"ジョンさんはアメリカ人です。"

Translation:John is American.

June 8, 2017

163 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ChadClayto1

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

June 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ChrisProve

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

June 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Nikarus237

Doesnt for me

June 24, 2017

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

November 27, 2017

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

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

July 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/gatewayev700

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

December 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Igor323123
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Yep

December 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KayleeODon

Nope

September 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Antiviral

The -san is what implies the Mr.

June 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Drog0n

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

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Barosz1

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

June 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LUCASBAISL

You arent learning english

July 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Renault422731

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

June 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/pahirulzz

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.

February 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/BabyDewey

Lol

April 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

July 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Mrcqm1

It is their equivelant to mr., mrs., etc. though.

November 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoannaShea2

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

December 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/TinyPancake221

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

September 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

October 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

March 11, 2018

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

June 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

June 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Andorrus

Elton John

August 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/sellithy

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

July 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/wmprusinski

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

July 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Mravv
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Just wait a couple of generations and Lastnamework will be a popular last name.

January 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ninjaliscious

Olivia Newton-John Jill St. John

November 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/THEDALEKS

I dont know

October 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicola526448
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My answer told me it was Miss John. At least yours got the gender right! :-)

October 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

January 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Vali912732

Well people are more respectfull over there...

September 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

September 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LeviKane1
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Unless you are have a very formal conversation, that is. Or you're just being polite.

August 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Douglad281484

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

June 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Pikachu025
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xD It happens!

August 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/EduardAlex13
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*I

October 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AngelicaNerd

I stronly think sufixes should not be translated.

June 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/zaragorti
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Agreed. I think 'John-san' gets the intent across better.

August 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

November 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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"

September 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/HoroTanuki

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

November 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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。

January 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Pikachu025
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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

January 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Vegetable_Juice

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

January 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TheKiller2460

You know if this has been implemented yet?

January 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/milaclefairy

What is the ha after the san for?

June 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/KlausJasch

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

June 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/andi_kan
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Thank you. Exactly the answer I sought when I braved through 100+ messages, mostly focusing on whether the "Mr" was necessary or not.

January 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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?

July 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

July 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

May 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/eittek
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When speaking Japanese, do you HAVE to assign everyone an honorific? Could I just say John and drop the san?

June 10, 2017

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

June 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/insanenova
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Would you drop it when talking to a good friend?

June 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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

June 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Laura90313

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

August 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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

June 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnDrevniok

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

July 29, 2017

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

October 18, 2017

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

January 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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."

March 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/mst_empire

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

August 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

January 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jaida613497

why does it say "tooth"?

June 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jake3.14
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That is the particle は (わ) which indicates the topic of the sentence in this case. It does not mean tooth here

June 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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

July 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LaAsia5

Idk lol

July 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/plastoquinone
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Do you put -san just after last names or also first names?

August 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

August 30, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasEide

What function does 'ha' have here?

July 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Adeline.c
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Is the ha pronounced va or wa?

July 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ultdubu

Wa

September 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/chaalu
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Why the 'desu' in the end? I thought it meant 'I am'.

July 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

July 19, 2017

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

October 12, 2017

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

October 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LeviGreeff

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

September 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

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

September 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Cindya2635

When to use san or kun?

September 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.)

September 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/glitter.cat

why does it say tooth?

January 29, 2018

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

January 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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 ;)

February 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Pikachu025
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Yep! :)

February 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/-Neon_Cat-

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

February 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/priscilla518592
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I said "John is an American man" and it was wrong and changed to "person"

June 24, 2017

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

June 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AlbertDiep

I wrote: John came from America. Was correct.

August 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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"

January 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

January 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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"

February 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/kmlonghurst

is there a difference between "i am" and "he is" ? so far it seems DE SU is acceptable for both cases

July 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

That's because it is acceptable in both cases. Please read my earlier comment on chaalu's question.

July 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexSouza137431

America and U.S.A. can be the same thing

July 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/rosesharon755

At first I wrote "John is from America" and they said i was wrong. :(

August 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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

August 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

August 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AlanS.6
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"Mr. John" is a VERY strange thing to say.

October 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshYu6

What's does the "wa" between "san" and "america" do?

October 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshYu6

Nevermind i saw answers above :)

October 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/spacepope

For some reason I was told the answer was Miss John. Doesn't seem to be anything in the sentence that indicates 'John's' gender.

October 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jamesashby5

how come the は is being pronounced Wa?

November 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Da-Di-Dum

How does one specify if it is "american" or "from america"?

December 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Pikachu025
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Hey there! In this sentence, it is referring to "American".

You'll learn other forms later in the Duolingo skill tree.

