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  5. "I am Chinese."

"I am Chinese."


June 8, 2017



Why Duo Lingo translates ちゅう (chū) with 中 and also なか (naka) with 中. How do you do differences with those two kanjis ?


I'm sure you've had your question answered already since it's been 5 months. But to any future readers who are picking up the language, kanji are Chinese characters that often have both on'yomi (Chinese "imported" readings, modified to fit Japanese sounds) and kun'yomi (native Japanese readings). For 中, the imported Chinese reading (on'yomi) is ちゅう and the native Japanese reading (kun'yomi) is なか.

There are specific grammar rules for when to use which reading, with many exceptions. In order to keep things simple, there are a few basic rules of thumb follow to help you guess the reading. When you see a kanji by itself or attached to hiragana to form a word, the native Japanese reading (kun'yomi) will be used. Kanji that are paired with other kanji in the same word (jukugo word) often use the imported Chinese reading (on'yomi). There are certain exceptions such as counting numbers (which use on'yomi), and body parts (which use kun'yomi), etc. You'll learn them as you study kanji in more detail. I suggest trying out WaniKani to learn different kanji and their readings in much more detail.

Interestingly enough, Duolingo seems to have a consistency error with the 中 kanji in specific because you always see the ちゅう reading with the なか sound played. Do report this as the wrong sound being played if you come across it.


Many basic kanji have multiple pronunciations. The context is what determines the pronunciation you use and what meaning you're trying to convey. 中 as なか means middle


The same Kanji has multiple readings. When it occurs by itself, it usually takes the native Japanese reading. In compounds, it usually takes a (Nihonised) Chinese reading. Here, naka is the Japanese (kun) reading, while chuu is the Chinese (on) reading. Note that Kanji sometimes have more readings, but you can usually isolate two readings used in most occurrences of the character as above.


When do you use ji thing in between? When you say I am John it's written without and I am Chinese you include it. Can you use it when saying I am John or is that wrong?


I believe 人 (jin) means person. So you are really saying "China PERSON I am" or "I am a Chinese person."


So why "I am Japanese" without (jin) but " I am Chinese" with (jin) I don't understandt it.

  • "I am Japanese" = 日本です。
  • "I am Chinese" = 中国です。

Both of them use 人, but you might be thinking of the sentence 日本しゅっしんです。which means a different thing. 出身【しゅっしん】means "a person's origin", so this sentence means "I am from Japan". (Being "from Japan" is not the same as being "Japanese")


If it helps, there is technically an omitted の in 中国人 (中国の人) that implies 中国 is an adjective, and 人 is the noun being described. You wouldn't say "John person," but you would say "Chinese person."


Would the first be pronounced ちゅうごくじん and the secondちゅうごくのひと?


Yes, I believe that's correct.


Why is there no use of saying です after saying "I am Chinese" but after America for example you do have to?


"desu" is a copula used in polite speaking. It means "to be" and note that verbs in Japanese are put at the end of the sentence. In Japanese, you can drop the subject if it's clear what the subject is. So here "Watashi wa chuugokujin desu" becomes "chuugokujin desu". Now, "desu" is here just to express politeness. If you want to sound casual, you can drop the "desu". So then "chuugokujin desu" (polite form) becomes "chuugokujin" (casual form). Remember you should always be polite to people older than you, to people who have a higher social status than you and to elders. It would also be a good idea to be polite to people who you just met.


Should there be a の between 中国 and 人 to indicate "Chinese person" rather than "China person"? Or is it just kind of understood contextually?


Contextual... All nationalities (where you were born or where your family are from) are country-name~jin (examples a-me-ri-ka-jin; ni-ho-n-jin). Putting the "no" の in would mean the country possesses the man ... Might sound right for soldiers or something like that.


Different languages not always have the same structure to express the same meaning. Thinking a の might be necessary, is logical from the standpoint of the English language (and some other languages as well) but Japanse does not use it in this context (there will be similar examples in the course later on, assuming they are covered on this site).


Tip: Whenever you want to express nationality, all you have to do is write the name of the country and add "jin" at the end of the word. Example: Chuugoku - China ChuugokuJIN - Chinese Nihon - Japan NihonJIN - Japanese Furansu - France FuransuJIN - French


Is there no need for the 'I' part in simple sentences like this? Is just left to context, or is there a difference between saying, (私は日本人です) or (日本人です)?


It is very commonly left to context, as are many things in Japanese. There is no real difference between the two sentences you have there, especially if the listener is aware that you are a learner (/non-native speaker). Among native speakers (i.e. not me), I imagine adding 私は, especially if you do it repeatedly in quick succession, makes you seem somewhat self-centered or needy, since you constantly want to make sure the conversation about yourself (even if it already is).


中国しゅっしんです should be acceptable.


That's I'm from china and not I'm Chinese. That's why it's not acceptable.


Why is 私は中国人ですnot accepted?


アメリカ人です or アメリカ出身です??


The first says "I am American" and the second says "I am from America"
But this sentence discussion page is for the phrase "I am Chinese", so neither of those would be correct.


I accidentally answered 中国人 but still got it right.

Does anyone have an explanation?


What is the difference between shussin and just desu ?


They serve different grammatical functions,

出身・しゅっしん is the noun "Origin" and refers to the place you feel you originated from (hometown, school, parentage)

です is the polite copula, the "is/am/are" in an A=B sentence.

中国出身です "I am from China"
中国人です "I am Chinese"

人 used in this question means "person" and is used as a suffix for nationality
中国 - China (country)
中国人 - Chinese (nationality)


I had the two flipped around. Whay does one set go before the other like that?


Japanese has a different sentence structure: I am Chinese is I Chinese am in Japanese. Here the I is omitted because of context so it's Chinese am. eeee


I always have Yoda in my head to help me remember the word order! E.g Sushi I eat


I think that helps, but Yoda seems to be more OSV than SOV.


Is this katakana? Im so confused...


No, it's Kanji and Hiragana.

中国 (ちゅごく) is the Kanji for China (literally translating to middle country, referring to its location). 中 is the Kanji meaning middle, and 国 is the Kanji meaning country.

人 (じん) is the Kanji meaning "a person" (don't confuse its use with (出身 / しゅっしん, which means "to be from"). Using 人 after a country (China in this case) translates to China person, meaning the subject is Chinese.

That means 中国人 translates to Chinese (person).

です translates to "is" in this case. Since we're not given the context of the conversation, it's implied that you're speaking about yourself.


Why is 中国出身です not accepted?


Because thats I'm from china and not I'm Chinese.


This is the 8th lesson in level 2 and I've only gone over John, Maria and Tanaka of America, China & Japan as origin or home country. WHY MUST WE GO THROUGH 15 LESSONS OF THE SAME THING? Why can't we learn other names or countries yet? Other introductory attributes? My goodness. If level 3 starts these same lessons over again, I'm shedding my completionist trait.


Calm down. Learning anything, particularly a new language, requires repetition. Some would argue 15 lessons of the same thing is not enough. Others may find learning a language much more difficult than you and take comfort in a slow pace which builds their confidence. For others still, this pace is too fast. Maybe they don't want to learn hiragana, katakana and kanji all at once; it's too much!

Besides, this is one course made for many different people, so why do you expect it to cater to your exact learning speed? I mean, good for you that you want to learn more stuff, but do you realize how self-absorbed you sound? My goodness.

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