"田中先生は日本語と英語がはなせます。"

Translation:Professor Tanaka can speak Japanese and English.

1 year ago

167 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/daitenshi1

There is nothing in this sentence that would indicate Tanaka-sensei is a woman.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gasezefe
  • 10
  • 10
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 2
  • 6

There is nothing to indicate that tanaka is a man either, so both should be accepted

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AllenSturd
  • 10
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2

Why should a title be used at all? There is no さん.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

The honorific used is 先生 ("sensei"), which usually translates as "teacher" or "professor".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/XanderMay

So wouldnt that mean we should use the word teacher nor Mr?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

No, unless you address your teachers as "Teacher Smith" instead of "Mr Smith". Translation is about usage, not word-for-word substitution.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mbprend

I like that, "Translation is usage, ..."

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mbprend

Translated literally, yes. But. In English we commonly call teachers by Mr/Ms/Mrs/Miss Surname e.g. Mr Tanaka.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cypher32073

You would use san as Mr. for perhaps your neighbor and sensei for your teacher

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hylic
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2

Aparently duolingo considers 'professor' to be correct.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Well yes, because we don't use "teacher" as an honorific in English. It's just that in Japanese, "sensei" can be an honorific or a job title, like "professor" or "doctor".

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sealiony

either Mr or Ms works. this is a correct localization of the phrase. if someone is a teacher in english, we denote that by calling them Mr/Ms X. the gender here was not important.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FelipeReisSilva
  • 19
  • 13
  • 9
  • 6
  • 4
  • 3
  • 20

Tanaka is a surname

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LoreMus98
  • 19
  • 13
  • 13
  • 10

Duolingo staff please add some grammar, otherwise it gets way too confusing

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Catraption

Look at the sentences and you can find out the grammar for yourself. Its not that hard.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/E.Kupfer

OK. Then why is "Tanaka is a teacher and he speaks Japanese and English." an incorrect translation? I don't understand why that's wrong.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

"Tanaka is a teacher and he speaks Japanese and English" is two sentences joined together: Tanaka is a teacher. He speaks Japanese and English. In Japanese, that would be

田中は Tanaka (topic)
先生 teacher
です is
日本語と英語を Japanese language and English language (direct object)
はなします speaks

The sentence you're asked to translate is "Mr/Ms/Prof Tanaka can speak Japanese and English". In Japanese, that's

田中先生は Prof. Tanaka (topic)
日本語と英語が Japanese language and English language (subject)
はなせます can speak

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pi62e
  • 10
  • 10
  • 8
  • 7

ありがとうごだせます!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RVJioWts

It's pretty close and I can definitely understand why you're getting confused.

First, regarding "Tanaka is a teacher" vs. "Professor/Mr./Mrs. Tanaka" - You can clearly see the difference here in English. "Tanaka is a teacher" is a complete sentence on its own that tells you that Tanaka is a teacher. The second one, on the other hand, is just a title for Tanaka. It's not a complete sentence on its own.

If you wanted to say "Tanaka is a teacher" in Japanese, it would be 田中は先生です。Here, です is acting like the verb "is" in English. You can see how this is a complete sentence - it has the topic (田中), the topic marker (は), a verb (です), and what we're saying about the topic using the verb (in this case, 先生). Contrast that with just 田中先生, which is what we're give in the sentence. This is just Tanaka's name and then a title attached to it. It's similar to saying 田中さん.

Secondly, regarding "speaks Japanese and English" vs. "can speak Japanese and English" - This one you're probably getting kind of tripped up because in casual speech, "speak(s)" can be substituted for "can speak" and everyone will know what you mean. "I speak English" and "I can speak English" would mean the same thing to you if you heard them in a conversation, right? But technically there is a difference as you can quite obviously see (the word "can"). In Japanese, that difference is a different verb conjugation. "Can speak" is はなせます, while "speaks" would be はなします. Since the provided sentence uses はなせます, you need to translate it as "can speak."

