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  5. "マリアは先生です。"


Translation:Maria is a teacher.

June 9, 2017



Why do we say -さん after John but not Maria?


You can if you want to. It's like Mr/Ms


In this case would せんせい be more apropos than さん?


Perhaps after learning that Maria is a teacher, but in this very sentence? It seems redundant to say マリア先生は先生です


no, after マリア we have to put は, it is for indicate the subject of the sentence. You can also put さん, it's honourific but not obligatory


先生 is also an honorific, which can be used in place of さん. It is often used with teachers but also with doctors, for example マリア先生は医者です means "Dr. Maria is a doctor".

I specifically used it earlier to point out how redundant it sounds (I even said as much), but it's still correct Japanese.


if は is to indicate the subject of a sentence, why do they not specifically mention that it does that anywhere?


After learning that she is a teacher yes but in this particular sentence it would be "professor sakura is a professor" which sounds dumb


You dont. Japanese pronouns dont necessarily reflect or include gender. (Except Chan [female] & kun [male] which are used with younger people or people younger than the speaker)


Although this was not in the right comments feed, I would like to add that "kun" is only used for males, but "chan" can be used for both male and female. And is also used between friends or people in your close circle. It is used by all ages, it's just casual. (:


"Kun" can be used for women too, but it's usually used BY men.


Whoop Just ignore this one. I thought it was asking about pronouns aff


It's an honourific - basically, the equivalent of Mr, Ms, or Mrs. However, it's used way more frequently than its English equivalent and is even used on close friends. You use san on most names to be safe


San, kun, chan are suffixes


But just a moment ago you told me that Maria is a student!


Maria is everything


Maria is love maria is life


I'm confused as to why は is pronounced "wa" instead of "ha"


It's a particle in this sentence, connecting two different parts of the sentence, so that's why it's pronounced as "wa". Otherwise, with a few exceptions, it's always pronounced "ha" as normal.


Because in ancient history  は  was pronounce as fa but around 9th century began to be said as wa but even the sound change they still use the character in the same way when writing.


In Modern Japanese は is pronounced as wa as a partical.


If you click on the hiragana は, it gives you two meanings; "(indicates topic)" and "tooth".

Indeed, the word for tooth in Japanese is は, but from the context, it's obvious that the first meaning is correct. Further, if the meaning of "tooth" was intended, it would have been written in the appropriate kanji, 歯, since the hiragana は is usually reserved for its particle job.


Also since there is always a particle after topics, subjects, and objects, so that is also a giveaway. (:


How would you write "maria is my teacher"


I believe it would be

マリア は 私 の 先生 です。


Can someone confirm that? Would feel too easy If it was right ^^


I can confirm that Jake has it right :) Japanese is easy, once you figure out all the rules f(^_^;


マリア先生は私の先生です Would be correct too?


Grammatically yes but you're literally saying teacher Maria is my teacher.


From what I am seeing, that is technically correct but very awkward.

To put it in a Letterkenny quote, "that's just overhandling".




And sometimes, you can omit the 私. If the context is already centered on you, you don't need 私. For example, if you are asked who your teacher is, you can say "マリアさんです" or "マリアさんは先生です"


So this sentence they've given us "マリアは先生です." - If used within context, can also mean "Maria is my teacher" ?


I would like clarification to @amyhasnolife comment.


No. It cannot. マリアは先生です / マリアさんは先生です can never translate to "Maria is my teacher" because I can never think of such a circumstance.

Above comment said that if you are asked who your teacher is, you can say "マリアさんです" or "マリアさんは先生です." I don't think so. If you are asked who your teacher is, the question is either "誰先生ですか" or "先生誰ですか." If the question word is before the particle, the particle must be が. If the question word is after, then the particle must be は. Now the answer can only be マリア先生です or 先生マリアです respectively. So it is impossible to say "マリアは先生です" as "Maria is my teacher" in this case.


I believe doctor should also be accepted or a different option ahould be given because ive heard doctors in japan are also frequently called 先生


医師/医者 are doctor. 先生 is used when directly talking to one.


