Translation:What is that?
Sore /それ implies "that" but for things that are closer, while Are/あれ is "that" for more far off things.
Is this distinction strictly maintained in daily conversation? What would be the distance to switch from それ to あれ?
It has ti do with the distance from the listener. In english we have "this" for things close to the speaker (either distance or time) and "that" for things farther away. Japanese has "kore/kono" for things close ti the speaker, "sore/sono" for things close to the listener, and "are/ano" for things far from both of them.
How about for unknown things? Like you friend says "I got a schmoople today" and you ask him, "What's that?"
I'm not sure if this is exactly correct, but これ/それ/あれ are differentiated by "distance" so if you're talking about the concept of a schmoople, when your friend says it, presumably the idea is close to them (in their head) but far from you (you weren't thinking about schmooples), so それは何ですか？ (or more likely 何それ？if you're friends).
Alternatively, if you were reading a book and a schmoople appeared in the story, you might look at your friend and say 「"schmoople"って、何これ？」
Or your teacher walks in and says "I got a schmoople today", so you might look at your friend and say 「何あれ？」, then back at your teacher and say 「何それ？」
Perfect explanation. Also, i think that sore, core and are can be translated as who, like 'who is that'.
Not quite; sore/are would be the "that" in "who is that?" "Who" is 誰（だれ）
Also, I would advise against referring to people using kore/sore/are. They are typically used for inanimate objects. You'll want to use kono hito/sono hito/ano hito, or if you're feeling polite, replace hito 人 with kata 方
あれ is for things far away from both you and the person you're talking to
それ is for things far from you but closer to the one you are speaking to
I've learned that こ is for things close to the speaker (これ=this here), そ is for things close to the listener (それ=that thing close to you) while あ is used for things that are in neither person's proximity (あれ=that thing waay over there)
Is this correct?
EDIT or I could just read the repy directly underneath, yes that's correct Imma take my 2 cents and leave
No, "that over there" isn't necessarily more correct. It's just more intuitive for English speakers.
What shefk said! これ, それ, and あれ are used to refer to something close to the speaker, something close to the person they are speaking to, and something elsewhere, respectively. Sort of along the lines of "this," "that," and "that over there."
This is one example of KSAD packs in Japanese! There's a ton of simple prepositions that follow such a pattern, location for example: ここ - Here そこ - There あそこ - Over there どこ - Where?
The pattern in this question is for nouns, and is rounded out by どれ - Which thing?
Hope this helps!
In his example, Koko, Soko, Asoko, and Doko (KSAD). Must be a pattern various things follow.
This is by no means a complete set, but most of the common sets would be:
- これ - this thing
- この - this (thing)
- ここ - here
- こちら - this person/this direction
- こんな - this kind of
- それ - that thing
- その - that (thing)
- そこ - there
- そちら - that person/that direction
- そんな - that kind of
- あれ - that thing (over there)
- あの - that (thing over there)
- あそこ - (over) there
- あちら - that person/that direction (over there)
- あんな - that kind of
- どれ - which thing
- どの - which (thing)
- どこ - where
- どちら - which person/which direction
- どんな - what kind of
Also, be careful with あ ("a") and お ("o") ;)
holy cow, this is the most helpful thing I've seen. I believe the customary token of appreciation is a lingot
JoshuaLore9 Thanks so much! This is a great guide! I've seen you leaving lots of helpful comments for a while now. Have a Lingot.
If you are a Spanish speaker, these are analogous to aquí, allí, and allá. Helps me remember.
Not quite analogous since Kore is close to the speaker, and sore is close to the listener. Aqua allí allá all indicate levels of distance from the speaker.
あれ means that (away from both/all parties), それ means that (close to the person being spoken to), and これ means this (which is close to the speaker).
Kore is for "this", something that is in your hand or you are touching, exactly like in english. [Kore wa .....(This....) Close to you and not that close to the other speaker. Sore is for that, something close to you but that you can/ can t touch, it is not in your hands. It is at the same distance from you and the other speaker Are is simillar with Sore, yes, bcz the thing that we are talking about is not close to us like when we use Kore. But here it's like "that thing over there" something far away from both you and the other speaker.</pre>
Why is 何 pronounced なに when i tap on the character but in the full sentence it has a different pronounciation?
The kanji 何 has three possible readings, カ, なん, and なに. When on its own, it is typically pronounced なに, but primarily, I think, because of the hard "d" sound following, the なん reading is used.
i put "why that one?" instead of what's that one, and got it wrong, whats the difference here?
"Why" and "what" are fundamentally different questions. "Why that one?" is asking for a reason for choosing it, whereas "What's that one?" is asking for identification of it.
Likewise, the Japanese for "why" 「なんで」/「なぜ」 and "what" 「なに」 are different words and are used differently.
Ah, actually, now that I wrote that second part out, I think I understand where you're getting mixed up.
