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  5. "ジョンさんはアメリカ人です。"

"ジョンさんはアメリカ人です。"

Translation:John is American.

June 8, 2017

100 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vegetable_Juice

They need to add a bit of study material before each lesson introducing & briefly explaining the new additions in that lesson, as well as a (hopefully searchable) dictionary and grammar section that grows as you progress through the lessons. Duo already has some precedent with this, for example, the french program has study material before its lessons & the "Words" tab to explore the words you've learned, their usage, and even your "strength" with that particular word.

Contributors please, please, please work on this. I know it's a lot more work to do, but it would add immense value to the program. Rather than trying to learn solely through the tests.

If you want this too upvote so they will see! (>")> どうもありがとうございました。


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

I second this! :D

By the way, the Duolingo web version has started to show simple Tips and Notes section in every skill page of the language tree! I'm sure we're going in the direction you're talking about! :)

This is still the beta version and I've finished the tree, but am eagerly waiting for a complete rigorous version, it'll be there soon! :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vegetable_Juice

Yeah just saw there are tips & notes for some lessons. We're on our way!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheKiller2460

You know if this has been implemented yet?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Renaissanc907722

They have the tips option before the stsrt of lesson. Tap on the circle and you'll see it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Douglad281484

I said "Mr John is from American". Maybe is should sign up for English classes first....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

xD It happens!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlejandroT946044

I did the exact same thing!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/milaclefairy

What is the ha after the san for?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KlausJasch

It is use to indicate de topic in the sentence, the word before "ha" is the "thing/someone" that we are talking about.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andi_kan

Thank you. Exactly the answer I sought when I braved through 100+ messages, mostly focusing on whether the "Mr" was necessary or not.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eggo357

So, is using the "ha" in this manner a very regular thing we should start using in every sentence? Or, does it only pop up in specific instances?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Using は (pronounced "wa") like this is going be a very regular thing ;)

As Klaus said, it's used to indicate the topic of the sentence, so it will appear a lot, but not in every sentence. When the topic is obvious, whether from social context or previous conversation, it is often omitted, meaning は gets dropped as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Siddhartha_90

Yes, here's more examples:

Tanaka san wa sensei desu - Mr Tanaka is a teacher.

kono eiga wa omoshiroi desu - That movie is interesting.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AngelicaNerd

I stronly think sufixes should not be translated.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zaragorti

Agreed. I think 'John-san' gets the intent across better.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HoroTanuki

Yeah, because everybody who doesn't speak Japanese knows what you meant if you put -san, -kun or -chan at the end of a person's name /s Let's be realistic here and either put a English version of the suffix (Mr. for -san), or not put suffixes at all.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Patricia164663

Yeah because it's totally unnatural in English to say Mr. But ignoring it all together doesn't help you learn :/. It should just be "John-san"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HoroTanuki

yeah, you should just drop them altogether when writing in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eittek

When speaking Japanese, do you HAVE to assign everyone an honorific? Could I just say John and drop the san?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carlos_Valenti

You can drop the honorific but it is extremely rude if you don't use it. I would seriously recommend you to avoid dropping the honorific.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/insanenova

Would you drop it when talking to a good friend?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SkandarSan

Yes. But only really close frienda. In fact, even friends still call themselves by their last names most of times. But whenever you talk to a random person in public, you should always stick to さん


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Laura90313

Or until they say, "please, call me [name]”


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kai19154

It's safe to use honorifics for everyone, even including friends. You'd only omit the honorific if you're very close, otherwise it's considered rude


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mr.Supermann

As a native English user, the problem with Mr. John is that in America and Britain (at least), we do not use the honorific Mr. with a person's first name. We usually do that for the last name to show respect.