Here are some similar sentences:

  1. I have come from America. 私 は アメリカ から 来ました。

  2. I am American. 私 は アメリカ 人 です。

  3. My origin/birthplace is America. 私 の しゅっしん が アメリカ です。

  4. I live in America. 私 は アメリカ で すんでいます。

December 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

An alternative for number 3 (more natural, and the way Duo teaches it later) is (私は)アメリカ しゅっしん です。

December 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Pikachu025
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Yep! Thanks for adding that. Actually, "Shusshin" is literally origin, the exact word for "birthplace" is "Shusshin chi" : 「しゅっしんち」 : 「出身地」 However, both seem to convey the meaning equally well in this case.

December 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/gustavovh
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Would not be ok to use "John is from US"?

December 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

As an answer to this learning exercise: no. As a factual statement about a theoretical person named "John": possibly.

First, as a learning exercise, "to be from {place}" is a different grammatical structure from "to be {nationality}". At this point, Duo probably wants to keep things as simple as possible, and this structure "{person}は {nationality}です" maps closest to the English "{person} is {nationality}."

Second, an American person is not necessarily from America. In fact, there are many American people born and raised in Japan (specifically, Okinawa I believe). While the vast majority of American people are from America, and likewise with any nationality, it's worth remembering that that isn't always the case.

December 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AllanRodri735052

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

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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)".

February 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Michael287115

Is manners not a common thing in most countries? all this talk about "Mr. John" being a weird thing to say

February 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SisterMounteer

Its not that manners are not common, its that "John" is a more common first name than a last name and its weird to see "Mr. [First name]."

April 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jon212154
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I am confused by the 'は' character. It is taught as unvoiced 'ha' but often sounds like the voiced 'wa'. Is this a contextual difference or are the sounds interchangeable? Also it seems like the purpose of the character is to denote you are talking about another person, is that correct?

February 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

Your questions have all been answered several times on this discussion page already. Please have a read through the comments for more detail, but here's a quick version:

  • は is pronounced ha, except when it is being used as a particle where it is pronounced wa
  • The character, as a particle, is used to denote the topic of a sentence, which may or may not be another person, or may not even be a person at all.
March 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/BenebsBiagtan

Jyon san wa amerika jin desu Jyon = John. With a -san it becomes Mr. John. Jin means person. So amerika jin means american person. Mr. John is American

February 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/timoteoandre

I wrote John-san is American and it was considered wrong. Even though Tanaka-san is American was considered right...

March 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/brethower.k
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This really should also accept "John-san is American" because the Japanese honorific isn't exactly comparable to the English version

March 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dingo451580

Way to change Jon to John halfway through a lesson.

March 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Ves_McVoid
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I'm not happy about not being able to write "John-san".

March 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/davidolson22
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They should try to mess us up more and name the dude Mr Johnson. Jonson-san. JApanese tongue twisters.

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ParvindarB
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How would you translate 'Mr. John is from America'?

May 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

ジョンさんはアメリカしゅっしんです。

"しゅっしん" means "(a person's) origin". Literally, this sentence translates as "Mr. John American-origin is".

June 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DanCollins9

Why does the -san suffix translate to Mr. for masculine names but not to Mrs. for femenine? (Why Mr. John here but not Mrs. Maria in other exercises?)

June 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

That is a great question. The short answer is that Duo isn't very good at being consistent. (In their defence, the Japanese course is still in Beta.)

The long answer is that さん doesn't translate very neatly to English at all. For masculine names, it's relatively easy because "Mr." is by far the most common title for men, but for women, you can't just assume "Mrs." is the correct title; "Ms." and "Miss" are also commonly used.

Putting that aside, I would say that even さん = "Mr." is not a very good translation. Sure, both are polite honorifics, but the usage is completely different.

August 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mitsuru_Kirijo

What does the "は" mean in this sentence?

June 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

Please try to read the other comments before posting. Your question has been addressed many times before.

は doesn't strictly speaking "mean" anything. It's a particle which indicates that the thing that came before it is "the topic" of the sentence, which is commonly, but not always, also the grammatical "subject".

August 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dillon_The

Mr.john?

June 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Juseh.Soares

ジョセ さんはアメリカ人です。

July 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/FaroukRizki
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"John san wa amerika jin desu"

I understand the "amerika jin" part mean "american person" but no english speaker says "american person", just "american".

However, I am wondering what are the use of "san", "wa" and "desu" here? Can anyone kindly explain? Thanks

July 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/davidolson22
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San is a suffix which adds politeness to names. Roughly translates to mr or mrs. Desu means is or are. Wa marks the topic of the sentence. So: as for mr john, american person is

July 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/FaroukRizki
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Thank you so much for such clear explanation.

However, which is the topic in this context? "Mr. John" or "american"? There must be a rule why "wa" was placed in the middle. Is "wa" placed after or before the topic?

