"電車、おそくないですか?"

Translation:Isn't the train late?

6/8/2017, 3:39:27 PM

67 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Ever2662

I feel like this English translation has a very different connotation. When you say "isn't the train late?" you're usually implying an expectation/understanding that the train is late. But is that true in this sentence? Aren't you simply asking if the train is not-late, i.e., on time, i.e., connotating nothing at all?

6/14/2017, 10:58:48 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/telemetry
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This is the Japanese way of saying "isn't the train late?" negative form + か means "isn't whatever the case", you can use it with ですか or ~ませんか (or whichever negative conjugation is appropriate)

This is what you need to be careful with when learning a language (especially one that works differently to languages you're familiar with) - you can get caught up in "this word means this, this bit means this, so the whole thing must mean this". Languages are heavily about phrases and not just individual words, so a lot of the time the reason behind a meaning is "that's just what it means, that's just what people say". You just need to learn these phrasings to really grasp the language, because that's the level native speakers are on

I just mention it because I see a lot of people arguing with the language (not just Japanese) on here - sometimes people wondering why things don't mean what they reason they should, sometimes people actively saying NO it shouldn't BE like that! It just is, ok! That's how you express that meaning, and you need to learn it and learn to recognise it so you don't have to puzzle it out next time you run into it

(Duolingo mistakes aside of course!)

6/27/2018, 7:56:02 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lexythepotato
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For this to sentence to translate the way it does I feel like behind the desu we need ne, so desu ne. Rather than ka but maybe I have the feeling wrong

9/18/2017, 10:06:33 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Maeldryn

Agreed.

6/15/2017, 7:17:54 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Leillia
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Could I also say "Is the train not late?"

6/8/2017, 3:39:27 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/reosato
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In that context, you would say 電車、遅れていませんよね?as if you are confirming with the person. By using 遅い (conjugated to 遅く), people would connote to the speed of the train itself, not the delay. On the other hand, 遅れている is a state, identifying that the subject is 'late'.

The nuance for my translation 「電車、遅れていませんよね?」would be "The train is not late right?" though.

Something closer might be 「電車、遅れてないんですか?」= train, late not? as if you were thinking that train would arrive late but realise it is actually not.

Sorry, I am not a specialist for language so my explanations might be hard to understand.

11/16/2017, 10:40:09 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/wyqtor
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Of course you can. I will report it too.

6/11/2017, 1:13:16 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertKinzie

good luck on reporting things to DL Japanese.....

3/3/2018, 3:15:52 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/cloverich

I dont know if it used to be slow but ive had about five of my suggestions be accepted (as a beginner in japanese)

6/12/2018, 2:51:08 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/telemetry
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I think because it's still in development they're pretty active about reports, so they can get it ready for release! I've had suggestions for other languages accepted after literal years, so the Japanese team is working lightning fast in comparison ;)

Always report stuff you're sure is correct though, it helps the team and other students

6/27/2018, 6:02:24 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/vA7T3
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A few of mine have been accepted in the last few weeks as well.

6/16/2018, 8:47:04 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertKinzie

yep things are getting faster

6/28/2018, 2:38:53 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Robert931915

That's - sorry, that IS - exactly what I wrote, and was likewise penalised.

7/8/2017, 9:13:49 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/ErinBubbles

My brain processed this as, "Trains, aren't they slow?" For English grammar purposes, I probably should have written it as "Aren't trains slow?" instead. Could this be a possible translation, or would that be said in a different way?

8/26/2017, 9:42:06 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Maeldryn

As best as I can see from future questions like this one, it seems the statement is better understood when translated literally without applying any English contractions. ie: Train(s), not slow is(are) it(they)? It seems the intention of the question is to confirm that the train is not slow, rather than asking for agreement in the implication that trains are indeed slow.

@ErinBubbles There is a different Japanese statement that says what you suggested. It uses the tag question "ne" (ね) at the end. An example would be 電車はおそくないですね?

8/27/2017, 5:44:39 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/FrederickEason
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Wouldn't it be 電車はおそいですね "Trains are slow, aren't they?" おそくない makes me think it's saying "Trains aren't slow, are they?" What's the difference between using the negative and positive forms of the adjective in this sentence?

