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  5. "父と母の間で食べます。"


Translation:I eat between my father and mother.

June 8, 2017



間 here is pronounced あいだ in case anyone else was wondering.


Do you know why it's pronounced differently ?


Japan didn't have a writing system before the Chinese brought over their own, the character system called Hanzi. The Japanese had their spoken language and adopted the Chinese Hanzi that represented similar meaning(s) and concepts to their own languange. Kanji is the Japanese pronunciation of Hanzi characters. 間 pronunciation pretty much depends on where and what kanji it's used with.

時間 (Time/hour) = jikan

年間 year/during a period of one year - nenkan

人間 human being, man, person, character of a person -ningen

It's really no different than learning pronunciation of an English letter based on where it's placed next to other letters.. except English is bonkers and constantly inconsistent. bake, baked, take, took, boot, shake and shook (not taked and shaked.) Naked= nay-ked. small sample of the inconsistency. Any foreigner that is even slightly capable of understanding and talking with native speakers, even on basic things, deserves all the respect.


This did not actually answer the questions. You just explained how two or more kanji change pronunciation.


The Japanese didn't invent Kanji. They ADAPTED and used the Hanzi to represent meaning/words in their language. I repeat, they ADAPTED it. I will try to make an English equivalent of it. xD Oh jeez this will be bad.

A cord is a cord. A dog is a dog. Put the cord on a dog and go for a walk. What's the cord called now?.. A leash!

"Why not call it a dog cord? Why are you changing it to something else?"

Because "dog cord" is not the word or words used to describe what performs that function. Most people thought "leash" the moment it was put on the dog to walk. They knew without needing to have it spelled out.

Kanji is no different. You learn, you remember, you know the what they represent and the sounds that go with them. It just takes time and effort.


Yall professors be spitting out thesis. Poor newbies like us getting lost in the process more than ever with the extended explanations XD


Also replying to marti_MG

It's not as simple as "General rule: onyomi is most often used for a kanji reading without hiragana characters and kunyomi is used for a kanji reading with hiragana characters. ".

First of all, the hiragana part of a word that follows a kanji is called okurigana (送り仮名). The り in 送り仮名 itself is an example of 送り仮名.

Second of all, there is also something called ateji (当て字). Take for example, the common phrase ganbatte (頑張って). It means "good luck", "do your best", "work hard", "don't give up", etc. It's used as a word of encouragement. By the rule, this word would have been read as ganchotte (がんちょうって). But it's not. 頑 is being read as on'yomi as がん, and 張 is being read as は (ば in this case because of rendaku 連濁, but that is out of the scope of this explanation). This is called ateji. And ateji are not the only type of mixed pronunciation or exception.

There are also mixed readings named juubako-yomi 重箱読み and yutou-yomi 湯桶読み, named after the words juubako 重箱 and 湯桶 yutou which are examples of these types of readings. By the rule, 重箱 would be read kasanebako かさねばこ. But the correct way of reading this is on'yomi juu じゅう and kun'yomi hako はこ (again ばこ because of rendaku 連濁).

There are also gairaigo 外来語 readings of kanji. For example, reading 頁 as peiji ページ is actually quite common. Also 糎 is often read as senchimeiterou センチメートル. Same goes for 釦 as botan ボタン. 零 as zero ゼロ, 打 as daasu ダース.

Furthermore, there are very common nanori 名乗り readings for names. Nanori readings are neither kun'yomi or on'yomi, but they are native Japanese readings. In some names, an mix of all three nanori, kun'yomi, and on'yomi readings are employed.
本田桜井 Honda Sakurai.
Hon - on'yomi
da - kun'yomi
Sakura - kun'yomi
i - nanori
佐藤和真 Satou Kazuma
Sa - on'yomi
tou - on'yomi
Kazu - nanori
ma - kun'yomi

Even furthermore, it gets even more complicated with city names in the Sinosphere/Asia. Japanese citynames like toukyou 東京 and kyouto 京都, as well as the main islands honshuu 本州, kyuushuu 九州, shikoku 四国, and hokkaidou 北海道 are read with on'yomi readings, yet other cities like oosaka 大阪, aomori 青森, and hakone 箱根 are read with kun'yomi. Two-character portmanteus indicating something is of origin to two cities or places are also almost always read in very different ways from their original names. The oosaka 大阪 and koube 神戸 baseball team, the hanshin Tigers 阪神タイガース, get their name from 大 and 戸, yet it isn't read sakakou Tigers さかこうタイガース, but hanshin Tigers 阪神タイガース.

I understand that you've said that it's only a general rule, but the language is LITTERED with exceptions to the point that it may be dangerous to say generally. There are way, way, way more exceptions that what I've listed. It is not always possible for even a native speaker to know how to read a character without prior knowledge (this is especially true for names, both of people and places).


To Marti_MG (Couldn't reply directly to you)

I'm genuinely not very knowledgeable on all the things listed and defined. I only wanted to give simplified information to help since many that are still somewhat new to Japanese can be having a slight mental overload by this point in the lessons. (Personal experience included)

Your addition is also great for people that would like to know a bit more. Thanks for that.

P.S. It's "demon sorrows", a motto I've had since I was a teenager in regards to how I try to treat people in the world. It's shorthand. More detailed:

"All it takes is a single event in life to change an angel into a demon of sorrows."

Many turn into horrible people because of a bad life/environment or even a single trauma from which they weren't able to recover. Always try to be kind and be nice to people. Help when you can and be there for others. Your thoughtfulness and kindness, small gesture of respect and consideration, a smile, a joke to cheer them up, it could change the outlook of a person's entire day and save them when their mind is dark.