Also, when talking about a specific doctor to someone, I believe, if it's obvious by context. 先生 is almost like a pronoun for doctors in that respect.


I think that when doctors are addressed directly, they're often called 先生, but other than that 先生 generally means teacher. I believe so, anyway, I could be wrong.


先生 can be used as an honorific suffix for doctors, but is not the name of the profession itself. As a noun, it means teacher. As an honorific, it can refer to "authorities of wisdom and knowledge."


They also call their seniors as senpai.


Notice me, senpai


This really should have さん.


Not necessarily: you don't know anything about the relationship between the speaker, the listener or Maria, so you can't say whether it should or it shouldn't.


What's the difference between professor and teacher? I put professor and it said that was wrong


We have a word for professor: 教授(きょうじゅ)for those who teach in university :)


Why are the characters for sensei not pronounced that way when I hover over them?


That's just how kanji works in Japanese (which Duo's TTS program doesn't cope with very well). The pronunciation of a kanji depends on the context it is used in, so when 先 and 生 are used together in that order, they are pronounced sen and sei, respectively. When found on their own, they are usually pronounced saki and nama, which is probably what Duo gave you.


Could i just say Maria isa Sensei? Maybe she teaches Karate...? ;D


Noob question: Can someone explain why 'ha' becomes 'wa'?


Wow, maria went very quickly from student to teacher


Need - さん after Maria


No. What if Maria is your daughter? It would be impolite if you add さん in this case.


Yes, there is that case; however, John could be my brother or son... in this discourse, we can assume Maria, John or other person is out group. I mean really, what if Tanka-sensei was your father?


Why assuming? マリアは先生です is the given sentence to translate. So, the assumption is that マリア is within the speaker's group. It is wrong to assume she is out of the group and say the given sentence is wrong.

If the English sentence is given, then both with or without さん should be correct because of lack of context.


Actually, the sentence presented by the Duolingo App was in English, "Maria is a teacher." The answer was 「マリアは先生です」I clicked the button on the App to inform the proctor that 「マリアさんは先生です」was also acceptable. Based on the fact that I do not know Maria and even if I did, I would still use 「さん」 post fix; albeit, a family member. Through inferrence in this conversational vector, I do not know Maria nor is there any indication that she is "in group" based on the one line English sentence presented in the app. The answer of 「マリアさんは先生です」 should also be acceptable.


OK thanks, I always think that there should be a page separately for "Maria is a teacher" and "マリアは先生です" and this page マリアは先生です is displayed when the given sentence is Japanese... Maybe something changed again recently.


You'd still at least use ちゃん after Maria. I have friends who still call me Anaさん and vice versa. Different type of society.


Agree, they would use some form of address. I alway felt awkward using 「ちゃん」there is a fine line when you can use that :)


Why isnt it Maria is the teacher?


the teacher will be その先生 because you specify that particular teacher. その means the/that.


I agree with you, Keith, but could it also be a question of subject? マリアは先生です means "Speaking of Maria, she's a teacher", whereas 先生はマリアです "Speaking of the teacher, it's Maria". The latter would better translate to "The teacher is Maria", but the emphasis is still on a specific teacher being Maria, just like "Maria is the teacher" does.


先生はマリアです I agree it is "The teacher is Maria," but I can't think of any circumstances that マリアは先生です is "Maria is the teacher." The conversation is like this:

  • マリアさんは何の職業をしていますか。What is the job of Maria?
  • マリアは先生です。 Maria is a teacher.

If we want to construct "Maria is the teacher," then the conversation is probably -

  • どなたが先生ですか。 Who is the teacher?
  • マリアが先生です。 Maria is the teacher.

While マリアが先生です can be Maria is the teacher, マリアは先生です cannot be (unless someone can give an example.)


That was my answer and it was correct. So it seems like it has become an accepted answer.


I think you might be confusing ァ and ら ?


は this letter is pronounced as wa ...but why i need the answer..moreover what does this actually indicate in the sentence?