July 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/davidolson22
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Markers are always placed after the word they modify in japanese. So in this case it's Mr John. Note that he isn't necessarily the subject of the sentence. That's why I phrased it as "as for mr. John". You could also say, "speaking of mr john" for john-san wa

July 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/FaroukRizki
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Thank you so much! I quite get it now.

So, if someone asks a person in japanese like, for example:

Q: "Who took the book?"

A: "John san wa"

I can use "wa" to answer that question. Am I correct?

July 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

Not quite...

In your example, the "topic" of the conversation was introduced by Q. "The book" is the thing we are talking about, i.e. the topic, and "who took it" is kind of extra information we want to know about "the book".

In this case, we would use the marker が for John, because が marks the subject (or do-er) of the verb.

The Japanese for your example would look like this:

  • Q: 本はだれ取ったんですか?【ほんがだれがとったんですか?】-> 本は = "As for the book", だれ = "who did", 取った = "took", んですか? = {marks request for information}"?" -> "Who took the book?"
  • A: ジョンさん[取りました]【ジョンさんが[とりました]】-> ジョンさん = "John-san did", 取りました = "took" -> "John took it"
January 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/GorgeousWorkHard

Isn't は supposed to pronounce as "ha"? Why do I hear it as "wa" in this sentence? Thanks in advance

August 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SalootyBoi

If I want to type that he is Israeli, would it be: いスラリ人です?

September 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/_woody_
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Ms. John is American.

September 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TomFridman1

One letter typo and it failed me lol

November 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/taylor993720

My only confusion is the ha/wa part in the middle! Why is it put there ?

November 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JaimeNyx
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人 in the answers sounds like "Shi-to" instead of "Jin". Is that intentional?

January 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

It's not intentional. The character 人 has several different pronunciations depending on the context it's in, and unfortunately Duo's TTS software isn't good enough to recognize this. In the context of this sentence, the pronunciation should be じん, but when read on its own (e.g. not as a suffix to アメリカ), it would be pronounced ひと ("hito"), which is probably what you're hearing.

January 29, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JaimeNyx
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Thanks for the reply. I hope they fix this!

January 29, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/y5pKvcDh

why is it pronounced jin and not nin

February 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TumainiTiger
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I'm new to understanding how the grammar works so can I check I'm reading this sentence properly please?

Would this be taken to mean

John who is a mr, <- this topic (ha/wa), America is where this person (jin) is from (desu)

Is that basically how the sentence structure works and how it would be phrased/ordered/translated in the Japanese context?

February 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

You're pretty close, but there's a few points I want to clarify:

  • John is not necessarily a "Mr." In Japanese, さん is a genderless honorific which can be attached to both first names or surnames.
  • です simply means "is", not "is from"
  • In アメリカ人, the 人 is being used as something of a suffix which denotes "X person", for example: アメリカ人 = American (person), 中国人 = Chinese (person), アジア人 = Asian (person), 外国人【がいこくじん】= lit. outside country person (e.g. foreigner).

So, the breakdown would be Mr./Ms. John (=ジョンさん) (<- the topic は) is (=です) American (=アメリカ人).

February 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TumainiTiger
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ありがとうございます

February 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SnowFireBe

John is America. What kinda sentence is that

February 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TheKiller2460

No, アメリカ人 sort-of means America people because of the character "人" meaning person. Putting it after a country turns it into American instead of America. "John is America" would translate to "ジョンさんはアメリカです" (without the character 人). "John is American" would be what this exercise says, "ジョンさんはアメリカ人です" (with the character 人)

February 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/zenitha126

What is the function of 'wa'? Is that similar with to be?

September 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/TheKiller2460

は is sort of a subject marker to identify what person is being spoken about. In this case, "is" would be です. Japanese sentences are structured as subject/object/verb, so instead of saying "John is American", you say "John American is."

February 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/PikachugamingTH

I wrote Mr. John is an American

October 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/garciaefremov
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Jon should be an accepted spelling.

December 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LeeannBurc

Some spell "John" "J-O-N" also. I was marked incorrect for spelling it in that manner.

May 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/EduardAlex13
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America-san ho Nihon-jin desu

LOL

October 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/EduardAlex13
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I just figured out that the "Ho" is pronounced like "Wa" in this sentence...

October 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jonesnori

It is (usually) "ha", not "ho", and, yes, when it is functioning as a topic marker it is pronounced "wa". I think there is some historical phonological reason, but it is not important from a language learning perspective - we just need to accept it. All languages have weird bits.

October 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/shira43372

תודה רבה

August 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/AutumnTren2

Omfg bruh i cant get this yall betta gimme the answer

September 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Adlingo2

I wrote Mr. John is an American

August 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Adlingo2

And it said it was correct

August 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SaraHaengbok

Oh no I forgot to write it in English :'(

August 11, 2017
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