(Apologies for comment length)


Demons or Rows (i choose Rose...), i offer some odds and ends.

Your information is commendable (as are your efforts), yet I would suggest that

  1. the sign systems of Japanese and English (French, German, Hindi, Italian, Russian, etc) differ to the point of barring all such comparisons, as you nobly attempt in your posts.

  2. Sign = signifier and signified, which might better describe homonyms, and represent, perhaps, a viable alternative approach to explaining via comparison,

  3. the reference to username "demons or rows" is an example of homophones

  4. With heteronyms, even more viable for the present case, the same visual signifiers convey similar or completely different meanings, but an additional component in Japanese is the discordant or corresponding sound when paired with other Kanji (the original question above!).

  5. So there is an additional issue in the Japanese system of sounds and signs, which, again, may render such comparisons problematic.

  6. Heidegger says Language is the house of Being. He distinguishes between Zuhanden and Vorhanden, which may apply to the different signifiers "cord" and "leash" in English, whereas in Japanese the inquiry concerns the same signifier,

  7. again, similar to heteronyms, e.g., Japanese bow when greeting and an archer shoots arrows with a bow --

  8. however, the (seemingly arbitrary) change in pronunciation is not due to a (seemingly arbitrary) combination of words, as is indeed the case in question, i.e.

  9. Why is 間 here pronounced あいだ ?

  10. Nature or convention? Given the ADAPTED nature of kanji, one might say by convention along with Wittgenstein (and Strawson), in opposition to those agreeing with Plato's criticism of conventionalism in the dialogue Cratylus, where Plato considered if things were named by convention or by nature.

  11. if the Japanese spoken language preceded the ADAPTION and ADOPTION of what is now Kanji, then the answer to our question:

Why is 間 here pronounced あいだ ?

"can or cannot" be in the arbitrary juxtaposition of symbols and attribution of sound and meaning.

(12) Maybe this is best explained through the paradigm offered previously by Duolingo "tips".

(13) Kanji have two different readings – the onyomi and the kunyomi. The onyomi is closer to the original Chinese language and is mostly used for nouns.

(14) Kanji can have multiple onyomu or kunyomi readings, and sometimes they might only have onyomi or kunyomi readings.

(15) General rule: onyomi is most often used for a kanji reading without hiragana characters and kunyomi is used for a kanji reading with hiragana characters.

(16) Nouns often are written with kanji only, so that onyomi are often used. Verbs and adjectives usually are a combination of kanji and hiragana, so that most often kunyomi apply.

(17) The Japanese government selected 1945 kanji to be used for official publications. These so called “toyo kanji” which are also used for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) have around 4000 readings


thanks to Littlewhole's post on "exceptions", ateji, gairaigo, proper/city names, point 15 (of 17) was proven true, because the General Rule stated: "onyomi is most often used for a kanji reading without hiragana characters". (theoretically "most often" accounts for exceptions). Sincere thanks for proving the validity of 15/17. Please help with the other points !

[addendum items 1-11 are not addressed and the rest is quoted from DuoLingo TIPS and other online sources explaining the major elements of Japanese.


Oh my gosh God BLESS YOU this is SO helpful


It's pronounced differently because Duolinguo doesn't adequately handle Kanji.


As i began "Unit 3", i began to see that the variants in Duolingo (errors, glitches, etc.) are actually quite helpful in acquiring a "Japanese language mindset"

-- aside from the SOV syntax generally,

-- aside from "time notions" first, etc.

-- aside from "post-particles" and so on

-- aside from all this (and more),

the fumbling, jumbling and mumbling of limited Kanji Kaos chanji chaos, it actually helps to have the free-floating radicals and misreadings, because holding in one's mind the incorrect reading(s), whilst entering the correct reading (or getting it wrong and thereby learning!), it seems like the mind becomes acclimated to postulating variants, etc, etc...

[it also encourages book-learning and proper study, including www.weblio.jp and https://www.nihongo-pro.com/kanji-pal/list/grade/2 among other resources...

i find it helpful, beneficial and praiseworthy, in my thus far limited experience of DL


They slapped the kanji onto two different words. Tada

They have the two different pronunciations because those two existed and were then both given to the kanji. One might be the original chinese pronunciation it came with to japan, I dunno, probably


Despite being the least popular of the explanations, this one is closest to the mark.

They used the same kanji to represent different words.

It would be like if the UK adopted Chinese characters to write words and decided that they would use the character 日 to represent the words "sun" and "day".

Some future learner of English would then ask, "Why is 日 sometimes pronounced /sʌn/ and sometimes pronounced /deɪ/?"

The answer would be, "They are pronounced differently because they are completely different words. Our ancestors just decided to write both words with the same character."


@oliver i think this explanation is concise and more thorough for Duolingo course requirements:

(15) General rule: onyomi is most often used for a kanji reading without hiragana characters and kunyomi is used for a kanji reading with hiragana characters.

(16) Nouns often are written with kanji only, so that onyomi are often used. Verbs and adjectives usually are a combination of kanji and hiragana, so that most often kunyomi apply.

[NB: 'general rule' of 'most often', someone confused this basic Japanese course with somewhat obscure exceptions and advanced level categories]


Short answer is "because."

Longer answer: Multiple onyomi pronunciations of kanji exist because they follow the pronunciation of the Chinese during a particular period in Chinese history (i.e. different regional dialects pronouncing the same hanzi/kanji according to their own regional accent/dialect as different regional powers took control of the middle kingdom) and change because the Chinese changed pronunciation of that character and then the Japanese would import the new pronunciation without getting rid of the old one.


