.

June 28, 2017

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

It's not strictly speaking a plural form. It's more like a way to stress the number and is used very sparingly. I would not suggest mapping English grammar to Japanese grammar in this case. Try to learn when to and when not to use through learning.

June 28, 2017

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

わたしたち means 'we' or 'us'

July 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J___1

You can add たちto indicate groups of people ie 僕たち

October 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/richard.sa211753

my group?

Boku tachi

April 4, 2018

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

I thought there was. Things like あなた becoming あなちち?

June 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew-Lin

あなたたち. Basically Japanese only use plural forms for pronouns, indicators (これら-these), or some animals (鳥たち - flock of birds, but not necessary).

October 18, 2017

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

For everyone getting confused about plurals, Japanese does have plural pronouns. General nouns do not have plurals because counters (such as 個, 枚, 匹) or other qualifiers (such as たくさん = "many") are used instead.

1st person pronouns 私(わたし)= I, me 私達(わたしたち)= we

2nd person pronouns あなた = you (sing.) あなたたち = you (plur.)

3rd person pronouns 彼(かれ)= he, him 彼ら(かれら)= they, them 彼女(かのじょ)= she, her

July 14, 2017

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

Somewhat interesting side note: -たち is a suffix that adds to any noun referring to a person to "pluralize" it, e.g. 彼女たち = "the girls", イギリス人たち = "the (specific group of) British people", 田中たち = "the group of people with Tanaka", and even 学生たち = "the students".

Even more interestingly, as far as I understand 「学生たちですか」removes all ambiguity about the subject, even though it is omitted, and can only translate to "Are they students?" That is to say, you can't collectively ask a group of people "Are you students?" using 「学生たちですか」

July 14, 2017

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

Isn't かのじょ used for girlfriend as well? The kanji writing is different from 彼女?

August 21, 2018

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

Thank you for pointing this out! I looked it up on wiktionary, and apparently, you ar right! The kanji is the same. When used as a noun, it means "a girlfriend" (litt. "a she", which sounds a bit strange to me).

July 31, 2019

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

How come "gakusei desuka?" means "are you students?" Instead of "are you student?". How to identify plural noun and singular noun in this sentence when we translate it to english?

June 9, 2017

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

Plural is implied in Japanese, for the most part. It can mean either ,,Are you a student?'' or ,,Are you students?'' Either one is technically correct, given that there is no more context.

June 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Josh353849

So I missed it even though I was right

June 21, 2017

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

You missed the 'a' in your translation

June 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nazish647727

It corrected you to the closest thing to what you'd said... "are you students" and "are you a student" are both right, but "are you student" is incorrect grammar in English and so it counted as incorrect

June 23, 2017

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

It means both "are you a student?" and "are you students?", it can even mean "is he a student?". This is because the pronoun is implied by the context, as is the difference between singular and plural. In English, there are also some instances where the difference between singular and plural is implied by the context, as in "Are you happy?": when asked to one person, the sentence is singular; when asked to several people at the same time, the sentence is plural.

July 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dEKU-17

Would this also mean "am i a student?"

January 23, 2018

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

Yes, it can, in a different situation. It doesn't simultaneously meaning "are you a student" and "am I a student" though.

February 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/travelingw2

Where is he in the the question

June 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jake3.14

There is no subject, so it is determined purely by context. In this case we assume you're talking to someone, so the default subject becomes "you" (the other person)

June 22, 2017

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

Sorry, how is related the -sei in gakusei and sensei? Is it something about school?

June 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Edikan2

Sei has to do with the second kanji 生 which means "life" amongst other things. If you check a Japanese dictionary (say, jisho.org) it reveals the individual meanings of each kanji for gakusei and sensei

June 27, 2017

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

学生 も ですか? Is this correct for using also in the question?

January 18, 2018

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

Good try, but not quite. Your sentence would mean "Students too?"

Remember that the full sentence (of the exercise) is typically あなたは学生ですか? where は marks out that you are asking "you = student?" In order to maintain the same grammatical structure, you need to replace は with も, in other words あなたも学生ですか? This time, も does は's job and adds the "also" emphasis to the word that came before it, "you also = student?"