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Abtahi4

Well it says 田中先生 which is literally "Tanaka teacher". What youre describing is a complete statement. "Tanaka IS a teacher" would be 田中は先生です

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Schizo_Rhino

Can I use は instead of が as an indicator(?) I can't seem to grasp the difference. How would the meaning change if we change the indicators?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shellax
  • 14
  • 11
  • 10
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

I like to think of it in terms of implications. 田中先生 [on the topic of Tanaka-sensei] 日本語と英語 [on the subject of Japanese and English] はなせます [can speak/ability to speak]

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HoroTanuki

I'm more confused with why we don't use を as an direct object particle here regarding the languages. I know some verbs use が and some use を but how do you know which one uses what?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

In this case, because the verb is in its potential form, が is used instead of を. The direct object particle doesn't work for any ability to do something because nothing is actually being spoken by Mr. Tanaka; he has the ability to speak even if he isn't speaking. Consider the following two examples, which mean the exact same thing:

  • 田中先生は日本語と英語話せます。
  • 田中先生は日本語と英語話すことできます。

The second sentence uses a slightly more advanced grammar structure, but suffice it to say, できます means "to be able to do" (the potential form of します), and verb+こと is one way to normalize/noun-ify verbs in Japanese. The second sentence translates more literally as "As for Mr. Tanaka, speaking Japanese and English is something he is able to do."


Another common way to differentiate between using を vs が is to recognize whether a verb is transitive or intransitive. The difference isn't always clear in English, but Japanese is quite overt about it. Likewise, Japanese is pretty strict about which particle to use with which form. Since transitive verbs require a direct object, を must be used; and because intransitive verbs don't have a direct object, が must be used.

For example, the verb "to cool down" in English can be transitive or intransitive depending on how it's used, but in Japanese, the transitive form is 冷やす (ひやす) while the intransitive form is 冷える (ひえる). So we can come up with the following sentences:

  • スープ冷やしました。(すーぷをひやしました) "I cooled the soup down." (Transitive)
  • スープ冷えました。(すーぷがひえました) "The soup cooled down (on its own)." (Intransitive)

This next part is getting fairly advanced, but because を must be used with transitive verbs, が is still free to indicate the agent (subject) doing the verb. To indicate the agent for intransitive verbs, が can't be used (because technically, the subject is the object itself), so で is used, indicating the means by which something is done.

  • スープ冷やしました。(かぜがすーぷをひやしました) "The wind cooled the soup down." (Transitive)
  • スープ冷えました。(かぜですーぷがひえました) "The soup cooled down because of the wind." (Intransitive)

I hope this helps, rather than confusing you more f(^_^;

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/R0AHN1

Proper use of "ga" is something you'll pick up on. Can generally be used in a sentence to clarify a topic or indicating a change of topic. Subject can often be left out if it is clear from context.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TsukuyoGintoki

I was told a trick is that wa is at the the beginning, when the subject is first introduced. Then after that you use ga.

Apparently, it's not a

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wKps16
  • 11
  • 3
  • 7

oh hello there Rachael, or zack

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JanGeisler2

Why is hanasemasu used instead of hanashimasu?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sora_Japan
  • 25
  • 8
  • 3
  • 172

Because there is 'can' in English sentence.

can speak.話せます。or 話すことができます。

speak.話します。

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lilmndesdes

So what does 「せ」 and 「し」 do? They just change the meaning of the verb?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

Hmm, せ and し indicate different grammatical tenses of the verb.

As you can see in Sora's earlier comment, 話します and 話せます both use the same kanji (話). Both actually come from the same root verb, 話す which means "to speak".

ます is the polite present tense version of the verb, so it also means "to speak".

ます is the polite potential tense version of the verb which we don't have in English, but we make use of the helping verb "can", so it means "can speak".

Other verb forms exist which can be constructed from the same root verb, using different set rules. For example, polite past tense = 話まし, causative tense = 話させる, conditional tense = 話せば, etc.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Your information is good, but my one little nit-pick would be that I wouldn't call it a tense. Tense is what places a verb in time: past, present, future. I'd call it a mood, like indicative vs subjunctive vs conditional vs potential.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sora_Japan
  • 25
  • 8
  • 3
  • 172

The English teacher taught us past form of verb when I was a student. "It's very easy. Add 'ed' the end of the verb." Next he said 'unfortunately some words are not belonging to this rule, so you have to memorized them. About fifty words only.' So we were repeating like singing songs, without thinking. "do did done, eat ate eaten". No problem. Approximately 50 words only. only. only. only!? I don't know the theory yet. But enough to me. He was right, I think.