As for Japanese, I am relearning it and I allready know that honorifics are very, very important in their culture to show respect. In theory you could just say "John is..." but the Japanese sentence implies respect, so "John is..." shouldn't be correct. It actually makes the most sense for English users and for the Japanese language/culture to have "John-san is..." as the correct answer. English may not use -san, but the sentence implies respect and John-san is much more natural than Mr. John.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnDrevniok

Whys is the 'ha' after John-san pronounced like 'wa' ? Are my ears tricking me? That's what it sounds like.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew-Lin

This "は" is a "particle" in Japanese, which acts as a "topic marker." Now the topic of the sentence is "ジョン", that is, the speaker is talking about John, so the "topic marker" is added after it. If and only if "は" acts as the topic marker, it is pronounced as "wa." Topic markers may be a new and even hard concept to you, so don't worry if you haven't gotten used to it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andi_kan

I'm also a bit confused with こんにちは because the は is also pronounced as "wa". What is the reasoning there, since I don't suppose there is a topic marker in this case?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeremy918229

It actually is technically a topic marker in that case. I'm just starting to learn Japanese myself, but I do remember that こんにちは and こんばんは originally meant something like "today (topic)" and "tonight (topic)," and the rest of the sentence is just omitted now. Probably because it was always the same and people got tired of repeating it. I don't remember if I learned what the omitted part typically was, but it was probably something like "how are you doing?" or "I hope it goes well."

If you look up こんにち and こんばん (without the は) on jisho.org, the first definitions it gives you will be "today" and "tonight."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mst_empire

I agree, the word is written "ha" but pronounced like "wa" and this can make things confusing. An explanation would be helpful.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FurryWonder

The sound on duolingo is some times wrong you might want to send them a message


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/plastoquinone

Do you put -san just after last names or also first names?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

You can put さん after either, although if you are already on a first name basis with someone, you generally wouldn't need it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jaida613497

why does it say "tooth"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jake3.14

That is the particle は (わ) which indicates the topic of the sentence in this case. It does not mean tooth here


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Adding to that, if they wanted it to mean tooth, as ungrammatical as that would be, it would be written as 歯


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Japanese_Neko

This is sooooooooooo confusing!!!!!!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChadClayto1

No one says Mr John. It would just br John is American.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisProve

It (now) accepts John is American. As a correct answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tminderhout

it didn't work for me neither. From my experience with Japanese client, we always call each other X-san or Y-san, so I guess that is why Mr. John is used here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chris98.5

It did not for me either. A nd it never taught us Mr.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gatewayev700

Having San in the Japanese version means its respect and should have the Mr in front


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rtf_moriarty

I put Mrs. Jhon. Lmao


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Antiviral

The -san is what implies the Mr.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drog0n

Yes but OP is just saying that this is not how English people would say this in a normal conversation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Antiviral

But it is how Japanese people would say it in normal conversation. It's important to understand WHAT you're saying rather than just ignoring the cultural aspect of language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Barosz1

Except translating it as "mr John" is exactly ignoring the cultural aspect of the language. English, in that case.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LUCASBAISL

You arent learning english


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Renault422731

I've seen people use "Mr (first name)" sometimes when they dont know the last name or used ironically, rare but not impossible


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bazboosted

it's important to understand that using mr/mrs with the first name is very common in asian countries. english spoken in different regions are different because cultural aspects get ingrained. mr/mrs last name isn't as common as mr/mrs with first name.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kai19154

If you're going by that logic, there's all the more reason to omit Mr, because "san" doesn't translate to Mr. at all because it's even used with friends in Japanese.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoannaShea2

In the Maria example it doesn't say that the correct answer is 'Mrs Maria' . It's just 'Maria'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TinyPancake221

I'm American and I called my violin teacher Mrs Ann


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/3Rton

I honestly feel like if you equate -san in Japanese as Mr. in English then you are either not understanding the use of -san in Japanese or the use of Mr. in English.

But then again neither is my native language so the hell do I know.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/timoteoandre

I completely agree, simply translating san as Mr doesn't seem to convey the same level of respect/polite dialogue being used.

