Translation:No, I am not a student.
Should I already have some Kanji memorized? Doesn't seem very helpful to match characters that don't necessarily represent specific sounds to sounds in a language I obviously don't know. For example, 中 seems to either sound like "naka" or "chu" depending on what it's combined with but I still don't know what it actually means on its own even though I get the answers right.
Long story short, most kanji have two readings, onyomi and kunyomi. One is the chinese reading and the other is the japanese reading.
Correct me if im wrong, someone, but i believe you use the chinese reading in words with only kanji, and japanese reading when used alone or with hiragana.
Yes, there are two main reasons I can think of. The first, as I said in an earlier comment, is because ではありません is the polite present negative tense of です which makes its function fundamentally different from just ありません (which is a conjugation of ある "to exist", which only applies to inanimate objects).
The second is that 学生 behaves as the object in "No, I'm not a student", but it's the subject in "No, there aren't any students", so it would require a different particle.
"No, I'm not a student" = 「いいえ、（私は）学生ではありません」 literally "no, (as for me) student am not"
"No, there aren't any students (here)" = 「いいえ、（ここに）学生はいません」 literally "no, (here) as for students, don't exist" (いません is "to exist" for animate objects)
You're very informative Joshua. You're currently my favorite commenter and the first person I look for.
I'd like some further elaboration if you will.
Could you give me a simple "dummy" example for remembering when to use "wa" and when "dewa"? Is "dewa" only paired with "arimasen"?
Also, if I'm understanding, you can't use "wa arimasen" for animate objects (apparently it would be "wa imasen"?), but you CAN use "dewa arimasen" for animate objects?
Thank you. I'm glad you find my comments useful :)
I'm not sure if this is the kind of example you were after, but hopefully it'll help:
- ケーキはありません 》"Cake doesn't exist." or "There is no cake."
- ケーキではありません 》"It is not a cake."
(The cake is a lie ;) )
As for では, it isn't always paired with ありません (or ない, the plain form of it), but it plays a very different role otherwise. This is a bit more of an advanced grammatical structure (so it might be more confusing than helpful at this point), but で is a particle which can be used to indicate the location where something occurs. In order to emphasize that location, it's possible to combine で and the topic particle は. For example, 日本では日本語を話します = "As for (being in) Japan, I speak Japanese", or "When I'm in Japan, I speak Japanese."
Your understanding is absolutely correct. If you're talking about the (non-)existence of animate objects, you would have to use はいません, but when you are describing what an animate object is (not), then you would actually have to use ではありません. (Again, this is fairly advanced so it might be more helpful to ignore the rest of this explanation for now, but) the reason for this is because で is also a particle which indicates the means by which something is done. So, if I said something like 日本人ではありません, it kind of translates to "A state of existence by being a Japanese person doesn't exist (for me)", in other words, "I am not a Japanese person". Because you're now talking about the means of being something or the state that something is in, it doesn't matter whether it was originally animate or not; the conceptual state that it is in is always inanimate.
*In this sentence, では is used instead of just は. Why is this?
^Is that what you mean?
では is used here because it is part of ではありません which is the negative version of です. So basically, it means "is/am not".
If you were to use は, you are now marking the topic as 学生 for the verb ありません which means "doesn't exist" (for inanimate objects). The sentence 「学生はありません」 would mean "There are no students" (except that you can't use ありません for students).
No, “de wa” does not mean “I am”. “de wa arimasen” all together means “am not”, “is not” or “are not”. Japanese runs by context and does not use subjects often, especially, if “I” or “you” are involved. Since a question is being answered, the assumption is that “I” am answering the question. For Duolingo, assume they mean “I am not” and assume questions are “Are you?” Hopefully a subject will be provided for third person questions and answers. It is as if it were egocentric to say “I” all the time and it would feel overemphasized to be used in this sentence. When asking a question, it would even be rude to use “you” in a question if I am talking to you.
Yes, ではありません is the negative version of です so it usually translates to "is/am not".
Be careful with your romaji though. There isn't one correct way to romanize Japanese, but I suggest remembering ではありません as dewa arimasen. It helps to remind you that the "a" sound is re-enunciated. Also, it's easier to see where you can change it when you want to vary the politeness (jya nai 》 jya arimasen ~ dewa nai 》dewa arimasen)
The best translation would be "No, I am not a student" but using "she" is also correct (and the followings ahould also be correct you/he/we/they). However, it cannot mean "there is not a student" because ではありません can never mean "there is." To say "there is not a student," we need to say "学生はいません."
Could someone please explain the concept of a topic particle? I'm struggling to really get my head around it. Also, is では functioning like a topic particle in this sentence or is it just inherently a part of the word ありません? Is there a difference between ありません and ではありません?
The は in ではありません is not a topic marker. It is the contrast marker. Please read the following https://www.learn-japanese-adventure.com/japanese-particles-wa-ga.html.
As for the difference between ありません and ではありません, Joshua and I have explained it several times already. Is there anything still not clear?
Well, "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (which should be treasured as such)" is a lot of characters to say 一期一会 (いちごいちえ), or "(the serene beauty of) sunlight as it filters though the treetops" for 木漏れ日 (こもれび).
English and Japanese are just different languages, so you simply can't compare them like that.
で is a particle used to represent the state where the action happens or the concrete state if the verb is a state verb. It translates to "as a state of."
は is a particle used to represent a contrast or stressing. In this case, it stressed the negative state at the end of the sentence.
The literal translation: No, (I) do not exist as a state of a student.
Learn the full vocabulary words themselves in context and the meanings of the kanji themselves rather than all of the readings
Student 学生 is "gakusei", made up of the meanings 学 learning and 生 life. You don't need to overly stress about which kanji makes the "gaku" sound and which makes the "sei" sound. Many kanji have many pronunciations and many words have irregular pronunciations for their kanji. Once you learn more words, the patterns and readings will more easily fall into place.