(though sometimes I forget them yet.:I)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

@ JoshuaLore9

"Mood" is the technical term and derives from "modality".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tense%E2%80%93aspect%E2%80%93mood

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

I hear what you're saying, and I'm definitely not a linguistics expert, but "mood" sounds a bit strange to me too. Perhaps I'll stick to calling them "forms" from now on :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HoroTanuki

Conditional is also good to know, 話せば "if [I] speak", and it's also often used in certain phrases, for example - "どうすればいい?" = "What should I do?" (it literally means "if I do what, it's okay", so the meaning is like "what would be the okay thing for me to do")

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sora_Japan
  • 25
  • 8
  • 3
  • 172

???

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mateu-san
  • 20
  • 19
  • 65

What's the difference between a topic and a subject?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

The subject is the grammatical subject. It's what is doing the verb.
The topic is the discursive subject. It's what the sentence is talking about.

Subject: Tom likes macaroni.
Topic: As for macaroni, Tom likes it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ImtiazBhasha

I translated 先生 to "master" because that's what I used to call my Karate master - Sensei Suresh.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

It's the difference between a literal translation and an idiomatic translation. Although since there are contexts where that is used, it should be accepted.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DariusLapn

I used "teacher", since that is often used here. Should be acceptable IMO.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/max._.idek
  • 18
  • 11
  • 9
  • 223

why are both が and は used here? isn't が supposed to emphasize what was said directly before the が and は supposed to emphasize what is said right after?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

It's discursive topic vs. grammatical subject. If they happen to be the same noun phrase, then using が vs は is a matter of emphasis or not.

Otherwise, が is for the subject and は is for the topic.

田中先生は日本語と英語がはなせます is essentially "As for Professor Tanaka, Japanese and English are languages he can speak."

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/max._.idek
  • 18
  • 11
  • 9
  • 223

i'm sorry but i dont really understand that can you elaborate please? thank you

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

In general, が marks the subject of the sentence and は marks the topic of the sentence.

田中先生は日本語と英語がはなせます breaks down as follows:

田中先生 Tanaka-sensei
(topic marker)
日本語 Japanese language
and
英語 English language
(subject marker)
はなせます can speak

Roughly: As for Professor Tanaka, Japanese and English can be spoken. (Except it's not in the passive voice. There is literally no other way to convey the Japanese syntax in English and still have it make sense in English.)

The reason why "Japanese and English" take the subject marker and not the direct object marker is because "can speak" is the potential form, not the actual form, and therefore technically there is no action to be received.

If it were はなします "speaks", then it would be

田中先生[は/が]日本語と英語をはなします

田中先生 Tanaka-sensei
[は/が] (topic marker/subject marker)
日本語 Japanese language
and
英語 English language
(direct object marker)
はなします speaks

Roughly: As for Professor Tanaka, he speaks Japanese and English -or- Professor Tanaka speaks Japanese and English.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jlaj62
  • 14
  • 13
  • 3

Does anyone else feel like this has escalated quickly? lol on the last lesson we were tested on individual hirigana and just look at this sentence!

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/forgetful-frank

Yeah, completely. The difficult level is not well adjusted in this course and even shows you words they did not take the time to show you with proper hiragana/kanji equivalence =\

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thrype
  • 11
  • 9
  • 6

I know that も is used for also, but I'm confused about と, could they be somewhat interchangable or is mo in the subject and to in the object?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

も is the subject (topic?) particle that translates as "also".

と is not a particle. It is pretty much literally "and" (although it's only used between nouns. "verb and verb" is a matter of conjugation.)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

Actually, I think both も and と are particles, and can be used interchangeably when listing things, but も emphasizes the inclusion of each element in the list, whereas と simply lists them.

In this example, 「田中先生は英語と日本語が話せます」simply lists the languages boring old Mr. Tanaka speaks, whereas「田中先生は英語も日本語も話せます」 stresses how awesome Mr. Tanaka is by being able to speak both English and Japanese.