Note that this requires you to explicitly make reference to the subject, but it isn't considered rude to use あなた (unless you know the person's name, in which case you are expected to say "name-さん" to be polite). This is because the use of も is to emphasize the subject, and it's understood that you can't do that while leaving out the thing you want to emphasize.

February 1, 2018

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

What's the best way to explicit the subject?

June 15, 2017

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

If you mean to specify "you" or "me", it's done by putting "Anata wa", or "Watashi wa", respectively, in the beginning. Example: "Watashi wa aoi desu (I am blue)"

June 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jake3.14

Is therea way to explicitly express singular/plural?

June 22, 2017

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

Where is the student part? It just says i am

June 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jake3.14

学生 (がくせい) is the word for student(s)

June 22, 2017

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

The first 2 symbols (gaksei)

July 3, 2017

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

How come when you hover over the individual kanji character of 生, it says 'nama', but the pronunciation within student is acutally 'sei'?

November 11, 2017

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

Almost all kanji have multiple readings, usually two or more different pronunciations. A general rule of thumb is that the on'yomi (Chinese-derived reading) is used when the kanji is used in combination with other kanji, and the kun'yomi (Sino-Japanese derived reading) is used when the character is on its own or combined with hiragana.

I think it's just Duo's TTS program not being set up correctly to identify which reading is appropriate in this context. It treats each of the kanji separately, hence it gives you the kun'yomi reading for 生 when we actually need the on'yomi.

December 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hypatia112740

If "学生ですか? " means "Are you a student?", how would you say: "Am I a student?"

April 10, 2018

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

To say "am I a student", point at yourself first and say 学生ですか? (to really sell it like you're a native speaker, point to your nose instead of your chest ;)) But seriously, pointing at yourself provides enough context for the assumed subject to change to "I".

Another, potentially less natural, option would be to explicitly state the subject so that it doesn't need to be assumed: 私は学生ですか?

April 24, 2018

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

The only words the Japanese words said were 'student" and "is".

April 18, 2018

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

Yes, because the subject is provided by the context, as is the case in the vast majority of Japanese sentences.

May 6, 2018

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

Can you also use "o gakusei desuka?" because I heard that people use the character for "o" as "you"

April 27, 2018

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

It's not quite that simple. お is added to some words to indicate respect. Because Japanese people generally use respectful language when referring to others and humble language when referring to themselves, adding お often implies that the word refers to the other party (in most cases, "you").

Also, in theory, most words can take an honorific prefix (お- or ご-), but in practice, the large majority of words sound unnatural with honorific prefixes. There isn't any rhyme or reason for it that I know of; it's just a matter of what is/isn't commonly accepted.

May 28, 2018

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

Why does "gaku" and "nana" become completely different when used together?

May 15, 2019

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

I've already answered this question in an earlier comment:

Almost all kanji have multiple readings, usually two or more different pronunciations. A general rule of thumb is that the on'yomi (Chinese-derived reading) is used when the kanji is used in combination with other kanji, and the kun'yomi (Sino-Japanese derived reading) is used when the character is on its own or combined with hiragana.

I think it's just Duo's TTS program not being set up correctly to identify which reading is appropriate in this context. It treats each of the kanji separately, hence it gives you the kun'yomi reading for 生 (naMA) when we actually need the on'yomi (sei).

May 15, 2019

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

so i typed u and its wrong XD why u cant be you?

May 26, 2019

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

Duolingo wants you to use proper (or at least substantial) English so that it can teach you proper (or substantial) Japanese. "U" is both informal and (in many cases) seen as incorrect.

Sorry if I sound like a stick in the mud, but it's not going to kill you to type in two extra letters.

May 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rianna383003

It didnt say ate (instead of are) was a typo... stupid swype

May 27, 2019

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

Maybe i am rushing things here but ,how do i ask a question about myself? Like "Am i a student?"

June 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kittygirl848071

I was pressing student but it submitted and i got it wrong...

September 13, 2019

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

You didn't translate the full sentence. The full sentence is "Are you a student?"

September 14, 2019
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