11/7/2017, 3:26:16 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/AndrewCott12

i m wondering this as well.. i read it as arent slow/late

11/8/2017, 2:41:43 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/ErinBubbles

Thank you! :)

8/29/2017, 4:11:25 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Maeldryn

Get used to this kind of translation for a while. There are lots of future questions like this. Personally I feel that "Isn't it" corresponds to ね much better than to the use of ー"くない". Also later on in the course are double negative sentences (which in Japan can be considered more polite apparently). Hang in there!

6/19/2017, 8:10:12 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AndyUr
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What is the purpose of that comma? Wouldn't a 'ga' be used instead?

10/12/2017, 12:45:43 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AJC0Wl
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Oh, I see. When I leave out the marker particle, it's wrong; but when Duo does it, it's fine...

8/6/2017, 1:44:05 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Flviodomin3

電車、遅くないですか?

7/9/2017, 11:12:51 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Jimmy20643
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Why isn't there a subject or topic marker after train?

11/5/2017, 3:53:16 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/the_orange
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Why not "densha wa"

8/6/2018, 6:44:28 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/DillTheHerb

That's exactly what I thought too.

8/14/2018, 10:29:28 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/xstof
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same here. This way it sounds like some awkward conversation between two strangers stood waiting for a train. one looks sideways at the other, and rolls his eyes: "trains, huh? aren't they late?"

9/6/2018, 12:58:35 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/VeranoJoe

I'm guessing the comma can also be used to indicate the topic instead of "wa"?

6/8/2018, 11:33:34 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/CyberShadowMD

I tried answering with "The train is not late?" and got "The train, is not it late?" as the correct solution, which does not appear to be correct English.

9/14/2018, 8:53:40 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Sarah748154

Honestly, I would have never figured saying, "Isn't it late?"

6/18/2017, 3:06:26 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/StuartRatc

The train isn't late, is it?

7/4/2017, 3:21:18 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/nich227
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電車、遅くないですか?

1/17/2018, 6:01:30 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/BrittanyRo14

This hurts my brain >< I keep translating it as "Is the train slow." This doesn't sound like it's asking for agreement. This looks like it's asking a generic question. I've read the explanations above but I'm still lost..."kunai" what is this??

12/5/2017, 4:51:28 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/LordOfTheAndain

There are two kinds of adjectives in Japanese, i-adjectives and na-adjectives. All i-adjectives end in -i, but there are also na-adjectives ending in -i so you need to learn for each word which is which. You can negate an i-adjective by replacing the -i with -kunai, so osoi means slow/late and osokunai means "not slow"/"not late".

2/8/2018, 12:38:00 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/NickMarsto1
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Just for clarity: is this construction used to elicit further conversation regarding the lateness of the train, on the premise that both parties already recognise the fact that it is late, rather than to seek confirmation from the other party that that is indeed the case?

1/13/2018, 5:17:15 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/ChinhDao2

My brain translate this sentence as follow Train, is not late, isn't it?

1/20/2018, 4:34:14 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Phantom961
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I put "the train is slow, isn't it?" and got it correct. I was going to put late but I just didn't know how in the context "the train is not late isn't it?" was the only other translation my brain could come up with but it sounded weird. Could someone explain how to differentiate the two in a context? Also it's been asked a few times already, why the comma instead of a particle?

1/28/2018, 3:51:46 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/telemetry
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I posted a longer explanation somewhere in here, but basically this negative-question form is how you say "isn't something the case", "didn't you do some action" etc.

The thing with the missing particle, it's basically a more informal sentence. You can drop them if they're not necessary for the meaning to be understood - in this case, by saying 電車 first (with a little pause too) it's clear that the speaker is talking about the train, it's the subject of the sentence

It's just more polite to speak "correctly" and explicitly use particles everywhere they go - similar to English, where you can do things like turn give it to her into give it her. It's still understandable, but it's less formal

(The comma is just marking that pause the speaker makes after mentioning the subject)

6/29/2018, 11:24:41 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/yiOqY5Vh

Lol here I am translating it literally as "isn't the train slow?". but to be fair, a lot of sentences on here are a bit out there so it is hard to tell if they really wanna teach you sensible stuff or just randon stuff almost noone would say

2/26/2018, 4:40:52 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Sonokenokino

I think the negation towards the end of the sentence is binding with the question ですか instead of the adverb おそく. So I kinda process this as "The train is late, isn't it?"