By the way, both particles also have other uses which are separate from each other.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NicolasTHEZENAS

I don't see in this sentence the verb can tho ? I thought できる/出来る was used for can.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

はなす is the verb "to speak"

はなします is the verb "speak/speaks"

はなせます is the verb "can speak"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JanisaChatte
  • 25
  • 22
  • 19
  • 14
  • 14
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 3

Can someone explain why "Tanaka is a teacher of Japanese and English" is wrong please ?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Sensei is just an honorific, and the verb is "can speak", not "is".

田中先生は日本語と英語がはなせます

田中先生は = Tanaka-sensei / Mr. Tanaka / Prof. Tanaka
日本語と英語が = English and Japanese
はなせます = can speak

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DABurnside
  • 25
  • 17
  • 15
  • 12
  • 1035

日本語と英語が = Japanese and English

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Oops!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DABurnside
  • 25
  • 17
  • 15
  • 12
  • 1035

On the topic (は) of honorific titles (さんと先生, etc.), some years ago, there was an article in a Japanese newspaper about two neighbors who got into a brawl because one refused to use any honorific when he addressed the other. I don't remember the details, but the clear take-away was how important it is to be civil to each other, and that requires (among other things) using an honorific with names. Even children have one (chan, I think).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Children have at least two that I'm aware of. Younger children have "-chan" and older children/boys have "-kun".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LordOfTheAndain

In general, boys tend to transfer from -chan (which has connotations of "cute") to -kun at an earlier age than girls do, but both do and one shouldn't think of -kun as specifically denoting boys (or of -chan as specifically denoting girls).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

I agree that it's important to get used to the idea of honorifics, but that story sounds rather exaggerated and certainly not the norm of how Japanese people view honorifics. If it's clear you don't have a complete grasp of the language, I wouldn't worry about having to fight off all the Japanese people you might offend ;)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jon263984

Isn't there a difference between 'speak' and 'can speak' in Japanese? If do, the translation is slightly wrong.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Copied and pasted from the top of the page:

"田中先生は日本語と英語がはなせます。 "
Translation: Mr. Tanaka can speak Japanese and English.

The translation is correct.
はなします = "speak/speaks"
はなせます = "can speak"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

I agree with @Rae.F, but the English sentence "Mr. Tanala speaks Japanese and English" implies (without any other context) that he can speak Japanese and English, so the translation is perfectly fine.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

I get what you're saying, but I disagree that the translations are interchangeable. We're tasked with translating, not interpreting. Just as in English there is the difference between does and can, so in Japanese there is the indicative します and the potential せます. If we ignore this distinction, then we fail to learn the grammar that Duo is trying to teach us.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

I definitely see your point, and I can agree to disagree :P

In the general case, the distinction is definitely an important one to grasp, but my reasoning with 話せます is that there are so few cases that I can think of in English where "speaks {language}" doesn't also imply an ability to speak a language (even inserting "do/does" simply emphasizes one's ability to speak) that for a learning style like Duo's, which ostensibly does not teach grammar rules, "Mr. Tanaka speaks Japanese and English" is acceptable.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Claire164478

I wrote Mr teacher Tanaka can speak.... but it said it was incorrect and stated the answer was My teacher Tanaka can speak..... what part of that sentence is [my]? Like how does one show possession?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

So, in this case, possession is only implied. "My teacher Tanaka" is one possible translation of 田中先生, though this is only in rather specific contexts, and probably the closest correction Duo had to give you in its answer bank. "Mr teacher Tanaka" is incorrect, or at the very least, unnatural, English.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vedika770762

Why is wa and ha same?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

They're not.

は is normally pronounced "ha" when it's part of an actual word. But when it's used as a grammar particle (the topic marker), it's pronounced "wa". It's just a historical quirk.

わ is "wa" when it's part of an actual word.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HolyQuebec

why is ''tanaka is a teacher that speaks english and japanese'' not accepted or not valid? The answer says its Tanaka, a teacher, can speak English and Japanese and I really don't get it

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

The answer is not "Tanaka, a teacher, ..." It's "Mr/Ms/Prof Tanaka".

Sensei is just an honorific, and the verb is "can speak", not "does speak".

