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  5. "女です。"

"女です。"

Translation:I am a woman.

June 9, 2017

60 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael821401

"It's a woman" didn't work, but it should, right? When an unknown person is being identified by their sex. I feel that I hear that in entertainment and news pretty frequently. Plus it's a bit more literal.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V2Blast

You are correct. Since the subject is not specified, that would be an acceptable translation. That said, it sounds a bit weird to me to refer to someone with the pronoun "it".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rusty533659

This is a subject that has evolved in various strange ways in everyday spoken English.

I've often heard "they" used when a person's gender is unknown, even if the speaker is certain that they're speaking about a single person. I've also heard the masculine used a lot for unknown gender identities, especially when older generations of adults are speaking. And when trying to be correct either way, "he or she" and "him or her" in some people's speech sometimes.

I'm not certain what's grammatically correct in English anymore... Maybe we are all an "it"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael821401

Well, I guess I should clarify a bit here... I think it's kind of weird to refer directly to a person as "it", I'm more thinking of a situation where you have the concept of a person (think "perpetrator" or something) but perhaps don't know what they look like at all. Like, where not just the gender is unknown, but the person is totally unknown...

It's hard to describe, but I've just now recalled a concrete example: There's a specific instance where I heard this sort of thing, in Ninja Gaiden 2: Our superninja protagonist is killing left and right on the "flying fortress" Daedalus, while his female accomplice is in some other part of the Daedalus, causing trouble with a rocket launcher. Over the intercom, a voice says that that two hostiles have been identified aboard the Daedalus: there's a "class A ninja", and there's a person with a rocket launcher. The guy on the intercom says he's trying to get a better look on the cameras... then he realizes what he sees and says 「女だ!」 which was translated as "It's a woman!"

I'd have to check that to make sure 100% that's what's said, but that example is probably where I got the idea here. I think in that sort of case, "it" isn't referring directly to the person but referring to the concept of the person, like an abbreviation of "the hostile is a woman" or "it's a woman who is blowing this aircraft up with a rocket launcher"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Natto591178

There also to common response to a knock at the door "who is it?".

In both cases, the speaker does not consider the unknown person to be a thing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lophane

i gotta say, you really went out of your way to explain what you meant. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PolyGoat8

I think because "です" is more polite, it's more likely referring to oneself, while ”だ” is more casual and possibly aggressive, and more likely stating something other than self...

this is totally an assumption though

like, if you say "i'm a woman" and say "女だ” it's odd and aggressive imo (in my opinion)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elizadeux

Calling a person "it" seems rude to me in English. At the very least, she's a woman would be better.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

In the following exchange, no native English speaker would substitute "she" for "it."

A: "Someone's coming up the street." B: "Who is it?" A: "It is a woman."

"She" is used after it is established that the person in question is female.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kaiyou10

Nop it is actually justified if you don't know the person.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tsartomato

well children are "it" anyway in english

i don't see anything wrong with they either, it's much better than when people start to stumble with long and dumb "he or she" and english created singular you anyway and even exported that in other languages, so that ship has sailed


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LukeMacDon18

"It" is referring to the topic at hand if you don't know the person's a woman. The topic is the sex of the person, and in this case "It's a woman!"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lillylluna

Wouldn't this be more along the lines of "I am a female" since 人 or 子 were never specified?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jansegre

I've seen it accept something like "I am female" in other lessons.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ya_boi_chris

It accepts "I am male" for 男です but not "I am female" for 女です. It's definitely a glitch and I reported it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nidal89852

Female haa it's own word: josei


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/staycheesy

I kind of wish the subjects were included in the sentences. I know it's often dropped, but that's typically when the subject is understood in context. These example sentences don't have context. The Japanese to English version of Duo has that, I don't know why they didn't also do so here. Just makes things less confusing and is helpful for beginners to see subjects in sentences.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/telemetry

You have to be careful with that kind of thing - you're not learning how to translate English sentences word for word, you're learning to express things in another language, and they don't all work the same.

Japanese (as far as I'm aware at my level!) seems to rely a lot more on implied context, where it's natural to omit certain things unless you really need to be specific. English has a lot of required sentence elements (which are often dropped in informal speech because they're actually unnecessary).