Your complaints with English have to do with irregular verb conjugations, which most European languages have. While English characters vary in pronunciation, i.e. c sometimes being a k or an s sound. This is just one sound. And they are a set list of sounds, with only a handful of exceptions. Kanji characters produce multiple syllables with little to no consistent pronunciation. You are not meant to be able to read a Kanji on its own and know how to pronounce it, each Kanji will have a unique function depending on the word. We can find connections, but they become the exception. Inconsistency is the rule.


Do you know why it's pronounced differently ?

Man, forget about all these pedantic explanations! Ggrrr. Just remember TWO things (after all, why make it needlessly frustrating?)

1. If there's only ONE kanji character, then use the Japanese pronunciation (called Kun-yomi). If there are TWO OR MORE kanjis, then use the Chinese pronunciation (called On-yomi).

Now, you might ask how can I know the difference between Japanese and Chinese pronunciations? It's simple, Chinese way of pronouncing a word is almost always one syllable per character. On the other hand, Japanese has two or more syllables per character. Let's take an example of 「人」. This is pronounced as "nin" in On-yomi (Chinese) and "hi-to" in Kun-yomi (Japanese).

2. If the kanji comes right before a verb or adjective, it's almost always pronounced in Kun-yomi.

Was that simple enough to understand or what? Let me know.


That works in most cases, but the issue here is that the TTS is pronouncing it as ま instead of あいだ and both of these are kun-yomi readings used when the kanji is by itself in different contexts.

あいだ is used to refer to a literal interval or space between things. It can also be used with time as "during, while"; an occurrence within a time frame.

The river flows between the two countries.

The electricity failed during the storm

ま is used for more figurative spaces, like an unspecific period of time, a pause/rest where nothing happens, and for partitioning space, like a floor plan. It is also the word used to refer to "negative space" in art.

The brothers were born twelve years apart.


So, are you saying that 間 is correct for the sentence above, or is あいだ correct? I'm terribly confused now!


Please choose to NOT be confused about pronunciation. MOD wrote (multiply):

"the TTS is pronouncing it as ま instead of あいだ"


internet Search?



  1. space (between); gap; interval; distance; stretch​ 彼(かれ)はメアリーとトムの間(あいだ)にすわ座(すわ)った。He was sitting between Mary and Tom.


I think the French rely more on reference books and resources, rather than 'one-stop shopping'... probably, i've experienced it, their educational system is not as streamlined as in more advanced civilizations ;)


あいだ is the pronunciation for the kanji 間 in this context.
Kanji have more than one reading and 間 can also be pronounced ま in the situations I've stated above. This is what the TTS chooses to use but it is incorrect for this specific sentence.


Thanks, your amswer is really helpful. All I want to know is what was really the right pronunciation.


Hey, much appreciate your clarification. I just wanted to make it easier for my fellow beginners to understand (as quickly as possible). Frankly, I feel some of the comments written here, although helpful as they may be, are needlessly too overcomplicated.


@MessSiya (*choosing to ignore the bad blood) Below is my inadvertently deleted post replying to yours, after I reviewed the forum, initially due to

Jenniferh09238 commented on 父と母の間で食べます。 I'm always going to call it a dog cord now.

hannaBanana replied to your "pedantic" post as a result of my "disappearing post". We both presumed, apparently, (hannaBanana will correct me if I am wrong - and excuse me, please, if necessary) that the tone and content of your post indicated a willingness to engage in a fruitful exchange. From your most recent, it seems this presumption was/is mistaken. So, here is mine. I 'started' it. (I am to blame):

moysheGrin commented on "父と母の間で食べます。"
@MesSiya In a nutshell, the referred to "overcomplication" can be resumed as follows: demonsorrows incorrectly compared kanji to alphabet languages and LittleWhole skirts the issue, while giving unnecessary exceptions to marti_MG's "General rule," even though LittleWhole states he agrees with it! it seems the un-complicated part is thinking about marti_MG's heteronyms in items 4. & 7. as distinct from demonsorrow's theory of combinations of Kanji. My (limited) understanding is based on marti_MG's refuting demonsorrow's idea that changing sounds/meaning attach to visually identical Kanji when combined, by pointing out that the heteronyms of alphabet-words do so without combinations. demonsorrows didn't even try: "I'm genuinely not very knowledgeable on all the things listed and defined. I only wanted to give simplified information..." marti_MG explains why the non-historical parts of his "simplified information" is wrong. peace


Thank you. Interesting. The information is useful for helping me to understand some of the nuances of the language.


reader's digest version of discussion below (+definitions, -philosophy):

@hannaBanana HETERONYMS are spelled identically but have different sounds and meanings, such as:

間 = あいだ
間 = ま


bow= /baʊ/ [shake hands or bow?]
bow= /bəʊ/ [shoot a bow and arrow]

hannaBanana, your examples are HOMOPHONES: words that sound the same, but aren't spelled the same:
神 = かみ
紙 =かみ
髪 =かみ


bow = /baʊ/
bough= /baʊ/

Based on this, the comparison Kanji vs English heteronyms would be the starting point.

I would most EASILY AGREE with LearnEmAll98 (post below) who wrote:
English characters vary in pronunciation ... are a set list of sounds, with only a handful of exceptions.
Kanji characters produce multiple syllables with little to no consistent pronunciation.

I would most easily DISAGREE with LittleWhole who listed obscure exceptions.