田中先生は日本語と英語がはなせます

田中先生は = Tanaka-sensei / Mr. Tanaka / Prof. Tanaka
日本語と英語 = Japanese and English
はなます = can speak

If it were "...speaks Japanese and English", then it would be

日本語と英語 = Japanese and English
はなます = speaks

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jaylieDzie

Can someone tell me what means がはなせます. Evey word

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

田中先生は日本語と英語がはなせます
As for Professor Tanaka, Japanese and English are languages he can speak.

田中 先生
Tanaka-sensei wa
Tanaka (person's name)
sensei (honorific used for teachers)
wa (grammar particle used to mark the topic of the sentence)

日本語 英語
nihongo to eego ga
nihongo (Japanese language)
to (and)
eego (English language)
ga (grammar particle used to mark the subject of the sentence)

はなます
hanasemasu
hana (the root of the verb, means "to speak")
se (part of the conjugation that means "can" or "is able to")
masu (part of the conjugation that makes is present tense and spoken politely)

Why is it 日本語と英語, the subject marker and not 日本語と英語, the direct object marker?

Because the verb はなます is in the potential form (can speak). If it were in the actual form, はなます (speaks) then it would take the direct object mark.

田中先生は日本語と英語をはなします
As for Professor Tanaka, he speaks Japanese and English.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/forgetful-frank

Ok, two big questions: 1. Can anyone explain me why would be "日本語と英語が" the subject of the sentence instead of Tanaka (surprinsinly the topic). If I had to guess I would have said '日本語と英語' is the topic (は) and Tanaka the subject (が).

  1. What difference is (nuances and all) between the exercise phrase and: "田中先生は日本語と英語をはなせます。" That is, with the Direct Object particle (を).
3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

This has been discussed on this page before, but in case your device just is not showing you any of the previous comments:



The subject is the grammatical subject. It's what is doing the verb.
The topic is the discursive subject. It's what the sentence is talking about.

Subject: Tom likes macaroni.
Topic: As for macaroni, Tom likes it.


In general, が marks the subject of the sentence and は marks the topic of the sentence.

田中先生は日本語と英語がはなせます breaks down as follows:

田中先生 Tanaka-sensei
(topic marker)
日本語 Japanese language
and
英語 English language
(subject marker)
はなせます can speak

Roughly: As for Professor Tanaka, Japanese and English can be spoken. (Except it's not in the passive voice. There is literally no other way to convey the Japanese syntax in English and still have it make sense in English.)

The reason why "Japanese and English" take the subject marker and not the direct object marker is because "can speak" is the potential form, not the actual form, and therefore technically there is no action to be received.

If it were はなします "speaks", then it would be

田中先生[は/が]日本語と英語をはなします

田中先生 Tanaka-sensei
[は/が] (topic marker/subject marker)
日本語 Japanese language
and
英語 English language
(direct object marker)
はなします speaks

Roughly: As for Professor Tanaka, he speaks Japanese and English -or- Professor Tanaka speaks Japanese and English.


Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you actually do it. Saying I can swim is not the same as saying I swim.

Also, the grammar in Japanese differs from the actual form to the potential form.

日本語と英語 = Japanese and English [direct object]
はなます = speaks

日本語と英語 = Japanese and English [subject]
はなます = can speak


田中先生は日本語と英語がはなせます
As for Professor Tanaka, Japanese and English are languages he can speak.

田中 先生
Tanaka-sensei wa
Tanaka (person's name)
sensei (honorific used for teachers)
wa (grammar particle used to mark the topic of the sentence)

日本語 英語
nihongo to eego ga
nihongo (Japanese language)
to (and)
eego (English language)
ga (grammar particle used to mark the subject of the sentence)

はなます
hanasemasu
hana (the root of the verb, means "to speak")
se (part of the conjugation that means "can" or "is able to")
masu (part of the conjugation that makes is present tense and spoken politely)

Why is it 日本語と英語, the subject marker and not 日本語と英語, the direct object marker?

Because the verb はなます is in the potential form (can speak). If it were in the actual form, はなます (speaks) then it would take the direct object mark.

田中先生は日本語と英語をはなします
As for Professor Tanaka, he speaks Japanese and English.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/forgetful-frank

Your reply is so good I'm gonna print it till I completely learn it

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thestrange219150

What does the と after 日本語 mean?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

と is "and", but only for joining noun phrases.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Uros31469

Why isn't teacher an accepted answer

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Please read the comments here:
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/22994500

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vl7lsC

I wrote "Teacher Tanaka can speak both English and Japanese." And it sad that it's wrong and I should write professor instead of teacher"。

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Yes, that's right. We don't use "teacher" as an honorific in English.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrey410378

Why I cant translate: Teacher Tanaka can speak... ???

