Translation:Is this water?
I've been using Wanikani for quite a long time, and i agree that it is one of the best methods for learning kanji. When i first started, my plan was to learn some kanji, and then come back to Duolingo (since japanese is now available) for vocabulary. That's what im doing currently doing and i must say it is pretty effective.
Ok, sorry in advance for a super long reply.
The particle は is used to denote the topic, which is often also the subject, of the sentence. That is to say, the noun or phrase before は is what the rest of the sentence is talking about (topic) or what is doing the verb (subject).
In our case, the topic is これ which we know because it comes before は. The rest of the sentence is referring back to これ. That's essentially all は does here. Our verb in this case, is actually the copula です which behaves like the English copula "is"/"am", and it connects the object, in our case 水 back to the subject これ.
So, a very rough way to break it down into English is:
As for (は) this (これ), is it (です) water (水)?
Changing that into more natural English gives us "Is this water?"
I think you might have assumed "my water" because of previous lessons have often assumed the subject to be "I" or "me" when it is omitted, and you tried to put it back into your translation almost out of habit. But in this case, the subject is specified so there's no need for "I" or "me".
If you wanted to say "my water", you have to add the possessive particle の to "water". "Is this my water?" would look like 「これは私の水ですか」. Here, the topic is still this, but the object is now modified to be "my water".
Since Japanese is such a contextual language, they quite used to filling in blanks in the right places and leaving out は is actually done quite often, particularly in speech. For example:「これ、水ですか」 with the comma (、) there to create a short pause when speaking.
You could even leave out これ and just say 「水ですか」 if it's really obvious that you're asking about "this".
Note that it does make things a little more informal, so if you're not sure, it's better to include it.
Sorry again for such a long post, but I hope it helps.
Yes, you're exactly right on all three!
Just to be pedantic, I'll add the caveat that you would basically only use これ in cases where you are holding the product (otherwise you might you それ or あれ), but can leave out これは if it's obvious you're talking about the product in your hand. You can be holding a product and looking at a different product on the shelf, for example.
That's right, I wouldn't recommend shortening too much unless you're confident you know what you're doing.
For the sake of interest, I'll add that in the example above (you, the customer, asking a staff member), you would be able to shorten your sentences more than if you were about the same social standing as the listener. That is, you can get away with a slightly ruder manner of speaking because you are the customer. But again, that's only to a certain degree, so I wouldn't recommend trying it until you know what you're doing :)
The difference between this and that is infuriating. I can be talking about something far from me and the listener and have it still be, "this." Say I'm a car salesman comparing two cars that are both far from me and the listener. Car A becomes "this car" because it is the car im focusing on, and Car B becomes "that car" because its the one I'm comparing Car A with. "This car is much better on mpg than that car, but that car has better acceleration than this one." I mean, come on. The two cars could be next to each other and they'd still be "this" and "that" while being far from myself and the listener
That's an interesting point. I think in this situation, Japanese people (which doesn't include me; I'm Australian) are likely to continue using "Car A" and "Car B" throughout the conversation, without resorting to "this" or "that". My guess is they would differentiate the focus of the conversation by the use of は vs が.
Alternatively, they may say 右の方 migi no hou and 左の方 hidari no hou for "the one on the right" and "the one on the left", respectively, or some other similar framing pronoun.
If you need to question whether it's water or not, you probably shouldn't drink it. Also as someone who speaks three Chinese dialects, Kanji is like my bane. It seems like it's Chinese, my brain says that it's Chinese, but the language says it's characters with Japanese pronunciations.
It is a valid sentence, but it has quite a different meaning.
First, I'm going to assume you meant 「この水ですか」 and not ですが. Using ですが makes it a statement that sounds like you're embarrassed to admit.
Because, in your sentence, この水, or "this water", is the object, 「この水ですか」 means "Is it this water?" and sounds like you're confirming with someone if they are talking about "this water" as opposed to some other water.
Compare that to the exercise sentence 「これは水ですか」, where the object is simply 水, or "water", and the subject is specified as これ, or "this". In this sentence, you're confirming whether "this" is water or not.
Actually, it has nothing to do with being a question or not.