I would easily DISAGREE with demonsorrows' theory that Kanji can be understood by his analogy "cord+dog=leash", because, in this example (of what, exactly?), there are no changing phonemes (units of sound) attached to the same written word, such as:
間 = あいだ or ま


時間 = jikan
年間 = nenkan
人間 = ningen

With difficulty I would agree(?) with marti_MG, but that difficulty reflects my lack of knowledge and understanding of his references and explanations, but this might help:

marti_MG wrote about 間 = あいだ or ま where the same symbol is not a simple difference of pronouncing the same letters in English, like bow= /baʊ/ and bow= /bəʊ/, but rather pronouncing the identical Japanese sign in a completely different way. He wrote:
(4) [...] an additional component in Japanese is the discordant or corresponding sound when paired [or not! ] with other Kanji (the original question above!).

I think it is TRUE and can serve as a first step in understanding how/why marti_MG's (post below): (1) "the sign systems of Japanese and English ... differ to the point of barring all such comparisons"

@hannaBanana added: SUGGESTED PRECISION: Kanji is different, due to inclusion of logographic characters vs phonetic/syllabic writing system.


(demonsorrows vs marti_MG) 間 = あいだ or ま

demonsorrows: "It's really no different than learning pronunciation of an English letter based on where it's placed next to other letters"

marti_MG: (1) "the sign systems of Japanese and English ... differ to the point of barring all such comparisons"

Japanese Kanji [my example]: 神、紙、髪、紙、かみ=KAMI (god, paper, hair, bite) vs. English heteronym [marti_MG example]: (7) "Japanese bow when greeting and an archer shoots arrows with a bow" [+ on bow of ship; bough of tree; dog goes "bow-wow" (or ワンワン)]

QUESTION: still uncomparable, imHo, but is it Japanese kanji vs English hetero-nym or should be English homo-nym ???


Well, why are they pronouncing it as ま (ma) then?


Because ま is another reading of that kanji; but when read this way it has a different meaning. The automated audio isn't capable of guessing the context so it just picks one (and it picked wrong).


Yes, it picked the WRONG one. This MUST be corrected, please. There are several instances in DUOLINGO for Japanese with wrong pronunciations. This was confirmed to me by native Japanese.

Duolingo, please run a quality check with skilled native Japanese!


The audio that is pronouncing it incorrectly is the new google TTS recently added that is still in A/B testing, so bugs are to be expected for a while. The only way audio can be adjusted is if you report it properly to staff in a bug report. If bad audio goes unreported staff won't know there is a problem.


So, we can never be sure to get the correct pronounciation? How is one supposed to learn a language when you don't know how to pronounce it? This is very demotivating


Thank you for the explanation. I understand there is dependency between other programs. However, for me as a learner it is very annoying that I cannot trust 'my teacher'. I hope the errors will be corrected very soon.

Thank you also for the link to the 'bug report'. I have not seen that up to now, but reported just by clicking a button. I was surprised that Duolingo never requested a text on e.g. what I think is wrong.. But ok, there is a way.


Im confuse because he's reading it as an all sentence "父と母の"ま"で食べます". so is it really "あいだ"? I wouldn't be so confused if it was an isolated kanji reading, but in an all sentence it doesnt sound as a computer mistake


It is an audio mistake. Even though it is in a sentence, the kanji itself is still isolated between two hiragana and can take either reading when alone. Computers aren't able to look at the context of the full phrase and go "Oh it means a space between two things so あいだ reading is used, rather than a gap or pause where nothing happens that would use ま instead"


Can you clarify how it SHOULD BE pronounced?


ちちと ははの あいだで たべます
chichito hahano aidade tabemasu


Are you sure it isnt pronounced MA? Sometimes kanjis have several pronunciations...


In my audio,間 is pronounced 'ma'!?


I dont see the に particle in this senstence. Is there a reason why?


Because in this case, rather than travelling to some destination or just "being" in a specific location (in which cases you would use "ni"), you are doing something (eating) at a location, so the location serves as context for an action rather than the purpose of an action (so you use "de").


I think に is used to show where something is located, while で is used to show where an action takes place. Since 食べます is an action verb, で is used here ( 間で食べます).


Also, I think で is used to indicate "the means by which an action takes place" eg. I go to college by car 車で大学に行く


Does this sentence mean that the persons is sitting between their parents when they eat? Or that they are eating at a time between their parents? 


The person is sitting between their parents and eating.


In this case it means they are physically between their parents, but for example 何々の間... (naninani no aida...) can be used for both time and location.


This one I don't understand. Where does the inbetween show up?


の間で (のあいだで) means in between.


Noun と noun の間 means in between the two nouns. However, I would be careful of your understanding of で with verbs.

Location で verb means do the verb at the location. For example: 外で食べる (To eat outside.)

However, noun で verb can also mean to perform the verb by means of the noun. For example, 手で食べる (To eat with ones hands.)


Ah! I wasn't catching that "aidade" part, thank you!


Me too. Duolingo should really teach us the pronunciation in advance and not just let us guess it!


The problem is that kanji usually have multiple pronunciations, depending on the context. If it's a compound word consisting of several kanji, a so-called on'yomi (sound reading) is often used. If the word stands as one kanji on its own (possibly surrounded by kana) it's often kun'yomi (meaning reading). For example: You have the word China. It consists of 2 kanji, 中(middle, inside) and 国(country). Put them together and you'll get on'yomi readings: chuugoku, meaning 'china'. But if you want them on their own to get their seperate meanings, the readings change drastically: 中 on its own becomes 'naka' and 国 becomes 'kuni'. Often kanji have several on'yomi and kun'yomi readings. That's why it would be very tedious and not a lot of fun to many to remember all the readings before leaning the meanings. So it's actually not a bad idea to get used to a meaning of a kanji and get a feel of how it might be read depending on context before actually learning the readings.