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Because we don't use "teacher" as an honorific in English. That's just not something we would say.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sandy830075

Deveria estar: teacher tanaka can speak japonese and englhis. inves disso está: PROFESSOR tanaka can speak japAnese and English.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

El inglés no usa honoríficos de la misma manera. No utilizamos los honoríficos tanto como en japonés. "Teacher" no es un título o un honorífico.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gisemon777
  • 19
  • 14
  • 13
  • 29

Why teacher is not accepted?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

This has been discussed on this page numerous times already. "Teacher" is not an honorific.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeanne303904

Professor and teacher are the same right ?

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

There is overlap, but they are not synonymous. Also, "professor" is an honorific and "teacher" is not.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wKps16
  • 11
  • 3
  • 7

why does english have kanji word but other language(country) all in katagana (besides chinese and korean and japanese obviously )

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shinminskyline

i might be dumb but i cant tell why my answer '田中先生は日本語と英語が話せます。' wasnt accepted?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Apparently they don't expect you to know the kanji for "talk/speak" yet.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/erisahime

I was not expecting the use of "professor" and said "sensei" instead lol

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SomedaySup

My teacher Tanaka..... Is not an answer but giving this context is generally accepted in other translations in this very topic.

22 hours ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Can you provide links to those other sentences?

If you read the other comments on this page, you will find explanations as to why "my teacher Tanana" is not an appropriate translation. Although this is the first time I've seen someone try to include a possessive where there is none in the prompt.

18 hours ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IsaacArgue

Doesn't it defeat the purpose if the correct translation is "Tanaka-SENSEI can speak..."? I thought we were translating this to english? We dont have the same honorifics in english, so shouldnt this part be omitted?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

I half-agree with you f(^_^; that is to say, it's definitely a conundrum, but I can understand your argument for leaving Japanese honorifics out of English sentences.

At the same time though, I feel like many people will try to translate the honorific to the nearest English equivalent, and I think doing that often fails to capture the essence or the intent behind their usage in Japanese. For example, both -san and -sensei are often translated as "Mr./Mrs.", which clearly ignores the difference in respect (先生 being the more respectful term) and the information about the speaker's relationship with the subject.

And if you don't put anything in place of the honorific, "Tanaka can speak..." becomes somewhat disrespectful in English (especially because Tanaka is a common family name in Japan).

So, personally I don't think it's fair to say there is one correct way of dealing with honorifics that we should be using.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HoroTanuki

How about "professor"?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshuaLore9

In my opinion, "professor" is, like its Japanese counterpart 教授 (きょうじゅ), is a step up on "teacher" and 先生 in terms of respect.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kXJrp
  • 11
  • 84

I entered teacher and it said i had to enter professor...

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Because we don't normally use "teacher" as an honorific in English. It's highly unusual to address someone as "Teacher Tanaka". Generally, it's "Professor Tanaka" or "Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss/Dr".

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ShyvanaSmi

Why is "teacher tanaka speaks japanese and english " wrong

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

Please read the other comments before posting a question that has been asked and answered numerous times already.

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/E.Kupfer

"Teacher Tanaka" is not how native English speakers would express the idea. You could write "Professor Tanaka" and that would be the English equivalent of the Japanese.

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NavinRai4

i wrote "teacher Tanaka speaks English and Japanese" and it says wrong!! Why?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rae.F
  • 22
  • 18
  • 15
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1852

This has been asked and answered numerous times on this page already. "Teacher" is not an honorific in English, therefore it is not an appropriate translation. Also, it's the potential "can speak", not the indicative "speaks". For more details, please read this page.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LimeGreenTeknii

Mrs. Tanaka? I thought Tanaka was a boy's name.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sora_Japan
  • 25
  • 8
  • 3
  • 172

Tanaka is very popular family name (last name in your country) in Japan.

I'm not sure that why somebody down voted. foreign name is difficult. (add)

1 year ago
Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.