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  5. "Her older brother is a fifth…

"Her older brother is a fifth grader."


June 8, 2017



why do I need 小学


someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but my Japanese teacher (born and raised in Japan) said they say what year of what level schooling they're in. so, for example, a freshman in high school would be 高校一年生です。and a sophomore would be 高校二年生です。 and so on. "middle school" starts at 6th grade but it would be 中学一年生 up to 中学三年生。


Sorry, can't see when you posted this on mobile, but I omitted it and it was accepted for me



【かのじょの・おにいさんは・しょうがく -ごねん -せいです】

「小学」"elementary school"

「~5年」"year five"

「~生」suffix for "student"

"speaking of her brother, (he) is a student of fifth grade in elementary school"


Weird, mine says "he is a fifth grader" and I answered correct without using 小


You can get away with it because no Japanese school system has "fifth year students" except an elementary school. So it's implied by context


Could someone explain me when to use 'ha' and when to use 'no'?


I'm glad you asked this, because this is one of the features of Japanese that makes the language beautiful.

So in attempting to read a string of complicated characters, some of the questions one would like to answer is "What is this sentence talking about? What is the subject of this sentence? What is the subject doing? What is the subject doing something to?" and "What are the relationships between subject/noun and objects in the sentence?"

In Japanese some Hiragana symbols are used syntactically in ways which help clarify these questions, and are referred to as "particles." So far up to this point in Duolingo you've seen quite a few of them. Namely:

ね - used when looking for agreement or confirming a statement

Example: 寒いです! "It is cold!" そおうですね "Yes it is."

は and が are used to mark the "topic" and "subject" of the sentence respectively. It is important to note that the "subject" of a sentence has a grammatical relationship only to the verb, while the topic is a non grammatical context for the whole sentence.

The difference between these two is highly nontrivial, and a good explanation is given here: https://japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/22/whats-the-difference-between-wa-は-and-ga-が?newreg=3675ce533daa412aa5ae1676a45f834d

But for now, a good heuristic is to think of は as marking something already familiar to both speakers in the conversation.

For example, if a friend visits your family and sees your brother, both speakers would know who "he" is in the following sentence

彼は私のおにさんです "He is my older brother."

Now suppose while in the conversation, you observed a cat outside behind the person you are talking to eating a bird. In this situation if you mention a cat with は, this is assuming the speaker already knows which cat you are referring to and would be incorrect. Here we would say:

猫が鳥を食べます "The cat eats the bird"

More detail about these including other uses for both か and が can be found at this link: https://thoughtco.com/japanese-particles-wa-vs-ga-4091105

の - In the beginning contexts here is used to indicate possesion. When you see "AのB," just think of the grammatically correct way to say "A's B."

For example:

彼女の猫 "Her cat"

ブランドノの犬 "Brandon's dog"

の also has various other uses which are explained here: https://thoughtco.com/particles-o-and-no-2027923

[deactivated user]

    This deserves double upvote


    This was seriously so helpful to me. Thank you so much!!!


    Could you then change the order of the sentence, like the "word-ha" with the "word-no" somehow?


    The word order in any Japanese sentence realistically doesn't matter due to particles. However, you MUST put the object and verb at the end.


    Well that is mostly true I feel like for most of the new learners telling them that is wrong because they never figure out the specifics. It's like saying there's no rules so then you can't actually explain it when you need to.... I would say that this language is flexible but not without parameters. I honestly I don't know how people get this far in the lessons without a basic understanding of wa and ga


    What a beautiful explanation!


    私の弟の名前はブランドノです!彼は犬います。(I'm not sure if that's correct but it's supposed to say my brother's name is brandon and he has a dog! he's actually my twin but I dont know the word for that)


    Ha is when you want to specify the topic. No is used to discribe the possessiveness of something. Try the youtube. Lot of interesting material there.


    Since the subject of the sentence is the older brother, the 'ha' comes after him.


    How do we know whether it's 小学 or 中学 when the English is fifth grader?