As a mnemonic for this kanji I suggest Verdi's "Aida"...


父と母の間で食べます(chichi to haha no aida de tabe masu)


So am i the only one who hears 間で as "ma de" and not as "aida de". Or is my version of duolingo just broken.


It seemed a little strange even though my first unerstanding included "between", so I changed it to "with" because it sounded more natural. Marked wrong : (


I'm not an expert, but I think this sentence means physically between your parents. You can eat with them without actually being between them.


I don't know why but this sentence just does not make any sense to me. I guess I can't figure out when 間 is supposed to be a time period or between. Does anyone have any tips to tell the meanings apart?



(1) [x]と[y]の間= between [x] and [y], noting that で is not a required marker, as in this lesson's sentence (also see last example).

コピー機と壁 間の寸法は、450~1000mmが適当です。

(2a) [z] の間で= time period, where [z]= time descriptor and で is a variable, context-specific marker, noting further that ちょっとの間, しばらくの間 , 幾らかの時間 , 少しの間, etc. can all be found with or without markers,

(2b) [z]の間 [s], where [s]= state or condition of the subject, e.g., "busy" as found in previous Duolingo example sentence: ちょっとの間忙しいです。

Koichi & Co. at https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/chotto/ give an example of 間で where a time period is meant.

地元の町は、ちょっとの間でだいぶ変わりました。 My hometown has changed a great deal in a short amount of time.

Having stated the above, I would conclude that the first structure [x]と[y]の間 is a reliable indication that "between" is intended.

last example, where [x]と[y]の間 does not require the marker で :



or, a more complicated construction (for me), something like 「青いテーブルを購入した場合、椅子と壁の間に必要な寸法は20cm でなければなりません。」


(corrections are abundantly welcome and fervently requested)


how inconsiderate! (leaving out romaji)

コピー機と壁 間の寸法は、450~1000mmが適当です。 Kopī-ki to kabe-kan no sunpō wa, 450 ~ 1000 mm ga tekitōdesu.

ちょっとの間, しばらくの間 , 幾らかの時間 , 少しの間, etc. Chotto no aido, shibarakunoaida, ikuraka no jikan, sukoshinoaida, etc.

地元の町は、ちょっとの間でだいぶ変わりました。 Jimoto no machi wa, chotto no aida de daibu kawarimashita.

私のインテリアデコレーターは昨日何かを言いました。 Watashi no interiadekorētā wa kinō nanika o iimashita.

「青いテーブルを購入した場合、椅子と壁の間に必要な寸法は20cmです。」[Aoi tēburu o kōnyū shita baai, isu to kabe no aida ni hitsuyōna sunpō wa 20 cm desu.]

「青いテーブルを購入した場合、椅子と壁の間に必要な寸法は20cm でなければなりません。」[Aoi tēburu o kōnyū shita baai, isu to kabe no aida ni hitsuyōna sunpō wa 20 cm denakereba narimasen.]

[はい、椅子と壁の間の距離は20cmです」と答えました。[Hai, isu to kabe no aida no kyori wa 20 cm desu] to kotaemashita.


Thank you for taking the time to explain! I can't read all of these kanji yet, but I understood the difference in sentence structure. So, with an arrangement like this [x]と[y]の間, 間 can never be a time period?


間 is also for span of time, as specific: Koichi & Co. at https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/chotto/ give an example of 間で where a time period is meant.

地元の町は、ちょっとの間でだいぶ変わりました。 My hometown has changed a great deal in a short amount of time.


Why is is 間pronounced as ま in this case and not あいだ? I have tried the sentence on different text to speech pages on the net. Google translate says ま but many others says あいだ.


It should be あいだ here. Unfortunately automated systems are still imperfect at considering a word in their entire context. Google translate is also just notoriously bad at it.
The older voices on Duo pronounce it correctly, but the new voices will still need some fixing (especially since the new TTS is from google and the old TTS is from amazon so its differences and incorrect pronunciations are less predictable than in the past updates)

間・あいだ・means a gap or interval with a definitive starting and end point and can be thought of as "between". "Between my mother and father" "Between 8:00 and 10:00"

間・ま・is used for a span where the start and end is more flexible and can be thought of as "space". This can be used when talking about the floorplan of a room, or about a period of time. "There is a 12 year gap between the events" (there is a space that exists that is 12 years long but the start and end of that space is not mentioned),
It is also common in compound words and set expressions. 間に合う ma ni au - to be in time for (meet in the interval), 昼間 hiruma - daytime (noon/day + span)



[銀行]と[ホテル]の間で[昼食を食べます] [Ginkō] to [hoteru] no aida de [chūshoku o tabemasu] (maybe better 昼食をとります "having lunch")

Hungarian syntax same (no particles/markers):

[A bank] és [a szálloda] között [ebédelek].

[The bank] and [the hotel] between ["I am lunching" --ek is 1st person singular verb ending)

"I am having lunch between the bank and the hotel."


Elsewhere, in time-related sentences, it was said that <something> の間 meant 'time gap'. Does that mean that this sentence is referring to a gap in time as well (i.e., 'my father eats first, then me, then my mom'), or can this の間 construct refer to a gap in space, too?


dictionary link

If you look at that, the kanji 間 means a gap or interval. Like in English, it's a concept you can apply to different kinds of things - time, space, relationships (in the sense of between, anyway)

So in this sentence, you have "father and mother's between" - the space between the two people, right? That's where you're eating. I'm not sure if it could imply "eating between Dad's mealtime and Mum's mealtime" if there's already some context (you're talking about when people eat), but with just this sentence alone it pretty much just reads "person A and person B, between them"

(remember の is the possessive particle for something belonging to or connected with another thing. So Xの間 means "the gap/interval etc of X" in a general sense)


Luckily i learned this kanji from the song nandemonaiya (radwimps) "futari no aida" between the two of us.


