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  5. "学生ですか?"


Translation:Are you a student?

June 7, 2017



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


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"?


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.


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)?"


@Devone966005 you can just say アメリカに行きません?with a questioning tone of voice, and in the right contexts, it will work. However, depending on the inflection at the end, it can also have the same connotation as アメリカに行きませんか?It's difficult to describe with just text, but if you say せん with a rising tone of voice (like this shape /), it sounds invitational. But if you say せん with a more modulated tone (like this shape ~, but also rising slightly), it sounds like you're asking for clarification.

Alternatively, to be less dependent on tone, you can use a grammatical structure like んです or のです. The sentence アメリカに行かないんですか?implores the listener for an explanation (=んですか) of the fact that the person is not going to America (=アメリカに行かない). Note that I've switched to the plain negative form instead of the polite form, because 行かない is no longer the main verb of the sentence. (This doesn't make the sentence impolite; it's a grammatical necessity, and the です provides the same politeness.)

Similarly, on the face of it, "you won't go to America?" seems like a yes/no question, but as a native English speaker, my interpretation of it is that the speaker is incredulous or surprised and is seeking an explanation; a simple yes/no question would have been phrased as a positive sentence.

Alternatively again, I have misinterpreted your punctuation and you want to know how to say the statement "you won't go to America". It's the same as "you will not go to America", i.e. アメリカに行きません.


Then how would you say " you won't go to america?"


What is the defirence between "kandji and hiragana " ?


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


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.


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


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


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.


わたしたち means 'we' or 'us'


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


my group?

Boku tachi


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


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).


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


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」


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


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).


Would this also mean "am i a student?"


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


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?


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.


So I missed it even though I was right


You missed the 'a' in your translation


only "a" can take off my answer ? some answers cannot be identified by regular way.


Articles for singular descriptive nouns like this are required in English. Dropping the article would indicate that is the proper name of the thing.

"I am a cat," means you are a small feline animal.

"I am Cat," means your name is Cat.


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


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.


Where is he in the the question


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)


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


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


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


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.


And how i would say "am i a student?"


As with the vast majority of Japanese, the context of a word/sentence is very important for conveying meaning. "Am I a student" and "Are you a student" can both be translated to 学生ですか in the right situation. This could be as simple as you putting your index finger on your nose (indicating that you are referring to yourself) while you ask the question.

Alternatively, you could make the topic explicit in your sentence by saying わたしは学生ですか.


Cant this mean "(Is/Are/Am) (he/she/you/I) a student?" depending on the context?

What is the specific sentence for each one?


given the lack of an explicit subject in the current sentence, yes, it can. the individual sentences would be:

彼は学生ですか?(kare wa gakusei desu ka)

彼女は学生ですか?(kanojyo wa gakusei desu ka, but i'm pretty sure there's another word for "she" that works better, because "かのじょ" also means "girlfriend")

私は学生ですか?(watashi wa gakusei desu ka, but there are other first-person pronouns you can substitute)

あなたは学生ですか?(anata wa gakusei desu ka, although it's highly recommended that you use the person's name instead)

hope this answers your question!


So, yes, thank you and have a lingot.

But I have a question on what you said, do you mean that when talking to someone you use their name to refer to them?

So if I'm talking to kirito, instead of using:

"あなたは学生ですか。" ,

I use: "キリトは学生ですか。" ?


Where is the student part? It just says i am


学生 (がくせい) is the word for student(s)


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


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.


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


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


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


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.


How would you differentiate the short form (Gakuse Desu Ka?) Between

"Am I a student" and "Are you a student?"

Same thing with the sentence "Gakuse Desu."

Couldnt that mean both "I am a student" or "You are a student"?


As with the vast majority of Japanese, the context of a word/sentence is very important for conveying meaning. "Am I a student" and "Are you a student" can both be translated to 学生ですか【がくせですか】in the right situation. This could be as simple as you putting your index finger on your nose (indicating that you are referring to yourself) while you ask the question.

Unfortunately, Duolingo doesn't provide any context for these exercises, so both answers should be acceptable. The same logic holds for the statement 学生です.


What does です (desu) mean? I saw かわいいです(kawaii desu) and I want to know what that means too. Thank you!


です is the copula; it functions similar to the verb "to be" in English and is used in making A=B sentences.
学生ですか "Are you a student?" - (implied 'You') = Student (?)
アメリカ人です "I am American" - (implied 'I') = American
これは猫です "This is a cat" - This = Cat
公演は静かです "The park is quiet" - Part = Quiet

かわいいです means "(I/you/she/he/it) = is cute" (though in this case かわいい 'cute' is an i-adjective (that acts like a verb) so in casual form です is not necessary to complete the sentence; it just makes it more polite here)  


The "か" particle remembered me the "吗" in chinese, it's like if you really pronounce a "?" After a question


Why is the Japanese wording backwards? When ever I hover over the wording it appears backwards to me. The language isn't complicated, only the organization and sentence form is confusing, too me at least.


English is a Subject-Verb-Object language, but Japanese is a Topic/Subject/Object-Verb language with the verb always going at the end of the sentence.
Generally the more important information is closer to the verb, with the contextual/additional information nearer the beginning of the sentence. Japanese uses particles to indicate the relationship a noun has to a verb so word order is less strict than in English, though there are still orders that sound more natural than others.

Here's basic guide to sentence structure: https://8020japanese.com/japanese-sentence-structure/


No singular and plural in Japanese only Counters, so actual translation will not be students


"No difference between singular and plural in Japanese, therefore it's always singular?" That's some strange logic there.

The correct conclusion to come to is that both singular and plural are acceptable translations, depending on the context.

Further, counters are only useful when counting (duh) or enumerating things. "They want to be teachers" and "I want to be a teacher" can both be said the same way, 先生になりたいです, in the right context.

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