You need to be able to break out of the patterns your first language imposes on you, and learn to think and speak in the style of the foreign language you're learning - otherwise you'll sound unnatural, and you'll have trouble understanding other people. Your brain needs to adapt so it just gets what the other person must mean without you needing to think about it. You need to dive in, no crutches!

And yeah I know it's difficult, especially without any actual explanations about what's going on and what you need to look out for. Finding a good resource to read along with this will probably help a whole lot (have a look at... I think it's Tae Kim's lessons?) - but it'll get easier!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/staycheesy

Sorry for the misunderstanding, I'm not a beginner myself, but thinking back to when I started, it was helpful to have an understanding of the grammar usage of "ha". I'm not trying to imply that ALL the examples in Duo should have the subject, but a few would be nice to help people see it in action so they can at least "get" a basic grammar point before it's completely dropped. As I said, I know it's commonly not used, but it still exists and is important. Beginners should have to learn it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/telemetry

There's tons of them that use the topic particle though? These examples that omit it (or other elements like da/desu) are definitely in the minority in this course so far.

I'm saying it's important to have some of those more natural minimalist sentences so people get used to not having everything spelled out for them, or doing it themselves. If that's what you're saying too then great! But it looked like someone in a rare example with the topic dropped saying 'they should always explicitly include it', so I wanted to counter that in case any other beginners are reading and feel like they're facing a problem


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/staycheesy

I must be getting all the rare ones then xD I've only seen one "ha" so far, haha. I definitely didn't mean " they should always explicitly include it" so perhaps I phrased my comment badly. We seem to be in agreement though :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thkgk

What exactly is the difference between "女" and "女 の 人"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slavojaponic

I've read it's rude to use 女 instead of 女の人 or 女性, is that true?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IWantToNap

Is there anything keeping "They are a woman" from being correct here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

Given a context, "They are women" is possible but, again, without context the assumption is that the speaker is talking about herself.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/inwikz.

yes. I'm new to japanese, but 'desu' means "(implied subject) is" or 'it is'. So, the word 'they' in japanese would be a different word if your trying to be super specific. japanese is contextual, so depending on the situation, they could be the subject, or I could be the subject

"Onna desu." = "(subject...) is (a) woman" or "I am a woman", "You are a woman", "It is a woman". is not the same as "(japanese word meaning 'they') (wa, ga) onna desu." = "They, girl, it is." = "They is(are) (a) girl." the sentence with 'they' as the subject can't be translated the same because the word 'they' specifies the subject, and is before 'onna'. Unless the context suggests that subject is they. Duolingo uses the regular subject as 'I', so...

im a beginner not a pro, but hopefully I helped anyway. '':D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

The first rule that applies here is: "Desu" affirms something about a topic. Here it affirms that the (UNEXPRESSED) topic "is a woman."

The second rule that applies here is: The unexpressed topic is assumed to be the speaker unless it is clearly the person addressed (you), or there is a known 3rd person as topic. In short, the default order for identifying the topic is 1st, 2nd, 3rd person.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex6is

女 onna woman 男 otoko man

女の子 onna no ko girl 男の子 otoko no ko boy


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LastStarkgaryen

Expand possibilities for simple sentences whose subject is not clearly indicated. This could refer to first, second or third person depending on the context, which isn't provided in this brief sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

The default order in Japanese is first, second, third person. There is no trick here. This is how the language is used. The rule works consistently. You just have to remember it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

Someone gave me a -1. I stand by my comment. The default order is what it is, even if the truth is painful. If the utterance can apply to the speaker, it applies to the speaker. The second option is the person addressed and the third option, if the second doesn't work, is someone else. The sentence in question means, "(topic/subject) am/is/are woman." The unknown topic/subject could be anything but, if it can be the speaker, it is assumed to be the speaker. That is the way it works. That is what Duo wants. But, yes, the understood topic/subject could be just about anyone that would be known from context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

Still marked down for telling as it is. While the subject here is unexpressed and could be anyone in context, there is no context and, consequently Duo is right in wanting the first person. It might take a strange context for someone to say this at the "desu" level of formality, but that is the rule, folks.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/patupaka

i am curious why you got -1, and what is the counter argument from them.


[deactivated user]

    Couldn't this also say "There's a woman?"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HatchedSylveon

    That would be 女がいます (onna ga imasu)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

    A question deserves an answer, not a markdown.