(for a quiet moment) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS5HWRUQPfU

Futari no aida

Toori sugita kaze wa

Doko kara sabishisa o hakonde kita no

Naitari shita sono ato no sora wa

Yake ni suki-tootte itari shitanda

[all lyrics in comments of Lucas Bertoldo]

if wanting to "Learn Japanese through the Lyrics of Zen-zen-zense (Your Name song)" [with kanji, etc.] (with Misa)


bonus: Learn Japanese through "Your Name (Kimi no Na wa)" + unboxing (with Misa) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMLQVmALv0E&t=240s


I don't really get what implies the presence of "I" in this sentence.


Generally, if no other subject or topic is presented than the assumption is 'I' in Japanese. If its a question, then it is genrally assumed to be 'you'.


I don't really get it. Is の a possessive particle?


It is, your right. It's saying that "between" belongs to "farther and mother". It is implied that you are talking about yourself. So "Farther and mother's between (I) eat."


Boy do i hate how the kanji fot "between" prompts a different pronunciation than the one used in the sentence. Really helps in lessons with topicsnot encountered yet.


聞く『きく』 : to listen ー 間 『 ま 、あいだ』 : space


The audio is wrong here, 間 should be pronounced as あいだ. Unlike in 居間, where it is pronounced as ま. Disapppointed at this kind of mistakes that Duolingo makes, it confuses new learners.


The TTS is auto-generated and terrible at guessing context; and the recent switch from Amazon to Google TTS systems means while some old audio problems were fixed it created an entire batch of new ones.
You can report it


"parents" wasn't accepted


It wouldn't be because it says father and mother. If it was parents it would use ryoushin.


How do you pronounce "between"? 間


I put "I am eating between my parents" and got rejected with the correction of "mum and dad" over "my parents". I thought I remembered putting in "my parents" before and it worked. Either way, would this be an accurate translation, or are you not allowed to make the jump from father and mother to parents?


The word for parents is 両親 (りょうしん). This sentence specifically says 父 と はは - mum and dad so mum and dad is the correct translation. I think it is odd that Duo may have allowed parents as a correct translation previously.


what's the purpose of の in the sentence?


の for Possession. In English we give direction possession and without possession.

"To my right. To your left." = possession.

" To the left of the building." "I sat between mom and dad= no possession.

In Japanese, the area around an object(s) is possessed by it/them. My left = 私の左

Above the desk? 机の上 (tsukue no ue)." to the left of the desk? 机の左 (tsukue no hidari). To the right of the desk? 机の右 (tsukue no migi). Below/under the desk? 机の下 (tsukue no shita). The 間 Kanji is "aida" in this case for "between, in between, a few other meanings/uses", the space between that belongs to the two things/objects.

父と母の間 = literal: dad and mom's space/in between. Their space in between them

で = particle to mark 父と母の間 as the location where the action takes place.

食べます = eat/will eat

You get used to it over time. I Only made this long in case others had thoughts on direction and such. Sorry.)


Think of it like this. 父と母の間 - my father and mother's middle/ in between で食べます - (I) eat. 父と母の間 で食べます - my father and mother's in between I eat. (I eat between my father and mother)


Uh, how do you possess a direction? I legiy thought this read my father and mother are between eating like in the middle of eating.


Chichi to haha noaida de tabemasu ちち と はは のあいだ で たべます


How do you know It's 'I am eating' instead of 'my father and mother are eating'? Is it just because of context (the sentence wouldnt make sense otherwise)


It is strange, I don't understand the meaning of this sentence


父 - father
と - and (addition particle)
母 - mother
父と母 (father and mother)

の - noun linking/possession particle
間 - interval/space/gap
父と母の間 - The space of father and mother (the space between them)

で - means particle (marks the location of an action, "at")
父と母の間で - (In the space between father and mother I -verb-)
食べ ます - Eat

父と母の間で食べます - I eat between my father and mother


Think of it like this. 父と母の間 - my father and mother's middle/ in between で食べます - (I) eat. 父と母の間 で食べます - my father and mother's in between I eat. (I eat between my father and mother)


In the audio it sounds like 間 is being pronounced as ま instead of あいだ, is anyone else hearing this? I assume it's a bug?


Am I crazy or does the female voice sound like it's saying まで instead of 間で?That's wrong right? It's really throwing me off.


I had this as well --- I reported it.


間 can be read as both あいだ and ま, though in this case あいだ would be the correct reading to use.
Unfortunately the TTS isn't good at knowing context of a word and picked the wrong one and the new voices read differently than the original ones. You can report them when you see it so hopefully the staff will be able to make adjustments.

あいだ has a nuance of "between" where there is a beginning and end point (Between 1999 and 2001/between mother and father - has a definite start and stop), ま is more like "gap, space, pause" and is used for a time/space with undefined points. (There was a 12 year gap between events - an indefinite point, also used when talking about floor plans)


Not only is it pronounced wrong, but they also accepted "父と母のまで食べます".


Why does he keep saying chichi to haha no MADE tabemasu??


On jisho.org we can find the pronunciation of these kanji. 間 usually is あいだ if in the beginning of a word, but it becomes ま at the end. Here duolingo misuse it as if it were at the end of a word.

Obviously it is very general and vague, based only on a statistical analysis but that's my opinion




Would に be acceptable here?


2 years and still not corrected? ”まで” instead of ’’あいだ’’...


