"あれは何ですか?"

Translation:What is that?

June 8, 2017

64 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/toffee1141

Sore and are both mean that?

June 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/shefk

Sore /それ implies "that" but for things that are closer, while Are/あれ is "that" for more far off things.

June 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/wush11

Is this distinction strictly maintained in daily conversation? What would be the distance to switch from それ to あれ?

July 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/tahamh77

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.

July 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Davedavido

How about for unknown things? Like you friend says "I got a schmoople today" and you ask him, "What's that?"

August 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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?」

August 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/IannesPatr1

In that case i think "sore" would be the right one to use. なにそれ?

February 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Bogdan318898

Perfect explanation. Also, i think that sore, core and are can be translated as who, like 'who is that'.

July 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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

July 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ismah639316

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

November 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/FonzieSquirrel

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

July 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/James83847

A more accurate translation would be "that over there."

May 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

No, "that over there" isn't necessarily more correct. It's just more intuitive for English speakers.

June 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SwissMistress

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."

June 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/anonamoose52

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!

June 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/involvr

What is KSAD?

July 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Davedavido

In his example, Koko, Soko, Asoko, and Doko (KSAD). Must be a pattern various things follow.

August 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/graphicjazz

So would the complete set be: これ この ここ それ その そこ あれ おの おそこ どれ どの どこ

April 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

This is by no means a complete set, but most of the common sets would be:

K:

  • これ - this thing
  • この - this (thing)
  • ここ - here
  • こちら - this person/this direction
  • こんな - this kind of

S:

  • それ - that thing
  • その - that (thing)
  • そこ - there
  • そちら - that person/that direction
  • そんな - that kind of

A:

  • 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

D:

  • 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") ;)

May 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/WillGormle

holy cow, this is the most helpful thing I've seen. I believe the customary token of appreciation is a lingot

June 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Chaos_Hawk

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.

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Deivisony

Hiw abou "when" and "how"? Could yoy translate that in the same manner?

November 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SGTxDiabetes

Making notes of your reply! So helpful!

February 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/masamunex82

If you are a Spanish speaker, these are analogous to aquí, allí, and allá. Helps me remember.

June 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Kaith

In this case I'd say it's closer to "esto", "eso" and "aquello".

June 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/To3Ppw

これ esto それ eso あれaquello ここ aqui そこ ahi あそこacuya, bromeo, alli

June 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

For Scottish gaelic the equivalents would be seo, sin and siud

January 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Butterweed

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.

November 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/PStrotman

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).

June 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BazTheLinuxGuy

All these questions, like Are wa nan desu ka? (Sorry for the romanji, I haven't figured out the Japanese keyboard).Would that be something you ask to the waiter about what is on the menu?

September 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AnaDeku2004
<pre>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>
February 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TylerCarbo

Why is 何 pronounced なに when i tap on the character but in the full sentence it has a different pronounciation?

July 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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.

July 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/James858047

i put "why that one?" instead of what's that one, and got it wrong, whats the difference here?

July 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

"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.

July 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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"

July 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/flypirat

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?

July 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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.

July 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/pscrimger

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"?

August 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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?"

August 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/puchacamilo

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。

November 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Swisidniak

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.

あれは何ですか
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?"

January 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/hogthehedge

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?"

August 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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 ;)

August 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MahApplez

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! ~♡

September 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/charlieduarte82

The correct answer uses は (ha) for わ (wa). What's up with that?

January 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Swisidniak

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.

January 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Megan_J

When they put tooth as in subject, I'm thinking its supposed to mean what do you want to eat?

July 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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.

July 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/blakecromar

Remind me, what does 何 do in this sentence?

December 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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".

December 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/NichoHan

Question... So when people reply "あれは" ..(or they might say "おれは" [i cant remember which one I've heard])..

..is that like replying..

" yea.. about that.." or "what's that?"

May 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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).

July 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Kryssy530994

Why is the format, that what is?

June 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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?")

September 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Joe264823

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...

February 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JnC951836

WHAT ARE THOSE!!!

April 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jasper750647

I wish it would show you how to pronounce them better

April 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Felix315091

I thought this chapter was about food...

June 17, 2019
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