Especially when they also have kun, chan, being used. I find it more appropriate to just leave san as it is.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/janey_p

Is John only a first name in English? Because if it is also a last name, Mr John would be absolutely correct. (It's a last name in Germany, just pronounced differently. That's why the translation here didn't feel strange to me.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/royalt213

Well, of course anything can be a last name in the United States. But it is an incredibly rare last name and an incredibly common first name.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sellithy

Just wait a couple of generations and john will be a popular last name


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wmprusinski

That's not really how last names work...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mravv

Just wait a couple of generations and Lastnamework will be a popular last name.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ninjaliscious

Olivia Newton-John Jill St. John


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nicola526448

My answer told me it was Miss John. At least yours got the gender right! :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Booombahaa

Actually, if it is a last name then Miss would work, Because here in the USA we call teachers by their last names and most last names are guy names so you're correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DKC995785

Why doesn't it accept "Ms. John is American," with "John" as a surname for a woman? That seems as likely a possibility as introducing a man whose given name is John as "Mr. John" in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aaaeide

What function does 'ha' have here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Adeline.c

Is the ha pronounced va or wa?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chaalu

Why the 'desu' in the end? I thought it meant 'I am'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

です is at the end because it is behaving as a verb, like "is" or "am" does, and main verbs go at the end of Japanese sentences (although I believe です is technically called a copula).

You probably misunderstood です to mean "I am" from earlier exercises such as 「ジョンです」="I am John". In those cases, and indeed in many cases in Japanese, the subject is left out because it can be assumed from context. The full sentence for "I am John" should be 「私はジョンです」, where は connects the subject "I" to the verb です or "am".

In this exercise, the subject is specified, again by は. So "John" is connected to the verb です or "is", and there's no need to assume that "I" is the subject like in previous exercises.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DoomBom

So, is the sentence with omitted subject ( ジョンです ) would always be understood as "I am John" rather than "He is John"? Also, in the sentence ジョンさんはアメリカ人です , is there any information that indicates that we talk about John in third person? Because I ve translated it as "I am John from america". I understand that in my translation there is two verbs (one for "am" and one for "from") so it is sort of incorrect anyway, but can the John be represented by myself or by my interlocutor?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew-Lin

First, "ジョンです" can theoretically means "(anyone) is John," depending on the context. If you say "ジョンです" when introducing your self, it is undoubtedly you are talking about yourself. But if someone asks you "Who is he?" you can also answer "ジョンです" to mean "He is John." Japanese is a strong context-depending language. For your second question, in the sentence "ジョンさんはアメリカ人です" the word "は" acts as a topic marker, that is, the topic is "ジョン", so it doesn't mean "I am John from America." If you really want to say this, you should say "私は アメリカ出身の ジョンです."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/misaimbiru

Thank you for the explanation. You have some amazing teaching skills. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FurryWonder

The person that does that cuts and clips things from Japanese websites.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarlieGreeff

So, if I understand correctly.. "desu" can be used for "I am", "he is", and "she is". (?)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Yes, that's right. Please read my earlier comment on chaalu's question for a fuller explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cindya2635

When to use san or kun?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

I think I might be going a little more in depth than you were expecting with my answer f(^_^;

TL;DR: It all depends on your relationship with the person you want to use さん or くん on.

There are a lot of exceptions, but generally speaking, さん is used for people you aren't very close to, e.g. acquaintances, who have a similar social standing to you. For example, you might use さん when meeting your friend's friend (acquaintance, similar social standing), but not if you bump into their professor (acquaintance, higher social standing).

As you get to you each other better, one of three thing can happen to the さん. 1) Nothing, you keep using さん. This is probably the most common outcome (for Japanese people at least), all the way from acquaintance to close friend. You might switch from calling them by their family name to using their given name, but さん can be used for both.

2) You switch to using くん or ちゃん, usually depending on their gender (くん for males, ちゃん for females). The thing about さん is that it acts as a mark saying you consider the person to be higher than you even if they aren't, which is why it's considered a form of respect. Switching to くん or ちゃん signifies that you consider the person as your equal (which in some situations, is tantamount to calling them inferior).

3) You drop honorifics all together, and just use their name or a nickname. This is pretty uncommon for anyone who isn't your best friend or significant other, though I believe it's becoming increasingly common among the younger generation (people currently in their late teens/early twenties).