2 years of it being corrected, then having new audio added and being corrected again, and then having new audio added that needs to be corrected again. The audio on this discussion page which still uses the old voice still says it correctly.


Why am i hearing two different audios? The one in the question sounds like it's saying "no ma de" instead of "no ah ii da de" when i click on the discussion section??


The kanji for "between" was pronounced "ma", but earlier it was "aïda", though in both cases it meant "between". Is it a mistake ?


I didn't know the kanji. So i tapped it and found the word 'among' listed. So, i thought it was the suitable meaning for the sentence so i wrote in

"i eat among my father and mother"

But it was wrong


Yeah, this a sentence that's gonna be super useful. I've never needed to say this even in English.


O Rob/WYKYDTR0N! 父と母の間で食べます now you know the meaning and 2 readings of 間 plus how to use AとBの間で, maybe you will "need to say" an alternate version when you are (verb)ing between A and B.

Can you give an example substituting your own relevant vocabulary?

Did you catch the 2 readings: あいだ orま ?


I typed in 父と母のまで食べます because the voice pronounces 間 as ま instead of あいだ and it got accepted. Looking at the answers here it shouldn't have been. Should I report this? Can we get this fixed?


That English doesn't even make sense to me, how was I to know what the translation was?


no need for English : 父と母の間で食べます。

[Noun A] と [Noun B] の [place, position, location] で [verb]

父と母 の= [noun A] and [noun B] + の = my father and mother

between = 間 +で

I eat = I [verb] = 食べます。

You only need Japanese grammar and vocabularies. Without prior knowledge, you must learn it. Systematic check with Kanji websites for depth in knowledge.

頑張ってください :)

I hope you learned it.


@hannaBanana "no need for English" ??? surely, you exaggerate !

but good point made: "Without prior knowledge, you must learn it. Systematic check with Kanji websites for depth in knowledge."

For proper on/kun-Yomi, etc. i recommend for building vocabulary with "Kanji Kombos" , for ex., https://www.nihongo-pro.com/kanji-pal/kanji/%E9%96%93 WITH KANJI STROKE ORDER GIF !!

[i find Jisho rather limited]


Congrats, you were able to get past the giant thread at the top, to find me here, sad and lonely at the bottom.

(Ps: plz downvote I want this to be at the very bottom...)


many "Sort by newest"... so as i am fond of this request format I will ask you to just delete your futility exercise.


Whta does the 'で' (de) mean in this sentence?

Please help:'(


What does the 'で' (de) mean in this sentence?

Please help:'(


I hear "のまで" instead of "のあいだ". Am I hearing it wrong or is the audio wrong?


Now it says "ma"... I swear it was "aida" not so long ago! :facepalm:


Written as yet to eat


My girlfriend who is Japanese says the audio is incorrect on this question.


*many gai-jin students here have been agreeing for years (to no avail)


「父と母の間で寝ます。」 Does this mean, "I sleep between my dad and mum."


They speak so slow in english lessons, but in japanase everybody is in such a hurry...


Why 'de' instead of 'ni'?


で particle used here to mark the location where the action (eat) is taking place.

Between my father and mother <-で (location) I eat.

Hope that helps. Good luck.


OK. Thanks. When would 'ni' be used?


That has a bit more to it since it can be used for quite a few things. Not being fluent in any sense of the word, I'll just give a link to a page that can help so I don't have to write a novella on my phone =P



The sentence before this was something like "ちょっとの間忙しいです” or "I'm busy for a little while." So I thought this sentence might be "Dad and Mom are eating for a little while." Why is that wrong? And how can I tell when "間" means "between" vs when it means "while" ?


間 means "gap, space, span" and is used for both literal and figurative gaps.
ちょっとの間 would be "a small gap". You are busy for a small span (of time)
父と母の間で - "gap" is connected to "dad and mom" and の, "the gap of my dad and mom", which is then marked as the location of action with で, "in the gap of my dad and mom" or more naturally in English "between my dad and mom"


I answer "I eat between daddy and mommy" could it be consider correct or not ? Duolingo says no.


@fox851927 That is such a good question! It made me think of other possibilities and Duolingo accepted answers. Please, would you try the following list/link on Duolingo? Tell us your findings, please.




when do i have to use で or に


What's the role of で here?


「de」の役割は、基本を理解していない. コメントを読まない. 丁寧な質問をしない. そして日本語の学生であることを皆に示すものです。


In fact で is the particle of location of an action, which is here eating.

に would be an alternative of location of a status describing just a static location.




@hannaBanana While commending your efforts (and respecting others), may I suggest a correction?

毎日、私のに一番近い駅から, 渋谷駅まで電車に乗っています。


My post of 5 MONTHS (others' here are more & better! please respect their efforts and do effort to READ)


[Noun A] と [Noun B] の [place, position, location] で [verb]

父と母 の= [noun A] and [noun B] + の = my father and mother

between = 間 +で

I eat = I [verb] = 食べます。


This is so awkward to say


They should at least at a わたしは to specify that theirs talking about themselves


I love the obscure specificity of this sentence.


間 is pronounced as あいだ、あい and ま。These are its くんよみ readings. I am not sure where the respective readings are used. Maybe, we will only understand it with our experience learning the language. Also it's おんよみ readings are カン、ケン。


So is "between" pronounced "noaidate" or "nomade". Sorry, it's just that I can't understand the other comments


It's so confusing every time there's a question with mother and father. Most people including me are used to saying mother before father but duolingo does the opposite.


Whenever i see の i think it means possessive, like 母の本 would be mothers book, so i see this as mother and father's between, is where i eat. Probably doesn't always work but it helps me remember at the moment lol


It's written as Ma but sounded like Aida?


