Translation:I am a woman.
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"
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"
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)
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
"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.
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.
"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."