When it is used as part of a word, は is pronounced as ha, but whenever it is being used as a particle (usually to indicate the topic), it is pronounced as wa. As your vocabulary grows, you'll easily be able to figure out which pronunciation to use.
So what's Japanese for simply "Is it water"? Would it be 水はですか or smth different? I checked the English-Japanese translation of the phrase at Google's, and it was それは水ですか . So I guess it could be the same with これ, too. And if it's so, then the question これは水ですか may be also properly translated as "Is it water?". At the moment, the latter is being counted as an error, though.
これ is used to refer to something that is close to the speaker (roughly "this" in English, or esto in Spanish).
それ is used to refer to something that is close to the listener (like "that" or eso).
あれ is used to refer to something that is close to neither the speaker nor the listener (like aquello or "that thing over there").
They don't match up exactly, but that's the idea.
これ - This は - topic indicator 水 - Water です - Is か - question indicator Kore wa mizu desu ka?
Kore _ this (near me) Sore _ that (near us, but don't touching) Are _ that Dore_ witch one
Kono_ same as kore, but used in a diferent structure Sono_ same as sore, but used in a diferent structure Ano_ same as are, but used in a diferent structure
Ex. Kono hon wa dare no desu ka _ like "who owns this book?" Kore wa hon desu (ka) _ this is a book(?)
Kochira_ this way Sochira_ that (but near) way Achira _ that (far, pointing) way
In portuguese if it helps anyone:
Kore isto Sore isso Are aquilo
Kochira por este caminho Sochira por esse caminho Achira por aquele caminho
I think that is slightly wrong, but not for the reason that JoshuaLore9 gives.
I would interpret the English sentence, "This water?" as short for, "Is this water?" The speaker has simply omitted the word "is". This is very informal, but it is something that I can imagine a native speaker saying, as least in some dialects of English.
In your English sentence, as in its expanded version - "Is this water?" - the word "this" is a demonstrative pronoun, just like "kore" in Japanese.
However, the Japanese and English sentences differ in that the Japanese sentence contains a topic but omits the subject, whereas the English sentence does the opposite.
In the Japanese sentence, "kore" is the topic. You can tell because it is marked with "wa". That means that it is grammatically disconnected, so to speak, from the actual subject-predicate part of the sentence. This is not commonly done in English, but the way it works is that you have a preamble, to set the topic - "As for this..." - and then you have the main body of the sentence, with the subject and the predicate, which could stand as a complete sentence in itself: "Is it water?"
If this were expressed in full in the Japanese sentence, it would come out as, "Kore wa, kore ga mizu desu ka?" This would mean, "As for this, is this water?"
In the Japanese sentence that we were given, the subject, marked with the subject-marking particle "ga", is omitted, as it can be deduced from the context. So you just end up with, "Kore wa mizu desu ka?" Whereas in the English version, "Is this water?" we have kept the subject as it was but omitted the topic.
So I think the Japanese sentence and the English sentence that you have given are actually different in structure.
In English? Usually "this" means something near the person speaking, while "that" is something farther away.
In Japanese, they account for both the speaker and the listener, so これ means near the speaker, それ means near the listener, and あれ means far from both the speaker and the listener.
So if I understand well : これ this (near me) それ that (near the person I'm talking to) あれ that (neither close to me or the person I'm talking to, but still seeable by us) どれ that (something none of us can see)
How would we say "it"? "Is it water? "
Or should it be accepted for one of the 4 other cases as a correct answer by duolingo?
You're close on これ, それ, あれ and どれ — どれ means "which", not something that neither person can see. あれ would probably be used for that.
JoshuaLore9 has said above that he would probably use「水ですか」for "Is it water?". It's difficult to find places where the nuances of English and Japanese line up, since they're such different languages.
Great explanation of これ vs この! I just have to nitpick your examples :)
寒い【さむい】is a tricky word in Japanese. It is used to describe someone's experience of being cold, or the weather (in the general sense that it would make someone feel cold). But when describing things as being cold or physically feeling cold to the touch, you should use 冷たい【冷たい】
So, in your example, "this water is cold" should be この水は冷たいです.
"This is cold" is fine, because we don't have any context, so it could be referring to a low temperature and someone agreeing/stating that it is a cold temperature. But if "this" is also referring to "this water", you would also have to use 冷たい ;)