    I think they expect you to know the Japanese schooling system. Grades 1-6 are [小学], Grades 7-9 are [中学], Grades 10-12 are [高校] and Grade 13 onwards are all considered [大学]


    Thanks for the outline. This is a bit confusing because my country we use Primary School 1-6 , Secondary School 1-5. We don't follow grades or year ...


    oh oops, maybe I'm wrong lol. you might be correct.


    The problem is not about knowledge of Japan. The problem is that Americans say that someone is a "fifth grader" without explicitly answering the question, "Fifth grade of what?" We are just expected to know that Duolingo means "in the fifth year of primary school" here, without being told. If it had said "in the fifth year of primary school" in the English sentence, it would have been immediately clear that it would be 小学, and not 中学. So the problem is not a lack of knowledge of the Japanese schooling system but a lack of clarity in the English sentence.


    Would a native speaker understand you if you left out 小学?

    It was counted correct when I typed 「彼女のお兄さんは五年生です」, but I'm curious if that sounds weird to a native.


    If context is clear, it's absolutely natural to drop 小学. I worked in an elementary school and we always just said 五年生.


    Since the latest update, when placing a word, it does no longer pronounce it, which makes it a lot harder to verify what you are doing.


    What does the "お" do?


    It's a polite prefix to add to many nouns (お皿、お兄さん, etc) which is actually a form of keigo.


    You're really going to penalize me for leaving out the characters for Elementary School when your chosen English translation doesn't include them? Ok weirdo


    Something seems to be going on with the program for me. "Desu" was not available, but it marked me correct without it. This is the third time I've had a sentence dealing with younger or older brother that is missing the pieces I need to answer the question correctly.


    can't write shogaku in kanji, plz help, all i get is 書学


    You gotta visualize the romaji for this one.

    Rather than saying "shogaku", it's written (and pronounced) as "shougaku".

    So the kana looks like しょうがく and if you hit space or enter afterwards, it should come out as 小学。

    As a side note, I had to hit spacebar twice to shuffle to the correct kanji.


    小学 You have to type it out in hiragana しょうがく it will then turn into 小学. Try it again. Make sure ょ is small not よ.


    Why does it suggest 小学? Is there no fifth grade in 中学 or 高校?


    I think this is because the Duolingo courses follow the American school system. Apparently that one continues on counting throughout schools, except for college and university.


    The correct answer was just straight up not accepted. I got it 100% right and it's literally my answer in the box that popped up to correct me :/ I'm cancelling duo plus this is the 5th time this has happened this month


    I always remember the "wa" as "am" or "is" and the "no" as ""my," "hers," or "theirs."


    Does かのじょ usually imply an older female? I have never heard it in reference to younger girls before. Any clarification is appreciated, thanks!


    It's also important to remember that in the vast majority of cases, Japanese doesn't use pronouns. Since かのじょ also means "girlfriend" (and かれ = "boyfriend") you may hear the word more in that context. Duolingo seems to just be using it for the sake of convenience.


    It's for both younger and older females. (As for me, I usually hear older males refer to younger girls as kanojo.)


    かのじよのおにいさん小学五年生 ですlooks exactly like the correct answer.. this keeps happening to me. what am I doing wrong..


    seems like you forgot the は after おにさん


    It lacks the "は" particle but I suppose you solved that much time ago


    you forgot about 「は」between 「おにいさん」and「小学五年生」


    you forgot about 「は」between 「おにいさん」and 「小学五年生」 :)


    Great explanation!


    I used が instead of は in my response, which was otherwise the same as the translation given, and it was marked incorrect. Should my translation have been accepted, or is が wrong in this case? And if it's wrong, does someone know the reason why?


    Can someone write the romaji of the answer am unable to pronounce the sentences


    彼女のお兄さんは小学五年生です。 kanojo no onīsan wa shōgaku go nenseidesu .


    Why is it a fifth grader not year five


    It is not ha it is wa


    This is getting hard tho


    I thought honorifics weren't necessary when speaking of someone who isn't part of the conversation (her and her brother). Correct me if I'm wrong?


    Why can't I say 五年生小学?


    I guessed it was "[五年生] [小学]", but I was wrong....


    I almost but 中学生(ちゅうがくせい) instead of 小学生(しょうがくせい) because my middle school has fifth grade lol.

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