Translation:I eat rice.
i just got the sentence ごはんは食べません, which uses は, whereas this sentence uses を. is that because, the first sentence means "i do not eat rice in general" and thos sentence means "i am currently eqting rice"? so if i wanted to say, i am not eating rice now, but i do other times, would it be "ごはんを食べません"?
Seconding this, I just want to point out that while 食べます and 食べません are defined as "present tense", they are not used to describe actions you are currently doing (or not doing). Those actions require present progressive tense, which in Japanese uses て-form with います.
Confusingly, present tense verbs in Japanese describe general actions, habitual actions, and near future actions. In our exercise, this means it can be roughly translated to "I eat rice as a matter of general principle", "I regularly eat rice", or "I am about to eat rice."
I agree in part, because the "masu" form in Japanese can be used for simple present tense ("I eat") and simple future tense ("I will eat") in English.
I personally prefer to use the exact terms above (specifically simple present and simple future tense) to describe it though, because just "non-past" still leaves leaves a host of other tenses that people could potentially confuse it with. This is especially the case with the present progressive tense ("is/am/are eating") that JoshuaLore9 mentioned above, and that needs to be conjugated in Japanese as 食べて います
を is a particle for "direct object", which means that the next verb is "done to" that object. So with "を" you're saying "I eat rice" as in "what are you doing?", "I eat rice" (note that it's not a continous action); with "は" you're saying "I eat rice" as in "I can eat rice". Now, I'm learning Japanese too, so CMIIW~~
Relating to this it is increasingly annoying how in the course when you however above kanji it gives different reading than when actually playing the audio for whole sentence. Combined with the lack of any real reference catalogue for the kanji you've been introduced to and all their different readings it is pretty confusing = _=
That's right, almost all kanji has multiple readings. I think the general rule is that the Chinese reading, or on'yomi, is usually used when the kanji is used in combination with other kanji, for example 食品 shokuhin. But on its own or in combination with hiragana (excluding particles), the Japanese reading, or kun'yomi, is used. Hence 食べます is tabemasu
Yet, I think that both translations (with the article and without) should both be correct.
It is true there are no articles in Japanese; however, the message of "gohan o tabemasu" is "I eat rice" with the "o" making "rice" the object of the action. Without a context, some important information is missing: thus, if this phrase would be said with a bowl of rice in front of me, we would assume I am making a reference to "the rice" I have in front of me. In English, I'd use a determined article; in Japanese, we'd assume the rice we're talking about by the context.
So, exact translations are always an issue, specially in two languages as different as English and Japanese. Thereby, I found more accurate to translate the message and get to know the meaning and proper usage of the language rather than learning how to translate word to word.
P.S: I've reported it to help improve this beta :)
How am i supposed to know when are we talking about me or talking about you or someone else? It may sound stupid but i thought the answer was eat rice, since i only saw gohan wo tabemasu
I ask cause im reading that watashi or anata can be somehow muted words in sentences like this i think?
In Japanese, there are (at least) two "forms" for every verb; the "plain"/casual form (which is also called "dictionary" form since this is the form verbs appear in in the dictionary) and the "formal"/polite form. たべる is the plain form for "to eat".
When we conjugate to make the polite form, we first have to figure out which group of verbs it belongs to. There are two main groups, plus the "irregular" group. The two groups go by different names, depending on how you learned them, but I learned godan and ichidan (literally "5-step" and "1-step").
Luckily for us, たべる is an ichidan verb so to get the polite form, we make the verb stem たべ, by simply dropping the る. Then all that's left is the add ます back on the end of the verb stem, and we get たべます, the polite form of たべる.
Copied from one of my earlier answers:
「I think the general rule is that the Chinese reading, or on'yomi, is usually used when the kanji is used in combination with other kanji, for example 食品 shokuhin. But on its own or in combination with hiragana (excluding particles), the Japanese reading, or kun'yomi, is used. Hence 食べます is tabemasu」
Well, the first thing you have to realize is that the two are not simply interchangeable.
"Desu" is a bon fide, fully-fledged verb, all on its own. It is typically translated as "is/am/are" because it is a copula which fulfills a similar role as those words do in English. If you want to say "A is B" in Japanese, it's ＡはＢです. For example: "John is American" would be ジョンさんはアメリカ人です. (The は is there to indicate the direction of the verb: it's "John is American", not "American is John".)
"Masu" on the other hand, isn't a complete verb on its own. Rather, it is one way to conjugate verbs, specifically to turn verbs into their polite present/non-past tense form. So, "masu" only tells you half the story, the tense. The other half of the story, the meaning, comes from the other part of the verb, the
In this exercise, 食べ- is the verb stem which comes from the root verb 食べる. There are a bunch of complicated rules for how to get the verb stem from the root verb and how to conjugate verbs into different verb forms, but suffice it to say that 食べ- carries with it the idea of "eat". When you conjugate it with -ます, you complete the verb so it conveys meaning and tense.
For all other verbs besides です (which is a special verb that doesn't have a verb stem), when you conjugate them into their respective polite present/non-past tense form, you will always end up with [verb stem]+ます.
As a beginner, you don't have to worry too much about how to figure out the verb stem yet, and can learn the -ます form of the verb as "the verb", but keep in mind that "masu" is only one part of the verb.
This is how Duo have chosen to introduce them, though personally I think it's unnecessarily complicated for a beginners' course. In fact, using は instead of を can be done with positive and negative sentences, where it adds emphasis to the object. Granted, this emphasis is much more common for negative sentences, since you're more likely to want to emphasize the exclusion of something than its inclusion, so Duo kind of gets it right, but both scenarios are fairly common and natural.
On the other hand, using を with negative sentences is also common and natural, if you don't particularly want to emphasize the negativeness of the sentence.
Because its sound blends with the other sounds around it. When "wo" is used in this sense, it really becomes just "o" and you ignore the "w", which it so why it usually blends in with other vowel sounds. Also Duolingo pronunciations aren't always what I would call "the best".
Japanese is highly contextual. This sentence lacks a clearly specified topic/subject, and usually when that happens we assume you're talking about yourself, hence "I eat rice". But if you were in the middle of a conversation about someone else, and you'd already mentioned you were talking about him right before this, this sentence can also be taken to mean "HE eats rice".
Note that Japanese does not have separate conjugations for simple present and simple future tense, so depending on context, this could also be translated as "I/He will eat rice."
Just make sure you select the "my answer should be accepted" option (annoyingly for listening exercises, it doesn't exist, you should report that as a bug: https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/requests/new)