    The sentence can't mean "there is a woman" because the function of "desu" is to affirm something about the subject. In this case it affirms that "onna" applies to an understood topic/subject.

    The verbs "aru (arimasu)" and "iru (imasu)" express existence.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cherubl

    "There is" is あります though right?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shinobusagi

    Not when talking about living things (people/animals); then you use います


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tara166383

    Right. So, if you wanted "There's a woman" it would be 女は/がいます。


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Randy33189

    Onna by itself has slightly rude connotations. There's an interesting feminist essay from the first half of the 20th century on this topic.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LittleWhole

    Btw, 女 alone is read as おんな, 男 alone is read as おとこ, but 男女 is read as だんじょ.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pbandjoselly

    So, how would you write, "I am female" in Japanese?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikiG823

    I was taught that when referring to a woman (yourself or otherwise) be it in written form or spoken, it should always be as 女の人 or 女の子 as just 女 alone can be considered rude and offensive.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GabrielBat975352

    Congrats to everyone who made it this far


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BMGX4H

    From what I've seen in other language lessons here on duolingo, this question is usually in the starter lesson.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/B_2_H

    I really don't like the English translation. This can mean a lot depending on context. It's literally "a women is." The implied I doesnt work well. As a man I can use this sentence and that context alone would change the meaning from I am a woman to something else.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/floristfawn

    I'm not an expert of course, but I think I've really only heard simple sentences like this- noun, followed by です, to mean "I am (noun)." Like "Kaitlinです," or "25さいです." If it were after a question I think it could be like "what is that?" "It's a woman," or whatever, but on its own I generally assume it to mean "I am x."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aoidaisy

    In the case of picking a translation that will be accepted here, you are most likely correct. Duolingo tends to assume the subject is "I" even when not given. However, in reality B_2_H is correct. You cannot assume that every sentence that follows the nounです pattern means "I am (noun)." A man could say this sentence is response to a question about someone else and he would definitely not be saying "I am a woman."

    It's best to keep in mind that you can't assume you know who the subject is unless you've heard more of the conversation.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

    "Desu" is not a copula like "is" or the equivalent in Indo-european languages. Traditional Japanese grammar calls it "dantei" or "affirmative." The structure "onna desu" is a predication that affirms "onna" of the unspoken topic. The presumptive topic is the speaker unless known to be something or someone else.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

    It is not literally "a woman is." It is "(omitted subject) is woman." The verb "desu" affirms "woman" of an unexpressed topic/subject. Duo conventionally wants "I", which would be correct on the assumption that the speaker is talking about herself. Actually, the subject could be just about anything that could be called "woman." Know this and just give Duo what he wants.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

    "Desu" doesn't state existence, it affirms predications. 女です can't mean "A woman is" unless you are talking about some inverted word order such as "Mary a woman is."

    女です means "(understood subject) am/is/are (a) woman/women." Subject, number and gender all have to be supplied in English from context. Any subject is possible but the rule is that in a statement with no context the speaker is assumed to be talking about him/herself. Thus, Duo's answer, "I am a woman."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

    "Desu" is an affirmative, not a copula. The sentence means that the speaker affirms "woman" of the unspecified topic. The default order for determining the topic being, 1st, 2nd, 3rd person, this sentence translates to "I am a woman" unless context indicates otherwise.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

    "Desu" affirms something about a subject. "Onna desu" means ".... is woman" but cannot mean "woman is" with or without a complement. That is "Onna ga iru" or "Onna wa xxxx desu."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

    I'm right. Why the markdown?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yuipyonn

    はぁ?なんやこのアプリやん(○`ε´○)

    「Its a woman」って書いたんのに正しくへんや? なんでやねん! 「女です」って 「I am a woman」でも「 It is a woman」でもよう使いますわ!!

    ってか、関西弁でごめんねww


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/purnadika

    Why "a woman" doesn't work huh?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ASleepingRock

    Because that would be saying "a woman (exists)" and that would be better translated from 女の人がいる rather than (Xは)女です (which would mean X is a woman)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jael8655

    Doesn't says watashi, therefore "a woman" shoul suffice as translation since there is no context.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan553966

    "Onna desu" is a predication and demands an understood subject, i.e., "(somebody) is/are/am woman." The default subject in Japanese is the speaker.

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