There are two very important particles in Japanese, ga が and wa は . When I taught Japanese, I would say that they point in opposite directions: が ga emphasises what comes before it and は wa emphasises what comes after it. MNEMONIC Ga - g comes at the start of the alphabet, wa - w comes at the end of the alphabet. So ga points to, emphasises what comes before it and wa points to, emphasises what comes after it. Maria wa -->Nihonjin desu. Maria is --> Japanese. NOT FRENCH OR SPANISH BUT Japanese. Maria <--ga Nihonjin desu. Maria <-- is Japanese. MARIA, NOT SUZIE OR JOHN.


It's necessary because it indicates that the thing before it is the topic, and sometimes the subject, of the sentence. It's hard to explain concisely, and there are many, many other comments on this and other exercises talking about the role of は (which is only pronounced wa when it is being a particle).


What happens if you leave out the wa after Maria?


Depends. CONTEXT! jazz hands

1) マリア、先生です。 You call out to Maria, and tell her you are a teacher.

2) マリア?先生です。 Someone asks you about Maria, and you tell them she is a teacher.

3) マリア先生です。 a) You are Maria. You introduce yourself as the teacher. or b) You introduce Maria as the teacher to someone else.


Oh, I just thought of another one. For 1) and 2), an alternative situation would be you calling out to Maria/asking for Maria, and telling her the teacher is here (on the phone) looking for her.


Why the です at the end?


That's just how Japanese sentences are structured; the (main) verb (which determines the tense of the sentence) goes last, and です is a verb.

As for why that is, I've heard that back in feudal Japan, ruling warlords were often swift to deal out harsh punishment. When saying the wrong thing could get you killed, having the thing that determines the tense (i.e. positive/negative, past/future) at the end gives you a way to change your statement on the fly, based on the reactions of people around you, without seeming to. I'm not sure how accurate that is though; seems like by feudal times, rules of language, like word order, would already have been more or less set.


"professor" should be accepted too


"Professor" is too specific a translation of 先生. The word for "professor" in Japanese is 教授 (きょうじゅ), and specifically refers to university-level teachers (and/or researchers). The word 先生 includes, but does not exclusively refer to them.


If we were to say "マリアが先生です。", would that mean we would be implying Maria is the one and only teacher? Wa and ga still confuse me.


It does not imply Maria is the only teacher. マリアが先生です only implies that from a choice of other persons, for example Mary/Tom/Peter/Maria, Maria is the teacher. (There can be other teachers.) マリアは先生です implies that from a choice of different occupations e.g. Driver/Secretary/Salesperson/Teacher, Maria is a teacher.

The ultimate guide to は/が particles


So, in this instance は would translate the です portion of the sentence to is? As opposed to I am?


No, は is used to make Maria the topic of interest (and subject) of the sentence, and does not contribute to the meaning of "is." です has the meaning of is/am/are depending on the subject. You can say わたしは先生です so です becomes "am."


Why is "Maria is a professor" not accepted?


This has been answered before. 先生 as a profession means a teacher, not a professor. Professor is a type of teacher but it has a specific word 教授. If one refers a person as 先生, then it can mean any type of person that holds a professonal qualification, e.g. a doctor, a chief cook, a chess master.


Isn't this rude? George Trombley, who writes "Japanese from Zero" recounts how he once omitted san from his girlfriend's name while talking to her grandfather. The grandfather blew up.


It can be rude but depending on context, adding -san will be ruder than not adding it (believe it or not).

One example is that マリア is your family members or collegues and you are introducing her to someone else. In this case, you must not add さん to マリア. Otherwise it will be impolite to that person because honoring your own family or colleagues will in effect lowers the status of the person you are talking to.


This whole not using the honirific is confusing me. I was taught it should always go.


Honorifics should always go* until you know what you're doing (to err on the side of caution). So, how do students ever get to that point of "knowing what you're doing" if they never get the exposure?

That being said, I also think it's much too early in the course to be confusing students with when to use certain honorifics.


If I wanted to specify that Maria-san is my teacher instead of just a teacher in general, how would that sentence look?


わたし= I

わたしの = my



Would it be correct to translate this like: "Maria is THE teacher?" or is there a special particle to indicate a specific object?