9/1/2018, 4:41:35 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/DestinyEas2
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Would I not be able to say 'Is the train late?' As it holds the same weight as 'isnt the train late?'

12/24/2018, 2:40:47 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/reosato
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Native speaker here, that would be a valid translation. That is indeed english equivalent to 「電車、おそくないですか」

1/6/2019, 6:17:48 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/chebal
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電車、遅くないですか? The train is late, isn't it?

1/1/2019, 6:49:13 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/KateFung3

Trains, aren't they slow lmao

3/12/2019, 12:45:04 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/IcoX.
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Trains are slow are they not?

7/4/2017, 7:34:22 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/envyvice
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Wasn't osoku nai = not late/slow? Meaning it's early/fast. So if it's a question wouldn't it be: is it fast? I'm so confused...

11/12/2017, 1:35:18 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/sotnosen93

In meaning maybe, but "not late/slow" and "early/fast" are two different words in both Japanese and English and it's best to be precise with your translation, especially in a lesson where the Japanese word for early/fast ALSO shows up. Plus, "not late/slow" does not necessarily equal "early/fast". What if it shows up exactly at the time it's supposed to or is just medium speed?

7/12/2018, 3:44:22 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/JosephOrla4
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Wouldn't "The train isnt late is it?" be better?

12/6/2017, 8:40:31 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Michelle581054

What's wrong with "the train - is it late?"

1/26/2018, 10:23:34 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/KazuriahBu

Is the train not late?

2/8/2018, 12:52:03 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Xestrix

Accepted "The train is late, right?", which I thought sounded natural, even though this sentence doesn't end in ね or よね.

2/14/2018, 10:15:51 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertKinzie

Two "Correct" answers were given. The one above "Isn't the train late?" and "The train is slow, isn't it?". Given how picky DL Japanese can be about the 'only' answer, these two 'correct' answers are pretty different aren't they?

3/3/2018, 3:18:44 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Tom92870
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The train is not it late? doe not sound like very good English

3/28/2018, 6:15:53 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Monoverse

can someone tell me why it is "densha, ..." instead of "densha ha ..."?

4/3/2018, 11:51:08 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/David208499

I think a more natural translation of "Isn't the train late?" would be "電車は、あそくないんですか?". The ん is short for the explanatory の particle.

4/23/2018, 6:45:00 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertKinzie

for some reason I put "Isn't the Tokyo train late?" DL Japanese accepted it

6/28/2018, 2:38:20 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Seattle_scott
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Train, is it late? Is the train late is wrong, because there is no は. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this question needs to be revisited by the contributors.

7/4/2018, 2:39:47 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/sotnosen93

1) "Train, is it late?" is not grammatically correct English. You need an article, preferably "the". 2) The Japanese sentence is a negation, so that would be "is it not late". 3) If telemetry's explanation is correct, the は is not necessary in casual speech, a simple pause is enough.

7/12/2018, 3:50:36 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Emily06182005

Can it be, "The train, it's late?"

7/6/2018, 4:58:13 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/sotnosen93

Since the Japanese sentence is a negation, it's probably best to make the English translation one too. Also, from what I've gathered from the comment section, it seems this sentence is more conversation-starting ("Gee, this train sure is late, isn't it?") than information-gathering ("Is this train late?") in nature.

7/12/2018, 3:53:01 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Seattle_scott
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電車は遅くないですか? would make a better sentence for learning

7/6/2018, 11:21:57 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/DillTheHerb

The comma should be replaced by a WA. This is like saying "Pizza, good right?" instead of saying Pizza is good right? You NEED the particle. Of course you could use the comma option, but that's dumb and weird. -_-

8/14/2018, 10:26:30 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Nevermemory

How does one know that おそくmeans late not slow here?

8/28/2018, 9:50:09 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Manlio299961

Could you translate it in the plural form? "are the trains not late?"

9/29/2018, 9:17:03 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Joan949972

Same same

2/11/2019, 1:32:24 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/moneyg1

the train, it is not late?

different meaning in english

2/28/2019, 12:44:20 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/sredeker
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"Is the train late?" has the same meaning as "Isn't the train late?" so that answer should also be correct.

10/16/2018, 11:19:55 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/sotnosen93

It may have the same general meaning, but one is a negative and the other isn't. I think 電車、おそいですか? or something like that would be the translation to your sentence.

10/27/2018, 7:39:50 PM
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