Let's write out the exercise sentence just in hiragana:
あれ は なん です か
Note how I've separated the words. If you read なんで as the word for "why", here's how it would look:
あれ は なんで す か
You're left with a weird すか at the end. So to keep the sentence making sense, it has to be なん, or "what is that"
I am confused to, but the reason is, that in Doulingo when you click on 'nani' (何) it gives you two translations, being 'what' and 'why'. Is that simply a mistake on duo's side?
Ahh, right. I see what you mean. My apologies, I didn't click on the character to check what it means f(^_^;
It's not exactly a mistake, but it's an unfortunate result of the way Duo gives us information about phrases. When you click on 何, it gives you the translation of the whole phrase, 何ですか as "what", and of the kanji itself, 何 as "what".
However, contained within the phrase 何ですか is also 何で which means "why", so when you click 何, Duo recognizes those three possible meanings.
You'll notice the placement of "what", "why" and "what" is staggered to be beneath the center of 何ですか、何で and 何, respectively.
I'm a bit confused as to why "NANI" is included. Does the phrase mean "what" on its own or only when followed by "DESU KA"?
Yes, 何 on its own means "what". Actually, in casual speech, 「あれは何？」 is an acceptable way to say "What is that?"
However, the role of です is, as always, to connect the object, in this case "what", to the subject, in this case "that". If you don't include 何, there is nothing for です to connect.
Of course, か is necessary to turn "That is what" into a proper question "What is that?"
Ok so I have read in other thread, about using は (ねこはあかいです) when describing something, and を when is an action. (それをくださ) Here isn't any of those cases. The "topic marker" is above all here? Why? Someone can explain more about the uses of はand を。ありがとう。
は is the topic marker. When you see it think of it as "on the topic of...x"
Technically in this sentence you are describing something. You are describing あれ, or more specifically, asking for a description of あれ.
あれ - "That" (thing over there)
は - Topic particle (On the topic of that (thing over there)
何 - what
です - Copula/verb functions as "To be/is/am/are"
か - Question particle "?"
So "On the topic of that thing over there - What is it?"
Simplified to "What is that?"
So would this be used to identify some unknown object like, "what is that (over there)?" Or like say if two people are speaking to each other and one person says "i need to tell you something" vaguely. Would it be appropriate to respond with "Are ha nani desuka?"
It would be used to identity some unknown object which is far away from both the speaker and the listener.
But if someone said to you "I need to tell you something", I'm guess the thing they want to tell you is inside their head (i.e. close to the listener for you), so you would say それ instead of あれ.
Also, あれは何ですか is pronounced are wa nan desu ka, not ha and nani as you have in your question ;)
For anyone confused, I learned ko, so, a, do. Ko- close enough to touch for speaker. So- close enough to touch for listener. A- far from speaker and listener. Do- a question Practice chanting that with gestures. ko (point in front of you) so (point across the room) a (point at the horizon) do (shrug as if asking a question) I hope this helps! ~♡
は is pronounced "wa" when it is being used as a topic marker and "ha" when it is part of a word. わ is only used as a part of a word for "wa".
When you see it think of it as "on the topic of...x", so in this sentence "あれ" "that" is the topic. "On the topic of that (thing) - what is it?"
When the writing system was reformed the sounds of many kana were changed and standardized. Before the reform each kana could have multiple readings depending on the situation and it was a complete mess to understand.
Originally pronounced 'pa' and 'fa' it then turned into a 'wa' sound when at the end of a word. It was decided that the particle は was not a word itself and became a part of the word it followed so it always took the "wa" pronunciation. Then when the H, W and vowel kana were combined and rearranged, the は took on a new "ha" pronunciation. Since this kana was already very common as grammar particle "wa" though, rather than change the pronunciation or the particle kana entirely and have to re-educate a population to read and write, they simply kept both readings. Similarly the kana を originally "wo" is "o" as an object particle and へ "he" is "e" as a direction particle.
When they put tooth as in subject, I'm thinking its supposed to mean what do you want to eat?
No, unfortunately you can't be that loose with the interpretation. です is the copula, or roughly equivalent to "is"/"am" in English, hence "what is that?" If you want to change the verb to "eat", you must use the Japanese verb 食べる（たべる）which means "to eat".
There are a number of other grammatical points you're glossing over. To say "What do you want to eat?", you'll need more advance grammar structures than what we've learned so far.
Furthermore, the は "as in subject", as you say, is a particle, pronounced as wa even though it is written ha, which tells us that the noun or phrase before it is the subject. It doesn't mean "tooth" at all; "tooth" would be written as 歯 and pronounced ha.
Tap or click on the character and the hints will tell you. Or read a few of the other comments. They'll tell you that 何 is the question word meaning "what".
It would be あれは (おれは would mean "as for me..." though this is rather rough and masculine), and it would be like replying "yeah... about that..." (depending on your tone).
That's just how Japanese sentence structure works. Meanwhile, Japanese speakers be like なんで「何 です あれ」って言うのが正しいですか？ (or "why is「what is that」correct?")
Do you actually use that language in shops, saying sore nan desu ka? Or do you say more complex stuff like I would like to know what this is...