When exactly these switches happen is basically impossible to prescribe, since every relationship is extremely subjective. That's the main reason #1 is so common; it's difficult to tell if the other person feels as comfortable about the relationship as you do, so it's better to play it safe and avoid embarrassment.

There is one very clear exceptional usage of くん and さん, and that is to differentiate gender in a school environment. Boys will always be referred to, by teachers and other students, as くん while girls are always さん. You wouldn't believe how hard the boys will laugh when a teacher accidentally uses さん to refer to one of their male friends. (Exceptions to this exception include: close friends dropping honorifics, the use of senpai, older male teachers using くん for girls to avoid sounding creepy, and unanimously accepted nicknames.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mewwlin

why does it say tooth?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

Turns out that the kanji 歯 means tooth, which is pronounced the same as は

So, it is just a tooltip mistake, will be fixed in the future.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Just to be clear, 歯 is indeed pronounced は (ha), but the particle は here is pronounced わ (wa). So they're not actually the same pronunciation ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/priscilla518592

I said "John is an American man" and it was wrong and changed to "person"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jake3.14

The word "man" is different from "person". While we can assume John is a man, saying so is a different statement than just saying he's a person.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlbertDiep

I wrote: John came from America. Was correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kmlonghurst

What is the difference between desu and masu? I can't quite figure out when to use the former and when to use the latter


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

So, you have to realize that です and ます are not simply interchangeable.

です is a stand-alone verb, usually translated as "to be" as in "is/am/are".

You can kind of think of it as an equals sign for the subject and the object. In this question, ジョンさん (John) is the subject and アメリカ人 (American person) is the object. The use of です essentially says "John = American person", so in English, we say "John is American" or "John is an American".

On the other hand, ます by itself isn't a stand-alone word at all. It is always attached to a verb (or rather, the verb stem) and it indicates that the verb is in its polite present/non-past tense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/itsDavid2103

Can somebody help, i answered "my name is john, i am from america" sorry if i am incorrect, but i do not understand the difference, to the answer - "Mr.John is American"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

Well, if you say "my name is John", you are talking about yourself, right? But if you say "Mr. John is American", aren't you talking about someone else?

Just like how it's a little weird to refer to yourself in the third person (like John saying "Mr. John is American"), in Japanese, it's a little weird to use honorifics like さん when referring to yourself. So clearly, the speaker in this sentence is talking about someone else.

But even if you answered "his name is John, he is American", you'd be incorrect. In English, those are actually two separate, though related, sentences, while the Japanese is only a single sentence. In the end, the person you're talking to will figure out that "John is American", but just like in Japanese, it's different from just actually saying it. We're here to learn languages, how to say different things, so that's what Duo is marking you on.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AllanRodri735052

What is the function of "jin" in middle of it all?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

人 (じん) means "person" and it is attached as a suffix to アメリカ ("America"), which is how Japanese creates the word for a nationality, i.e. "American (person)".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vegetable_Juice

Let's say his full name is John Smith.

I'm imagining acting as a translator between 2 parties. To get a good translation I think we have a few options depending on context.

1) Mr. John - A child might use a first name with Mr. or they have the very rare last name John

2) Mr. Smith - Typical of what we would call someone in english if an honorific like san was used, but we would need to know their last name.

3) John - If we are translating TO english then the speaker should be translated to the english traditions which in most cases is informal. Of course one could just request to be called otherwise "Please, just call me John"

So, I suppose we should stick to either John or Mr. John (#1) for the purposes of this program seeing as we can't know the last name. But, if we are translating a sentence like this in real life and know the surname we should switch it to Mr. Smith (#2), unless context dictates otherwise "Call me Mr. John"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichelleLe802011

I got it correct but it says I got it wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hylia16

I don't understand how the character before desu works because it DOESN'T SOUND IN THE AUDIO


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rin860892

This is getting way too hard all of a sudden. It feels like I skipped some lessons and I feel stupid. I read the tips and everything.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jonas.luccas

so i typed ''ジョンさんはアメリカ人です。'' and duolingo said ''that's incorrect! the solution is ジョンさんはアメリカ人です。'', i'm sorry.... but.... what?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brandon757378

Very hard i got it on the 10th try!

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