No. I have an explanation above


I think you would have to use ga instead of wa for the THE


Why maria use Katakana ?. Is a name in Japan should be use katakana


"Maria" is written in katakana because it's a common European name. Japanese use katakana for foreign words, including foreign names.

"Maria" and "Mariya" are also relatively normal Japanese names, and they could be written in hiragana or kanji, e.g. "Maria" as 真理亜 or "Mariya" as 麻里耶 (among many, many other possibilities).


I don't think this is necessarily correct. The word "sensei" generally is a title given for teachers, but when speaking on the occupation itself, you would use "kyoushi".

However, I did just research and apparently it is used like this sometimes in more casual situations and that sensei can be more formal. It's just since it's a title I had thought it was "Maria is MY teacher"


I think は gives less emphasis on what comes behind it. So like "Maria is a teacher". Ga gives more emphasis on what come behind it. So if you use ga in the previous sentence, it means "Maria is the teacher" Please correct me if I am wrong.


That's a good explanation.


My answer was I am a techaer Maria. How to translate my answer? 私わマリア先生です.Is this correct?


You could say 私はマリア先生です (the particle is は, not わ), which would mean "I am teacher Maria", although it's best to just say マリア先生です, without the pronoun.


Would putting the object (teacher) directly after the subject (Maria) be wrong? It seems with an earlier question they were lumped ahead of the identifier (は).


I am not sure what you mean. Do you mean the difference between マリア先生です and マリアは先生です? The former means "It is Teacher Maria" and the latter is "Maria is a teacher."


I wish answers in romaji were also accepted. This would help to get the spelling of kanji correct.


I put Maria is the teacher and still got it right so does that mean its the same as Maria is a teacher?


As I have explained above I don't think "Maria is the teacher" should be correct. Please check my earlier comment.


Когда надо использовать ですа когда ます?


Can i say "マリアさんは先生です."?


Yes. That is what it should say.


Mary should be ok instead of Maria, in English.


That would be マリ. マリア means Maria. No need to change it when it translates directly.


Japanese generally transliterates foreign words based on their pronunciation, not their spelling, so depending on how you pronounce it, Mary is more likely to be メアリー in most English speaking countries.


Names aren't translated (or they shouldn't be), if a person's name is Maria, it will be Maria in any part of the world. Just the writing and pronunciation change according to the language.


Which one's better: 1) マリアさんは先生です 2) マリアは先生です


It is not a question of better or worse. You have to use one or the other in different situation. I have already explained the reason. If you still do not understand, you'd better use the first one - マリアさん


So は - does it have multiple meanings? Because I could've sworn it meant can when doing the "Can speak dadadada" language tests.


Base meaning of は is to make the previous unit (word/phrase/clause) to a topuc. Derived meaning is to make the previous unit a target of contrast or emphasis.

は cannot mean "can." "Can" in Japanese is the auxiliary verb る/れる/られる. "Can speak" is はなす→はなせ+る→はなせる


When you click each letter, it gives a sound that is not sounded when you pronounce that word. Please explain.


Probably a bug


Copied from an earlier comment:

That's just how kanji works in Japanese (which Duo's TTS program doesn't cope with very well). The pronunciation of a kanji depends on the context it is used in, so when 先 and 生 are used together in that order, they are pronounced sen and sei, respectively. When found on their own, they are usually pronounced saki and nama, which is probably what Duo gave you.


See when the question is reversed, and I try and answer マリアは先生です。I get a "Incorrect" flag. THIS is the only place that has ever taught that it is okay to leave the san off when introducing an different title like sensei... So which one is it??! A little consistent clarity would be nice.


They really should change all of thr statements on here that say "Name here is a teacher" from "Name here wa sensei des(u)" into "Name here san wa Sensei des(u)." San is almost always going to be used after the teachers name anyway. San is a sign of respect we should get used to hearing it, if we want to understand Japanese.


Agreed for a beginner lesson. When we go to advance courses with honorifics, no, there are cases where Maria cannot be followed by さん. I have explained above.


So you leave the さん out of the sentence when referring to close friends?


It is, but not the complete story.

This sentence is used when introducing an in-group member to an out-group.


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