So made (the romaji says made) means aida? Is this an error by duo?


Why does it have the hiragana for "ma" above it if it's pronounced "a i da"? Is that an error or am I missing something?


@Rin THANKS! yours is the 1st post about DL's furigana mirroring the oft noted, well documented AUDIO ERROR, for more info on the on/kun-yomi readings, etc. I recommend https://www.nihongo-pro.com/kanji-pal/kanji/%E9%96%93 with kanji stroke order GIF !!


Is 隣 used for things and 間 is for person ??


ヒリュさん のメッサギ : Is 隣 used for things and 間 is for person ??

Duolingo Dictionary More-->Dictionary, which is on DL ribbon:

examples phrases from dico there:
My mother is next to me.

The restaurant next door is delicious.

The chair is next to the table.


more than just that, one should compare and study the various definitions and uses, using web resources like weblio, jisho, etc
隣 = (next to) https://jisho.org/search/%E9%9A%A3 and
間 = (between/interval or period of time) https://jisho.org/search/%E9%96%93%20


Why do we use 間 instead of 中 (naka)? This hasn't been addressed here


Because the only time you eat inside someone is inside your mother before you're born


My guess is that 間 means between, whilst 中 means inside.


I found this sentence is odd in both Japanese and English. I sit between my father and mother. is more suitable. or I sit between my father and mother. (父と母の間「に」すわります)because even for my Japanese ears, 父と母の間で食べます。is very unusual. i.e. 'It is eaten between my father and mother.' (iそれは/それを 父と母の間で食べます。) But I guess important thing is about learning 'between' 間.


does "i eat among my father and mother" sound too fancy? it was a second suggested translation of 間 (after 'between'), so i decided to try something new and got rejected


In English, we only really use "among" when there are more than two entities. You would only say, "I walk among you," if there is a fairly large group of you, for example.


This is a weird sentence lmao


why weird? where do you eat?

夕食(そして日曜日の昼食)には、いつも姉と母の間で 食べます。学校では(covidの前に)私はいつもに人の友達の間で食べます。


Responded correctly but Duo keep saying it's wrong. LoL


Without sharing what your answer was (exact copy-paste, screenshot) your fellow learners here have no way of helping you figure out why it is being marked incorrect.


Why are all the comments deleted...?


From the amount of comments I've been notified for that weren't here when I looked, people likely asking a question first before bothering to look at the comments that explained it numerous times.


"I eat between my father and mother" is not something I'd ever say in English. It sounds bizarre and not clear on when the eating will happen, or if it just means that you're about to sit down and eat.

A better translation could be "I will sit down to eat between my father and mother"


If anyone's confused about the pronunciation of 間:

間 can be pronounced as: "aida", "ai", "ma", "kan", "ken". They all mean interval or space or period.

If you write 間 alone, it's usually pronounced "aida" and usually just means gap or space.

If it's written with a "de" after it 間で, it's pronounced "ma" (full: "made"), and means between.

If it's written with the "time" kanji before it 時間, it's pronounced "kan" (full: jikan), and it means time or hour.

If it's written with the "human" kanji before it 人間, it's pronounced "ken" but with a softened "ke" (full: ningen), and it means mankind or humankind.


@BMGX4H please bring your sources, links, references, which may contain examples and explanations. thanks in advance. It would be very helpful.



"They all mean interval or space or period." = designation of place

our lesson = designation of object situated in that designation place

ALSO, our lesson "between" is 間 "aida" and this post saying:

"then "間で, it's pronounced "ma" (full: "made"), and means between."

@marti_MG were being "nice", instead of objecting to @BMGX4H's misleading post?


yes I was being nice and yes @BMGX4H is wrong all over the place. But it is amazing how confidently he/she displays that false knowledge.

but since we may all be wrong, always very possible, I ask to bring sources so we can see the light, or, BMGX4H will see the errors.

How's the English coming along ! haha (sometimes it's almost comprehensible !!


Why is "no" needed here. I find all these extra particles really annoying in duoling because when youre soeaking with natives a lot of the time theyre excluded because theyre obvious/implied


Knowing a language by the book/proper and everyday talk are both important. Everyday talk vs professional. Plus, people can't imply something they don't understand or know about. If you don't learn how the の particle and possession work and are used, you have no concept of where it should be if it were excluded.

(I'm a bit under the weather. If that came out more garbled than I think it did, I apologize.)


"My mother and father I eat between" got marked wrong, but I'm pretty sure it is not?


No - this doesn't work at all. What are your mother and father doing in this sentence? Whom are you eating between? The correct order is I eat between my mother and father. In this order we know whom you are eating between and mother and father are not seeming out of place and superfluous.


That's not correct word order in English. If duo is asking for an English answer you have to write the English with correct syntax and spelling etc.

In English we say: Y is between X and Z.


Why is 'I' necessary in the translation? It should be 僕は母と父の間に食べます or something in such case.


Japanese tends to drop words that are implied by context while English usually doesn't. The subject of a sentence is generally assumed to be "me" if not explicitly stated. Though I can imagine situations in English where "I am" might be dropped (posting a selfie on instagram captioned "eating between mum and dad") or situations in Japanese where the dropped subject is someone else (just been asked about a particular person etc.)


Stella - you have put the kanji for boku - this word for 'I' is only used by males.


I think it should be ni. Not de.


According to some other comments, is used to indicate either a location where something is/stays/stands or a destination, while is used to indicate where an action takes place.

When it is not referring to a place, で indicate the means by which something is done (for example, 手で食べる or "to eat with one's hands"). So, で is either "where something is done" or "by which means something is done".

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